Sunday, July 22, 2018

Breeders - Crane Wildlife Management Area and environs

On July 15th, 2018,

Three (yes... three!) birders met up at the Scusset park and ride for a day of birding in the Crane WMA region of Falmouth. Relieved upon their arrival at Crane they found many of their friends had already arrived and were birding without them!

So to back up...

On July 15th, 2018,

Nine enthusiastic birders met up in the Crane WMA parking lot north of 151 in Falmouth. Essentially not moving at all from their arrival, most of the grassland specialty birds that this location hosts were encountered; a Blue Grosbeak heard singing then seen along the edges of one of the kettle holes, a Grasshopper Sparrow skulking in the tall grasses, American Kestrels perched on tiny branches in conspicuous locations, an Eastern Meadowlark sitting as high up as one can go singing its heart out, and a Northern Bobwhite giving the typical "Bob-WHITE!" call in the distance. One might have thought "Wow, it can't get any better than this"... and they were probably right, but the rest of the walk had some fantastic sights that made not getting back in the car and calling it a day well worthwhile. Making a loop around the kettle holes east of the parking lot, we found dozens upon dozens of birds in the small kettle hole directly east of the southernmost portion of the parking lot. Chipping Sparrows and orioles were the primary feature here, but finches, bluebirds, a kingbird, and a Yellow Warbler were also present in the group. Throughout the rest of the walk here we encountered small groups of post-breeding dispersal orioles and had better looks at the grassland specialties we all came hoping to see. Oh, and yeah we saw a flyover Double-Crested Cormorant!

Blue Grosbeak, photo by Moe Molander

Eastern Meadowlark, photo by Brian Vigorito

Grasshopper Sparrow, photo by Jack Molander

From here we crossed south of 151 to the quail fields portion of Crane WMA. These fields were teeming with blooming wildflowers, providing a beautiful backdrop and abundance of butterflies. Here we saw or heard several Indigo Buntings, Orchard Orioles, and an Eastern Kingbird riding (!!!) a Red-tailed Hawk. Oh, and yeah we saw some flyover Double-Crested Cormorants!

Monarch Butterfly on Common Milkweed, photo by author

We ended the trip at Ashumet Holly, another incredibly scenic area which is basically an overgrown garden. Here we found a Wood Duck in the pond, some Red-breasted Nuthatches, a forest filled with angry birds and no clear answer as to why, and two Great-horned Owls. Oh, and yeah we saw a flyover Double-Crested Cormorant!

Great Horned Owl, photo by Joe Molander

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Medfield / Millis, June 2, 2018

The leader and six intrepid participants set off to cover areas not oft covered in the Medfield / Millis area, with the threat of thunderstorms looming on the horizon.  While doing a quick stop at Causeway Street in Medfield 20 minutes before the meetup, the leader had an unexpected Cliff Swallow, making that the obvious first stop.  While the bird never materialized for the group, we did tick off four species of swallow, including at least four Bank Swallows, one carrying nesting material.  The birds were headed over a hill towards an industrial sand and gravel yard off 109, leading us to posit that this could be a likely breeding sight.  We quickly checked off Yellow-billed and Black-billed cuckoos, and enjoyed Willow Flycatchers setting up territory and sallying around.  The non-birding highlight was a female snapping turtle laying eggs on the berm between the road and water, attracting quite a bit of attention from passerby motorists.  

We then hopped across 109 to Causeway Street in Millis, enjoying the sights and sounds of the marsh denizens there, including the whispy singing of a Brown Creeper, and a pair of osprey that appeared to be considering a heron rookery as a nesting sight. 

