With world class birding sites along the coast within a few hours drive, it’s easy for some of us from inland New England to forget just how ornithologically important some of our sites are too.
Situated on the Connecticut River at the intersection of three states: New Hampshire; Vermont a few hundred meters to the west; and Massachusetts about 5 miles to the south, Hinsdale Setbacks and Bluffs comprise one of the premier inland birding sites in New England. Since bird recording began there in the 1930’s, 244 species have been reported, equaling or greater than the totals recorded at most inland sites elsewhere in the three states.
Many of these bird species are migrants, the site being particularly known for its waterbird migration in the spring and fall, when just about any goose, duck, loon or grebe species can turn up. Also, while many of the birds recorded are those that might be expected in the Connecticut River Valley, many have been much less common, including such rarities as Swallow-tailed Kite, Acadian Flycatcher, and Barnacle Goose. So, birding the Setbacks and Bluffs, from either the Vermont or New Hampshire side of the river, can combine high diversity with the attention-getting prospect of seeing a rare bird.
There was extensive data that have been collected over many decades from the Hinsdale Setbacks and Bluffs, but it was scattered throughout the historic record books. Hector Galbraith, a venerable birder and ornithologist, examined a myriad of old documents dating to the early 1900s, as well as more recent and ongoing eBird datasets, to summarize avian occurrence, abundance and seasonality for the site. He compiled his findings into a new ebook – The Birds of Hinsdale Setbacks and Bluffs, New Hampshire. The 70 pages of text, figures, maps and photos provides a detailed review of the two sites, their birds, and birding history and opportunities. So, if you intend visiting the sites or are just interested in bird migration through the Connecticut River Valley, this ebook is for you.