On Saturday, Oct. 5, the HAS field trip to Glastonbury Meadows began with thoughts of a banner day, often the case in early October after the passage of a cold front. The sky was pure blue and temps started in the 30s, with some patches of frost showing. Sure enough, soon after our 12-person group left the parking lot, we encountered an active sparrow flock, including our first-of-fall White-throated Sparrow and a Field Sparrow.
We headed out to the Meadows through the woods along the river, where not a lot was going on, and continued down the edge of the fields, encountering a smattering of Yellow-rumps, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a close fly-by of an adult Bald Eagle. A Red-tailed Hawk flew over carrying its breakfast to a nearby perch, and consumed it unfazed by us, finishing its meal with a swallow of the legs and feet of the small rodent. One of the leaders made a promise at the start of the walk (backed by a full money-back guarantee) of Lincoln’s Sparrow, a lifer for some. However, our vast sparrow field – acres of weed-choked rows of tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables – was abnormally quiet, producing only numerous Savannahs and Songs, a handful of Swamps, plus a couple of White-crowned. A dark blob in a tree on the horizon, probably a half-mile away, was only identifiable as a Pileated Woodpecker because one of us happened to see it land. A fine looking Merlin flew over, and one solitary Tree Swallow was spotted, the only one for the day.
A bit later on, we saw a Peregrine over the tree line. We continued to the wetlands on the west edge of the meadows. Our first stop, near the site of last year’s Big Sit, finally produced a couple of promised Lincoln’s Sparrows! Good looks by all, a lifer for a couple (and reputation intact). We reached the large marsh, and one lucky person picked out a Sora, hidden by cattails and only visible from just the right angle. With a little patience, everyone got to see it (or part of it). A few Marsh Wrens chattered, and Wood Ducks and Green-winged Teal were found. On the way back, we flushed two more Soras from an isolated field, and picked up a single Blackpoll at our last stop.
We ended with 63 species.
Respectfully submitted, Andrew Dasinger and Bill Asteriades