Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Squantum section of Quincy - 8/26/2012

7 people gathered together in Squantum on a beautiful, sunny morning. Wind was light and temps were comfortable (70sF). Squantum is a somewhat isolated patch of land, on one side bordered by Wollaston Beach, and the other by Quincy Bay/Boston Harbor and the terminus of the Neponset River. Squantum is seperated from Quincy proper by couple of smallish patches of salt marsh.

  Tide dictated our birding plans, so we started at the salt pans along E. Squantum St. These pans often attract many of the shorebirds and egrets in the area during high tide.  The main feature in these pools is Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. There were 50+ Greater Yellowlegs and a couple of Lesser Yellowlegs. There were also Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers and a couple of Saltmarsh Sparrows flitting around in the saltmarsh grass.

  There are several spits/sandbars in the area that are exposed; but the only one with any real estate during high tide is the one between Squaw Rock Park and Thompson's Island. Several gulls were out on the spit with about 50 Black-bellied Plovers and 6 Ruddy Turnstones. Squaw Rock Park can also be a place for migrant land birds, being a classic "boom or bust" type of place during the spring and fall. The only migrant Warbler that we could find was a Northern Parula.  
  Our next stop was Orchard Beach, which is a good place to check for terns and shorebirds. The highlight here were 2 American Oystercatchers. In addition this spot typically has good numbers of Laughing Gulls in late summer (not breeders in the immediate area), on the large rocks if your looking to your right. This area has been reliable for Caspian Tern at this time year, but  not today!
  The tide was starting to fall so we checked addition spits/sandbars along E. Squantum St. (east side of Marina Bay) and the ones at the end of Squantum Point Park. We saw an additional 5 American Oystercatchers including a family group of 2 adults and 2 juveniles (their bills were black tipped).
 Our last stop was Mosswettussett Hummock to check the exposed mudflats on the falling tide. There were about 150 Semipalmated Sandpipers and 20 or so Semipalmated Plovers. We could not find any White-rumped Sandpipers or other "goodies" among them. The hummock is also worth a check for migrant land birds, but it wasn't happening today!

Complete list:
51 species

American Black Duck  6
Mallard  2
Double-crested Cormorant  90
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  9
Snowy Egret  7
Osprey  3
Cooper's Hawk  1    Flushed out of small quarry @ Squaw Rock Park
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Black-bellied Plover  59    Majority on spit between Squaw Rock & Thompson's Island
Semipalmated Plover  48
Killdeer  3
American Oystercatcher  7    2-Orchard Beach, 1-Spit along E. Squantum St. (Marina Bay side), 4-Squantum Point Park
Greater Yellowlegs  54
Willet  1    In flight
Lesser Yellowlegs  3
Ruddy Turnstone  6
Semipalmated Sandpiper  205
Least Sandpiper  8
Laughing Gull  63    Majority @ Orchard Beach.
Ring-billed Gull  60
Herring Gull (American)  165
Great Black-backed Gull  9
Common Tern  6
Rock Pigeon  15
Mourning Dove  6
Downy Woodpecker  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  3
Tree Swallow  8
Bank Swallow  1    On wire near main pan on E. Squantum St.
Barn Swallow  8
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  1
Carolina Wren  3
American Robin  2
Gray Catbird  5
Northern Mockingbird  6
European Starling  90
Cedar Waxwing  1
Northern Parula  1    Squaw Rock Park.
Yellow Warbler  1
Saltmarsh Sparrow  4    Quick, short flights over saltmarsh grass.
Song Sparrow  9
Northern Cardinal  8
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Common Grackle  1
House Finch  6
American Goldfinch  9
House Sparrow  80

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Vin Zollo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SSBC Trip - Plan B (Outer Cape Cod) 8/18/2012

The South Beach trip for the South Shore Bird Club went to Plan B based on dubious radar imagery.  Going to bed on Friday the forecast was 40% precipitation with patches of sun during the day.  Waking up on Saturday this changed to 70% until 9:00 a.m. and 60% the rest of the day.  So, we decided to bird the outer cape.  This was a good decision as we ran into rain at a couple of locations with heavier rain clouds to our south which would be over South Beach.  The group ended with over 80 species including American Avocet, territorial hummingbirds at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary (WBWS), and a late Orchard Oriole (juv-male?) at WBWS.  The only shorebird I feel we missed by not getting to South Beach was Hudsonian Godwit, but we would not have seen the avocet.  Obviously, the sheer numbers of individuals are quite a bit reduced.

R-Race Point, P'town; W-WBWS; P-Provincetown (mostly Beech Forest); T-Truro; rest at Chatham (Chatham Light, Buck's Creek, Cow Yard) unless noted.