Eastern-eyed Click Beetle Alaus oculatus,  landed on the leader's trousers!
We also admired a beautiful Leopard Frog

We then made our way to the Medfield State Hospital, scoring a singing Yellow-throated Vireo at the old cemetery grounds, and a surprise Pileated Woodpecker briefly showing itself as it worked its way through the woods.  We concluded with a trek around the hospital grounds and across the street at McCarthy Park, ending with a solid mix of breeders for a muggy June day. 
The now derelict buildings of Medfield State Hospital

 Overall, we netted 68 species (plus an additional 2,  prior to the trip by the leader) - not bad at all given the conditions and looming rain! Below is the ebird list for the day

Josh Bock

The SSBC travels to South Texas, April 2018

     Altamira Oriole

 On April 21st, I was joined by eleven club members for a week long birding adventure in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  Some participants flew into the city of McAllen while others drove to the valley from other parts of Texas.  Everyone met in the town of Donna, a community that provided easy access to most of the birding sites we planned to visit.  The first official day of the itinerary was Sunday, April 22nd.  We started the day at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and observed a number of Texas and lower Rio Grande Valley specialties that have made this area such a popular destination for birders.  We were fortunate to see Couch's Kingbirds and hear their buzzy calls to distinguish them from the very similar looking (but uncommon) Tropical Kingbirds.  We also heard, and later observed, Clay-colored Thrushes at several locations within the NWR.  As we walked through a maze of Spanish Moss, we occasionally glimpsed Mississippi Kites migrating overhead.  Plain Chachalacas gave their Cretaceous calls from the dense growth surrounding us as Great Kiskadees competed for our attention with their squeeze toy cries.  We looked for the Tropical Parula that has been present at this location for a few months and found the bird in the area where it had been reported recently.  This species sounds remarkably similar to its congener the Northern Parula, so we were prepared to scrutinize any bird singing the rising trill of a song that is so familiar to New England birders.  We all had great looks at the Tropical Parula as it sang from the highest branches above us.
  Plain Chachalaca 

    A bit farther down the path, we observed Altamira Orioles, a Green Jay, and the first of several Groove-billed Anis for this location.  A few minutes of scoping from the edge of the wetlands produced six Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Long-billed Dowitchers, Black-necked Stilts, and a very cooperative Sora.  Other birds of interest included a fly over Harris's Hawk, a Hooded Oriole, and a Buff-bellied Hummingbird.  

    Our next stop was Estero Llano Grande State Park, an amazing wetland birding site located in the city of Weslaco.  We were happy to discover that there were plenty of birds to see from the comfort of a shaded observation area.  Stilt Sandpipers abounded in the shallows before us.  A quick scan yielded a count of ninety birds.  A stunning drake Cinnamon Teal dabbled in the vicinity of the sandpipers.  As soon as our group got on this handsome duck, somebody pointed out a flock of migrating White Pelicans in the distance.  A leisurely walk around the wetlands in the afternoon heat was not without its rewards. As we quietly followed the boardwalk, we stopped to observe a group of nine Roseate Spoonbills that were busily feeding and completely unfazed by our presence. 
Stilt Sandpiper 

    The following morning we started our day at the Laguna Vista Trail near the coast.  It was obvious to all of us that there had been a decent flight overnight since we encountered migrants like Yellow-breasted Chats, Tennessee Warblers, Scarlet and Summer tanagers, Baltimore and Orchard orioles, and Rose-breasted and Blue grosbeaks to name a few.  Baltimore Orioles were one of the most common migrants at this site and we had as many as five birds in one tree.  Subsequently, we visited the nearby Laguna Atascosa NWR.  We were surprised to learn that a significant portion of the NWR (mostly coastal savannah habitat) was no longer accessible to visitors for reasons related to Ocelot management.  While checking the feeders, we observed the diminutive Common Ground-Doves, Green Jays, a Long-billed Thrasher, and a number of Bronzed Cowbirds.  Several of the male Bronzed Cowbirds were strutting about and engaging in courtship display.  Some of the males were raising their nape and crown feathers in an attempt to win the affection of nearby females.

