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

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