Thursday, May 30, 2013

Plymouth Day, 5/26/2013

Laughing Gulls

Part 1 led by Glenn d'Entremont began at Plymouth Beach under tough weather conditions. Showers, strong NW wind, and temps hovering around 40F made the 5+ mile round trip challenging. Oh, and did I mention it was low tide! Many shorebirds were waaay out there! Between the eight of us, we were able to observe most of the expected species. Arctic Tern put in a brief appearance (flyby), but all too brief. Other highlights included several Piping Plovers and Least Terns (nest here in good numbers), as well as 2 Red Knots and a Roseate Tern. The tip if the beach has a large Tern and Laughing Gull nesting colony and this was where all the action was. Approximately 1,000 Common Terns and 750 Laughing Gulls were wheeling around in what seemed like utter chaos.

Roseate Tern (center)
49 species

Brant (Atlantic) 24
American Black Duck 1
Mallard 7
Red-throated Loon 2
Common Loon 11
Northern Gannet 2
Double-crested Cormorant 14
Great Cormorant 1 Imm.
Great Cormorant
Great Blue Heron 1
Osprey 3
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1 Imm.
Black-bellied Plover 30
Semipalmated Plover 12
Piping Plover 8
Willet (Eastern) 5
Ruddy Turnstone 5
Red Knot 2
Sanderling 9
Semipalmated Sandpiper 20
Dunlin 30
Laughing Gull 750  Estimate, nesting colony. Likely a low count.
Ring-billed Gull 10 - All immature birds.
Herring Gull (American) 150  Estimate. Many imm.
Great Black-backed Gull 50
Least Tern 40
Arctic Tern 1 - Flyby
Roseate Tern 1
Common Tern 1000
Common Tern
Mourning Dove 5
Belted Kingfisher 1
Willow Flycatcher 1
American Crow 5
Fish Crow 1
Horned Lark 1 - nest in the dunes
Tree Swallow 1
Bank Swallow 5
Barn Swallow 1
Carolina Wren 2
Gray Catbird 2
Northern Mockingbird 5
European Starling 10
Common Yellowthroat 2
Yellow Warbler 1
Song Sparrow 10
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 10
Baltimore Oriole 1
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 8

The Plymouth Airport leg of the trip started at 12:00PM and attracted 20+ people. Once a year the club is granted access to the airfield inside the perimeter fence. This usually increases our chances of observing grassland bird species, most notably Upland Sandpiper. Temperatures moderated into the 50sF and showers ended, but the wind was still blowing strong. Initially things were very quiet bird wise. Then Savannah Sparrows started singing and a Grasshopper Sparrow revealed itself teed-up on a small wooden stake in the distance. Nice scope views were had by all of this secretive sparrow. A couple of Horned Larks were seen and then an Eastern Meadowlark flew across the airfield and perched on the perimeter fence. Meanwhile, directly behind our group, someone yells, "Upland Sandpiper on the fence"! There it was right up on the fence and not on the ground where we had been scanning for the better part of an hour. After admiring the Upland for a couple of minutes another grassland bird starts singing - Vesper Sparrow. Guess where it was, right up on the fence where we had entered the airfield! Seems like the right strategy is to "work" the fence line! Pretty much a clean sweep of grassland birds except American Kestrel. The Upland Sandpiper continued to spend a lot time on the fence, dropping to the ground occasionally.

Upland Sandpiper
33 species

Great Blue Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 4
Upland Sandpiper 2
Chimney Swift 8
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Kingbird 2
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 3
Fish Crow 2
Horned Lark 2
Tree Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 2
Tufted Titmouse 1
American Robin 2
Gray Catbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 6
Common Yellowthroat 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Pine Warbler 1
Prairie Warbler 1
Eastern Towhee 2
Chipping Sparrow 1
Vesper Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 3
Grasshopper Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Eastern Meadowlark 1
House Sparrow 2

These reports were generated automatically by eBird v3 (

*Thanks to Liam Waters for providing these nice photos.

Vin Zollo

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