Bronzed Cowbird 

Green Jay
After checking the feeders near the headquarters, we drove to the eponymous Laguna Atascosa to observe a myriad of shorebirds, ducks, and herons from the elevated viewing platform.  We paused briefly to observe a Texas Tortoise ambling across the parking lot while a fly over Verdin emitted its high pitched tseep note above.  We were pleased to find two Wilson's Plovers, three Marbled Godwits, and a single Long-billed Curlew on the flats.  The Long-billed Curlew was asleep when we first arrived, but it eventually woke up and started probing the mud with its impossibly long bill.  In addition to the shorebirds, there were waterfowl that included Ruddy Ducks, Northern Pintails, and Blue-winged Teal.  Lastly, a Greater Roadrunner made a brief appearance in the parking lot before disappearing into nearby thickets.
Texas Tortoise 

    Just outside the park boundary, participants alerted the rest of the group to the presence of large flocks of perching birds with vocalizations that sounded like the chatter made by a multitude of House Sparrows.  Although the calls were similar, the metallic quality of the sounds along with some odd trills eliminated House Sparrow as an option.  We stopped the vehicles to investigate the situation and, after several minutes passed, a fraction of the flock lifted up and revealed its identity: Dickcissels!  We watched a flock of about fifty calling birds briefly rise above the vegetation and then alight for views that were just long enough to confirm the identification.  All of the Dickcissels in North America pass through coastal Texas during the spring migration and we happened to be at the epicenter of a large congregation of resting migrants.

      Because it appeared that a push of migrants was afoot, we stuck to our plan of birding on South Padre Island.  The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center was productive and we spent a good amount of time looking at the water features and watching birds that were attracted to the halved oranges impaled on the trees.  Although the dense vegetation in these areas sometimes made it difficult to see the birds, it was this same density in proximity to running water that had lured these nocturnal migrants to the area at first light.  We watched a Worm-eating Warbler forage on the ground, but quickly turned our attention to Indigo and Painted buntings visiting the veritable banquet of citrus prepared for them.  A dozen Baltimore Orioles vied for perches close to the oranges and, as one would expect, sometimes tussled over these beneficial sources of energy and sustenance.

    From the boardwalk we sighted Mottled Ducks, Neotropic Cormorants, Reddish Egrets, and two Least Bitterns.  Caspian and Royal Terns passed by just offshore and a flock of nineteen Black Skimmers rested on nearby flats.  Near the parking lot, a pair of Loggerhead Shrikes perched close to us for exceptional views (and photo opportunities).  We ended the day at Old Port Isabel Rd. and watched twelve Common Nighthawks pursue flying insects.  A lone Lark Sparrow vocalized from the edge of the road and the songs of Eastern Meadowlarks lazily ascended and then faded into the stillness of the evening air.

    On April 24th, we traveled west to the village of Salineno on the banks of the Rio Grande.  Our first bird at this stop was a Green Kingfisher.  Unfortunately, the bird did not remain in the area for long, so we decided to walk the trail that parallels the river.  The icterid diversity at this site was noteworthy and in one very small area we observed a few Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, a Hooded Oriole, a singing Bullock's Oriole, and two Altamira Orioles (with a nest).  We also had typically brief looks at an Audubon's Oriole, a species whose range just barely reaches into the U.S. along this part of the Rio Grande. 

    At nearby Falcon State Park, we observed an American Avocet, the first Pyrrhuloxia of the trip, a singing Bewick's Wren, an Ash-throated Flycatcher, and five Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.  After eating our lunch, we checked the park's butterfly garden and encountered two Curve-billed Thrashers doing their best to avoid the 92F mid day heat.  A Harris's Hawk soared overhead, perfectly adapted to the extreme conditions of this semi-desert habitat.

