Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Plymouth Beach - 7/26/2014

A combined South Shore/Brookline Bird Club/Friends of Myles Standish State Forest trip had the following. 4 others joined me for a very comfortable (for July) walk. THE highlight had to be the Peregrine Falcon flushing all the birds out of the colony and the beach. Thousands of birds in the air at once, calling and carrying on. The Black Skimmer(s) were barking and well seen by all. I had seen one bird fly by us and into the colony earlier, but the others could not get on it in time. I had moved to adjacent where I thought they went in when the Peregrine helped me; we were only 75 or so feet away from the nest site (not able to be seen as blocked by dune). Large numbers of Semipalmated Sandpiper and Sanderling; must be just arrived as very alarmed-the least amount of disturbance and they were flying around.

 49 species

Mallard 19
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Great Blue Heron 4
Great Egret 2
Green Heron 2
Osprey 6
Black-bellied Plover 2
Semipalmated Plover 50
Piping Plover 14
Killdeer 3
Solitary Sandpiper 2
Greater Yellowlegs 5
Willet (Eastern) 8
Sanderling 750
Semipalmated Sandpiper 1500
Short-billed Dowitcher (Atlantic) 500
Laughing Gull 500
Ring-billed Gull 400 1 juv
Herring Gull (American) X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Least Tern 60
Common Tern 1000
Black Skimmer 2 Continuing pair, coming and going to unseen nest in colony
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) X
Mourning Dove 19
Chimney Swift 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Peregrine Falcon 1 Flushed all birds in colony and beach
Willow Flycatcher 3
American Crow 8
Horned Lark 1
Tree Swallow 35
Barn Swallow 3
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Carolina Wren 2
American Robin 12
Gray Catbird 4
Northern Mockingbird 6
European Starling X
Yellow Warbler 6
Song Sparrow 21
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 1
Baltimore Oriole 2
House Finch 8
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Glenn d'Entremont

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crane WMA - Falmouth 7/13/2014

Nine people met at the parking area to Crane Wildlife Management Area in Falmouth, but this was not the usual place to park. For anyone that has visited, the entrance road looked much different than normal. On the right side of the road nearly 40 acres of forest were clear cut, creating a dramatic sight! Access to the parking area at the model airplane spot and pavilion is now gated so the parking area has moved back considerably.
Red line shows the route we took- thanks to Rick Schofield
The State completed this clearing sometime in the spring to create additional sandplain grassland habitat. This will bring the total acreage of this rare habitat type to approximately 200 acres in total, probably the largest swath in the state that is not at an active airport. They are also trying to control (through clearing, mowing, fire, herbecides) Asiatic Bittersweet and Honeysuckle, which are invasive plants that outcompete native grasses.
Upland Sandpiper - Steven Whitebread
The bird of the day, coincidentally was an Upland Sandpiper. The group was quite thankful as it was "teed-up" on several of the Red Cedar trees giving nice looks. It is precisely this type of land management that is meant to attract this specie along with Grasshopper Sparrows and Northern Bobwhites.
Upland Sandpiper - Rick Schofield
 This "Uppie" was acting very territorial, so hopefully it is attempting to nest. The only confirmed nesting of the specie in Massachusetts during recent times is from active airports, so this sighting is noteworthy.
Upland Sandpiper - Rick Schofield
Weather was great with fair skies and temps in the 70sF. As usual here in mid-July, Orchard Oriole was easily the most common bird. The consensus among the group was there were at least 40; family groups that seemed to be all over the field. The make up of these "units" were mostly juveniles and or females with adult males being much less conspicuous or absent altogether.
Grasshopper Sparrows did not disappoint, with no fewer than 8 in total. July is a great month to observe this bird as it is much more easily viewed and still quite vocal. Parenting duties were in full swing with adults carrying food and juveniles wandering about.
Grasshopper Sparrow - Steven Whitebread
Bird activity started to wane after 9AM, but there were still butterflies and dragonflies to appreciate and many flowering plants to figure out the names of.
Wood Lily - Rick Schofield
 The temperature started to rise but the group kept wandering around in hopes of running into a Bobwhite. We covered much ground (2.5 miles) but once again no luck, an unfortunate trend.
*Many thanks go out to folks that took pictures during this annual trip.

