Monday, May 6, 2013

Early May: a Ludlow G. Update

I've been so busy trying to finish the semester, bird every free minute, and enter and accept lists that an update on Ludlow's Big Year in Concord is long overdue.  It seems only a few weeks ago that this project cleared 100 species and 200 still seemed far away.

Even with the slow start to migration because of a huge high pressure system blocking southerly flows, Ludlow is off to a good start with all the early warblers accounted for, although in minute numbers.  Palms and Yellow Rumps came in on time, but many are lingering.  There has been a very slow trickle of Northern Parula, Nashville, Northern Waterthrush, and Ovenbird (with only single digits seen for each), but beginning around May 1-2 Blue-Wings arrived on territory around Hanscom, along with Prairies and Black and Whites, all in good numbers.  They, at least, seem roughly on time.  But there is a dearth of Common Yellowthroat and nary a Black Throated Green has been reported, and only one Black throated Blue.

Rose Breasted Grosbeaks arrived a few days ago, along with a few Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles, and Brown Thrashers seem to be back on territory.  Grey Catbird is still scarce.  Savannah and Field Sparrow are back in good numbers, and a few Vespers have been seen/heard.

Upland Sandipipers were active at Hanscom on May 2 and 3, but no reports since, so either nesting has begun, or these birds were moving through.

Unbelievably, Ludlow G. is at 156 species as of May 6 at 3pm.  200 seems easy, right?  Maybe it is a conservative number, but it will get hard soon.  But, given the pace I think the Concord Birds project might be in position to give Dick Walton's Great Meadows checklist (from 1985) of 220 birds a good run.  Stay tuned!

Edited to add on May 7: With first reports of Red Eyed Vireo, BT Green, Chestnut-Sided warbler, and the results of Steve Arena's first marshbird survey of Great Meadows (King Rail, Least Bittern, Common Gallinule), Ludlow jumped to 164 species today.  With the arrival of a southern weather pattern over the next few days, we should begin seeing more migrants.

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