    The next morning we birded Resaca De La Palma State Park.  It was another hot day so the tram ride at this location was a major convenience.  The park staff were very accommodating and helpful and made for a very enjoyable experience.  At one of the ponds we had great looks at the miniscule Least Grebes.  The bright yellow eyes on this species rivaled those of a Snowy Owl in intensity.  It was hard to look away from this tiny bird with a hypnotic gaze.  However, the Groove-billed Ani skulking in nearby growth was just the sort of thing to rescue us from our grebe-induced trances.  The ani was not conspicuous, but it was fun to watch as it slowly foraged at the edge of the pond.
Least Grebe 

    Since we were so close to the Brownsville landfill, and the Tamaulipas Crows had been seen with some consistency over the past few weeks, we decided to pay this venerable birding destination a visit.  After registering at the main office and receiving our high visibility orange vests, we joined the motorcade of refuse and ascended the landfill in search of our target species.  It was windy, dusty, and hot so conditions were not optimal for finding the crows.  It also smelled really bad.  When it smells really bad, it really doesn't matter how good the viewing conditions are.  Some primal part of the brain sends impulses to vacate the area despite the promise of a difficult tick.  We did not see the crows, but we had two Chihuahuan Ravens (the white bases of their neck feathers exposed by the wind) and loads of noisy Laughing Gulls.  Despite missing the crows, it was nice to finally experience this famous birding site which may hold the distinction of being the only dump in the world designated as a "tourist center."

      Then it happened.  It was the sort of thing that every birder hopes for when birding during the migration. The weather forecast showed a cold front sagging over south central Texas and called for showers and thunderstorms overnight.  In addition, the wind was forecast to shift from the south/southwest to the northeast at 15-20 mph.  According to the forecast, the high temperature was only supposed to reach the high 70s on the 26th after being in the low 90s for the past few days.  We realized these conditions would likely impede the flow of migrants moving up the Texas coast and probably put birds down until the weather was more conducive to flying north again.  A discussion ensued about revising the itinerary and plans to start the day at the coast were finalized.

    On the morning of the 26th, we left the city of Donna very early.  We drove directly to South Padre Island and arrived at the Convention Center and Laguna Madre Trail (a fantastic birding site with a somewhat confusing name) just as the morning flight was starting in earnest.  Most of us did a quick reconnaissance of the water features and thickets near the convention center, but soon we all opted to see migrants on the wing from the observation areas looking out over Laguna Madre.  It was apparent that birds were on the move.  Small flocks of six to eight Indigo Buntings, Orchard and Baltimore orioles, and Dickcissels moved north and stalled in the northeasterly winds.  These migrants would sometimes rise into the wind and then fly back to the convention center thickets.  Fifteen to twenty minutes later, the same number and configuration of birds would attempt to continue flying north along the world's longest barrier island.  In the background, out on the flats, Black-bellied Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Dunlin probed the mud for food.  Suddenly, a flock of eight Eastern Kingbirds appeared in the thickets in the foreground.  Two Western Kingbirds flew by and were immediately followed by two Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.  Willets and both species of yellowlegs dropped onto the beach and were joined moments later by two Pectoral Sandpipers.  Franklin's Gulls were streaming overhead in flocks of thirty, fifty, and sixty.  Some of the gulls joined a large flock already resting on the beach.  Periodically, parts of the flock on the beach would pick up and continue north only to be replenished by more Franklin's Gulls (and a few Black Skimmers and Royal Terns) arriving from the south.  We estimated that 1200 Franklin's Gulls were present during our time at the Convention Center and Laguna Madre Trail.  The morning flight at this location was an absolute spectacle and the Franklin's Gull numbers were certainly one of the highlights.

    Once the morning flight started to diminish, we returned to the thickets and water features to find many Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings, and warblers present.  We heard from other birders that a Sora was making forays to a grassy area where seed had been put out for smaller birds.  When we arrived at the location, there were eight male Indigo Buntings feeding in the grass with a very crisp looking Clay-colored Sparrow in the mix.  The Sora came out of the thicket and grabbed seeds with the buntings and sparrow, but was much more skittish than his companions and frequently darted back into the cover when spooked.