Complete List:
43 species

Great Blue Heron  2
Osprey  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Killdeer  13    At least 4 small juveniles.
Upland Sandpiper  1    Seen well perched on several trees and slowly flying.
Herring Gull (American)  1
Mourning Dove  9
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
American Kestrel  1    Male
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Great-crested Flycatcher - Steven Whitebread

Eastern Kingbirds - Rick Schofield
Eastern Kingbird   10
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  3
Tree Swallow  6
Barn Swallow  20
Black-capped Chickadee  7
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Eastern Bluebird  5    *nest in natural cavities, no nest boxes here
American Robin  20
Northern Mockingbird  7
European Starling  20
Cedar Waxwing  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Pine Warbler  4
Eastern Towhee  8
Chipping Sparrow  9
Field Sparrow  7
Savannah Sparrow  7
Grasshopper Sparrow  8    Careful count, including 2 juveniles.
Song Sparrow  8
Indigo Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  15
Common Grackle  4
Brown-headed Cowbird  5
Orchard Oriole  40    Estimate; typical count for this place in mid-July. Encountered several family groups throughout the fields. Most of them were juveniles/female types and maybe 3 adult males.
Baltimore Oriole  1
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  15

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Photo by Christine Whitebread
Butterflies: 2 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, 2 Spicebush Swallowtails, 5 Clouded Sulfurs, 2 Am. Coppers, 5 Summer Azure, 6 Baltimore Checkerspots, 3 Monarchs, 75 Common Wood Nymph, 10 Little Wood Satyrs, Wild Indigo Duskywing, 6 Delaware Skippers

Dragonflies: 20 Halloween Pennants, 10 Calico Pennants, 2 Prince Basketails, 5 Darner sp.

Vin Zollo

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quabbin Gate 10, Pelham - 7/5/2014

Six of us from two clubs (BBC & SSBC) met at Gate 10 of the Quabbin in Pelham, MA on Rt 202. The cool temps and low humidity made us linger longer than normal and we got back to the vehicles at 2:00 p.m.! I had told the group we would be back between noon and 1:00 and by the time we made it to the Gate 8 road intersection it was already noon!

A real surprise was NO sapsuckers. This is unusual; a first for me. Black-throated Blue Warblers are higher than normal as they were on Mt. Greylock, while Redstarts were all but non-existent. We flushed two groups of young Ruffed Grouse; good to see they are successful somewhere. Both cuckoos were nice as well as a Pileated Woodpecker which I was able to call in; sort of. It was not easily seen in the woods about 30 yards or so.

Butterflies: Banded Hairstreak, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Red-spotted Purple (admiral), Eastern Comma, Silver-spotted Skipper, Great Spangled Fritillary, Summer Azure, Spicebush Swallowtail, Pearl Crescent, Northern Pearly Eye, Little Wood Satyr, Common Ringlet, a duskywing type got away, Wow-I did not realize how many we saw. There were some skippers which got away as well.

Ruffed Grouse 11 (two groups 6, and 5 of young)
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 3
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Black-billed Cuckoo 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Downy Woodpecker 5
Hairy Woodpecker 6
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 5
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Red-eyed Vireo 67
Blue Jay 5
Tree Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 14
Tufted Titmouse 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Veery 14
Hermit Thrush 5
Wood Thrush 3
American Robin 5
Gray Catbird 4
Cedar Waxwing 8
Ovenbird 23
Black-and-white Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat 17
American Redstart 2
Blackburnian Warbler 6
Chestnut-sided Warbler 8
Black-throated Blue Warbler 15
Pine Warbler 9
Black-throated Green Warbler 5
Eastern Towhee 19
Chipping Sparrow 3
Scarlet Tanager 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4
Indigo Bunting 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1
American Goldfinch 1

