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 (

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

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