Mute Swan 3 (1-Harwich, 2-Eastham)
Black Duck 7-W
Common Eider 20
Hooded Merganser 1 female type-W
Red-breasted Merganser 1 female type-might be first summer
Wild Turkey 1-W
Common Loon 1
Cory's Shearwater 5-R
Great Shearwater 10-R
MANX SHEARWATER 50-R highlighted for so many; small groups loafing on water
Northern Gannet 24-R
Double-crested Cormorant 75
Great Blue Heron 10 (5-W, 1-P)
Great Egret 4
Snowy Egret 2
Green Heron 5 (1-W, 1-P)
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON 1 juv-W sitting in bare tree seen from small platform overlooking the pond on main trail to Goose Pond
Turkey Vulture 1-Eastham
Osprey 3
Northern Harrier 1 female
Cooper's Hawk 1
accipiter, sp 1
Black-bellied Plover 20
Semipalmated Plover 40
Piping Plover 1 juv
KILLDEER 1-R not a common bird here and this flew over, calling, Herring Cove, circled a couple of hundred feet up and then headed south/west toward P'town proper.  Must have been a migrant.
American Oystercatcher 2
Greater Yellowlegs 12 (2-T)
Willet 3
Lesser Yellowlegs 2 (1-W, 1-T)
Spotted Sandpiper 5 (2-W)
Whimbrel 3
Ruddy Turnstone 3
Red Knot 2
Sanderling 1-R
Semipalmated Sandpiper 50 (5-T)
Least Sandpiper 10 (5-T)
White-rumped Sandpiper 1-T
Short-billed Dowitcher 30
Parasitic Jaeger 1-R
Laughing Gull 100 (25-R)
Ring-billed Gull ***
Herring Gull ***
Great Black-backed Gull ***
Roseate Tern 2+ -R
Common Tern 350 (50-R)
Least Tern 12 (10-R)
Mourning Dove 50
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 6 (5-W, 1-P)
Belted Kingfisher 3 (1-P, 1-T, 1-W)
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1-W
Downy Woodpecker 3-W
Northern Flicker 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 4 (2-W, 2-P)
Blue Jay 5-P
American Crow 10-W
Tree Swallow 30
Bank Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 75
Black-capped Chickadee 10 (5-W, 5-P)
Tufted Titmouse 3-W
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1-W
White-breasted Nuthatch 2-W
Carolina Wren 3 (1-T)
Eastern Bluebird 3-W
American Robin 10
Gray Catbird 21 (5-W, 5-P, 4-T)
Northern Mockingbird 3
Starling ***
Cedar Waxwing 4
Pine Warbler 2+ -W
Common Yellowthroat 8 (2-W, 2-P, 1-T)
Eastern Towhee 15-W
Chipping Sparrow 2-W
Song Sparrow 18 (3-W, 2-P, 3-T)
Northern Cardinal 10 (5-W, 3-P)
Red-winged Blackbird 15-W
Common Grackle 5-W
Brown-headed Cowbird 1-T
Baltimore Oriole 9 (6-W, 1-T, 2-P)
House Finch 5-W
American Goldfinch 10 (6-W, 2-P)
House Sparrow ***

84 species


Glenn d'Entremont:  Stoughton, MA

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Plum Island - 08/11/2012

On Saturday, August 11th, the club held its annual trip to Plum Island, Newburyport.

Weather, or lack there of, likely played a part in the low turn out of three participants. With the forecast of thunder storms and off and on rain, this also kept the beach goers at home, leaving parking spaces open at all the lots throughout the trip. Although, dark clouds were in the area, we stayed dry.

As is the norm, this trip focuses on shorebirds with all the usual species being seen. Most birds were found at the end of Plum Island at Sandy Point State Reservation, while the reminder were found at Bill Forward pool.

As we walked out onto Sandy Point beach, we headed for the Piping Plover nesting area.  There we found a large concentration of shorebirds, mostly semipalmated sandpipers. No sooner did we set up scopes, the birds flew. They finally settled down, in the bowl as the tide was falling. This spread the birds out. 

Next we had to contend with a blanket of fog which came in off the ocean. It would recede and reappear several times. This would make the birding even more challenging. 

On top of that, the birds were continually lifting up and resettling, due to perceived threats, that being planes, gulls and a peregrine falcon. The falcon chased one bird but in the end missed its mark.

The bird(s) of the day were two non-shorebirds, Least Bitterns. They were VERY cooperative, as we watched them for between 20 -30 minutes, feeding preening and calling repeatedly. They were by far the best looks I have ever had.

American Black Duck    5
Green-winged Teal    7
Double-crested Cormorant    10
Least Bittern    2
Great Blue Heron    2
Great Egret    10
Snowy Egret    3
Osprey    1
Peregrine Falcon    1
Black-bellied Plover    45
Semipalmated Plover    50
Piping Plover    6
Spotted Sandpiper    1
Greater Yellowlegs    5
Willet    4
Lesser Yellowlegs    3
Hudsonian Godwit    1
Ruddy Turnstone    2
Red Knot    2
Sanderling    5
Semipalmated Sandpiper    300
Least Sandpiper    20
White-rumped Sandpiper    1
Stilt Sandpiper    7
Short-billed Dowitcher    3
Bonaparte's Gull    100
Laughing Gull    1
Ring-billed Gull    X
Herring Gull   X
Great Black-backed Gull    X
Least Tern    4

Common Tern    10
Mourning Dove    1
Eastern Phoebe    1
Eastern Kingbird    7
Blue Jay    1
American Crow    1
Purple Martin    3
Tree Swallow    5000+/-
Marsh Wren    1
American Robin    7
Gray Catbird    5
Northern Mockingbird    2
Brown Thrasher    1
European Starling    300
Cedar Waxwing    4
Yellow Warbler    1
Eastern Towhee    7
Field Sparrow    1
Song Sparrow    1
Northern Cardinal    2
Red-winged Blackbird    1
Common Grackle    1
American Goldfinch    3

54 Species