42 species

Glenn d'Entremont

Monday, July 14, 2014

Breeders and Babies - 6/28/2014

Four birders joined us for our trip on a beautiful morning on the south coast. We started at Demarest Lloyd State Park in Dartmouth. This is a beautiful location early in the morning before the beach goers arrive. It is also the site of one of the most successful breeding colonies of Piping Plovers in the area. There are six breeding pairs there and 30 breeding pairs of Least Terns. This we found out from Jamie Bogart of the Lloyd Center who monitors them along with the Diamondback terrapins who also breed there.

We started by observing a flock of Common Eider with many young of various sizes. We pleasantly observed many Piping Plovers with young. Least Terns were abundant, but it was either on the early side for the young or they were more hidden. Killdeer breed there and there was a family that quickly hustled their young behind the vegetation as we rounded the bend. An Osprey platform nearby lent us great views of Osprey and their young. There were also Willets that were enjoying hanging out in the trees that were fun to view.

Our next stop was nearby Slocum’s River Reserve. We stopped here because the week prior there was a large colony of Bank Swallows present. There were only a couple present this morning, but we were treated to a pair of Orchard Orioles. We observed them collecting food and bringing it to a particular tree, but we were unable to hone in on the nest.

Next we visited Parsons Reserve just up the street. As it was getting late in the morning and hot, it was on the quiet side to be sure. However, it was well worth the stop as we were treated to a pair of very busy Worm-eating Warblers. Everyone got great views!

Our final stop was Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport. A wonderful Willow Flycatcher was singing his heart out as we approached and hung out by the bridge. Saltmarsh Sparrows were present and one was was seen carrying food. An interesting occurrence was that a mylar balloon floated in and riled up the birds. Willets, swallows and blackbirds swooped at the strange intruder as it approached and landed in the marsh. The activity caught the curiosity of a Short-billed Dowitcher that flew by. After that, we ended up being distracted by the many crabs swimming around by the bridge! We were entertained by them for quite awhile before calling it a day.

40 Canada Goose
2 Mute Swan
33 Common Eider
3 Double-crested Cormorant
2 Great Blue Heron
5 Great Egret
3 Snowy Egret
8 Osprey
12 Piping Plover
4 Killdeer
1 Spotted Sandpiper
26 Willet
1 Short-billed Dowitcher
31 Herring Gull
8 Great Black-backed Gull
24 Least Tern
3 Common Tern
8 Mourning Dove
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Downy Woodpecker
3 Eastern Wood-Pewee
1 Willow Flycatcher
2 Eastern Phoebe
5 Eastern Kingbird
2 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
36 Tree Swallow
4 Bank Swallow
28 Barn Swallow
5 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
3 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Carolina Wren
2 Veery
12 American Robin
6 Gray Catbird
2 Northern Mockingbird
2 European Starling
8 Cedar Waxwing
1 Ovenbird
2 Worm-eating Warbler
8 Common Yellowthroat
4 American Redstart
4 Yellow Warbler
1 Prairie Warbler
1 Eastern Towhee
3 Chipping Sparrow
1 Saltmarsh Sparrow
9 Song Sparrow
3 Northern Cardinal
21Red-winged Blackbird
9 Common Grackle
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
4 Orchard Oriole
2 Baltimore Oriole
4 American Goldfinch

Amy O'Neill and Liam Waters

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Whale and Seabird Watch - 07/12/2014

Nine members of the SSBC along with ten BBC members enjoyed a wonderful morning of birding and whale watching.

Leaving from Plymouth on a full boat with naturalist "Krill" Carson, we headed straight out to where the whales were feeding, somewhat north of Provincetown on Stellwagon bank.

Gurnett Light Plymouth

Along the way, we soon noticed the lack of Wilson's storm-petrels. Our usual spot for first sightings, just off Gurnett Light, was void of any petrels.

It was not until we had reached the west side of the bank, before one was spotted. And then only be a few individuals. We only had 2-3 for the day. A number which was the lowest since 2008.

That aside, once we entered the area where the whales, mostly Humpback ~ 30 were feeding,

Humpback whale feeding on Sandlance
we enjoyed a wonderful show of interaction between the whales, gulls and shearwaters. By far, Cory's Shearwater was the most numerous of the four species of shearwater seen this day,

Cory's Shearwater

followed by Great Shearwater.

Great and Cory's shearwaters

Also seen were a fair number of Sooty Shearwaters.

Sooty Shearwater

The fourth and final species of shearwater seen was a distinct and lone Manx shearwater, spotted by eagle eye Glenn d'Entremont. Aside from one subadult Northern Gannet, none of the other possible sea specialties were noted.

In addition to the usual whale watching boats, we also saw the last of the American whaling ships. Now used for watching only.
Unidentified schooner and Charles W. Morgan

While heading back into Plymouth, we were lucky to see four Black Skimmers at the end of Plymouth beach. 

As always, I have a hard time putting together numbers for all the birds that were seen. There are so many distractions with surfacing and diving whales, birds moving from one spot to another and times the boat spinning like a top to get the best whale viewing advantage.

Here are my numbers. Others on the trip may have more definitive information.
Cory's Shearwater 800-1000
Great Shearwater ~100
Sooty Shearwater 30
Manx Shearwater 1
Wilson's Storm-Petrel 3
Northern Gannet 1
Double-crested Cormorant 9
Willet 4
Short-billed Dowitcher 5
Laughing Gull 100
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull 3
Least Tern 12
Common Tern 150
Black Skimmer 4
Rock Pigeon 6
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 5
Song Sparrow 2
House Sparrow 2

Mike Emmons

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Daniel Webster at Sunset: July 5th 2014 5 - 7 pm

Nine adults joined the two leaders for an evening stroll at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in this co-sponsored trip with Mass Audubon South Shore Sanctuaries.

For some folks this was their first visit to this serene and wonderful place, others have been enchanted with this Sanctuary for a number of years. None were “birders”, but all keen observers of wildlife.

Everyone agreed that this was just an excellent way to spend an evening!


Now to the Wildlife seen

This being the day after “Arthur”, the wind was still strong, so the few butterflies out were having a hard time. Although no unexpected birds put in an appearance, we all got wonderful scope looks at Great Blue Herons, Eastern Bluebirds and Osprey to name but a few. A full list of species is below.



We spotted just a couple of Butterflies; Clouded Sulphur and Summer Azure, we got great looks at a very cute little Red Squirrel and a couple of White Tailed Deer (which stayed around for everyone to get a look through the scope). We smelled Milkweed flowers and admired the female Bobolinks perched on the pretty blue - but European -Bird Vetch.


Steven and Christine Whitebread


Marshfield: Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Plymouth, US-MA
Jul 5, 2014 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 kilometer(s)
Comments:     SSBC trip, sunny, 78 F
32 species

Canada Goose  X
Mallard  4
Wild Turkey  X
Double-crested Cormorant  40
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  2
Osprey  X
Laughing Gull  3     flyover.
Mourning Dove  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Kingbird  2
Blue Jay  X
Purple Martin  20
Tree Swallow  X
Barn Swallow  12
Tufted Titmouse  4
Eastern Bluebird  2
American Robin  X
Gray Catbird  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  X
Common Yellowthroat  3
Yellow Warbler  1
Song Sparrow  7
Northern Cardinal  3
Bobolink  30     females carrying food.
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Common Grackle  X
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
American Goldfinch  3
House Sparrow  X

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19009197

This report was generated automatically by eBird v