Clay-colored Sparrow 

  Later in the morning, we were able to tear ourselves away from the Convention Center thickets and walk the Laguna Madre Trail boardwalk through the mangroves.  The mangroves were still full of migrants and the dense vegetation served as a natural blind.  Birders leaned forward to peer into the shadowy recesses of the mangroves and were sometimes rewarded with face to face looks at Ovenbirds, Northern Parulas, Blue-winged, Nashville, Magnolia, and Chestnut-sided warblers.  Some of us were lucky to see Blue-headed and Philadelphia vireos too.  Our next stop on the itinerary was the nearby South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.  We focused on looking for migrant perching birds at the water features at this site.  Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes were observed here.  We also had a Veery, two Painted Buntings, and a Kentucky Warbler that stayed close to the ground (and even closer to the vegetation). 

    After watching these birds for a while, we traveled farther south on the island to an area called the Valley Land Fund lots.  This site is roughly the size of two standard housing lots situated across the street from one another in a residential area.  This location has shrubs, thickets, weedy areas, water features, and lots of oranges tacked up around the property.

    A male Western Tanager was one of our first birds at this spot.  It was in the company of a dozen Baltimore Orioles, nine Orchard Orioles, seven Indigo Buntings, and three Painted Buntings.  The warbler show produced Wilson's, Blackburnian, Cape May, and a male Golden-winged that made a brief but unobstructed appearance before disappearing into the tangles.  We even had a Kentucky Warbler foraging on the ground in dirt patches well away from the cover.
Cape May Warbler 

Kentucky Warbler

 We learned that there was another hotspot not too far away so we decided to check it out.  The site was, by far, one of the strangest places I have ever visited in the pursuit of birds.  We were given an address to a house that was for sale and told that the birding there was exceptional.  We also learned that the homeowner and neighbors were okay with people viewing birds from the street.  Shortly after arriving at the yard, we observed a Wood Thrush, three Warbling Vireos, two Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Kentucky and Hooded warblers, an American Redstart, and a Lincoln's Sparrow taking a sip of water from the water container below the drip.  This was unequivocally the best open house event ever! 

    Later in the afternoon, we searched for an Aplomado Falcon along Route 100.  While looking for the falcon, we spotted a White-tailed Hawk that appeared to have a nest in a yucca.  Diligent scanning by all parties eventually yielded an Aplomado Falcon at the nest site.  This species was reintroduced to the Texas coastal savannah in 1989 and now has an established population in this part of the state.

    On April 27th, the last day of the trip, we entered Bentsen-Rio State Park early.  We took the tram to the hawk watch platform and looked for perching birds while waiting for hawk activity to start later in the morning.  One of the highlights of our early morning time at the platform was seeing an Altamira Oriole building its pendulous nest.  Olive Sparrows sang from the brush below and a Brown-crested Flycatcher perched long enough for scope views.  Two Harris's Hawks were perched in a tree in the distance and eventually both birds gave us good views as they rose with the thermals.  As the sun got higher in the sky, the hawks started to appear in greater numbers.  We watched Broad-winged, Swainson's, Cooper's, and Gray hawks rise and soar high above the hawk watch.  A few Mississippi Kites passed by as well.  The raptor diversity was memorable enough, but around 10:15 am a raptor with bands on its tail and large paddle-shaped wings flew directly over everyone - Hook-billed Kite!  This species feeds on land snails and moves between Texas and Mexico to reach prime feeding areas.  We were really lucky to be in the right place at the right time to pick up this unique raptor.                       

Hook-billed Kite

    Still riding on the adrenalin rush of the kite sighting, we packed up and headed for Anzalduas Park with the hopes of finding an unambiguous Tropical Kingbird.  We had several birds that looked promising, but did not call.  A Black Phoebe and a Great Kiskadee on the nest were nice to see at this park situated on the Rio Grande.  We were also fortunate to see a Lesser Nighthawk that alighted on a horizontal limb for a few seconds before taking flight again.  

    Continuing, we visited the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and observed two Forster's Terns, two Inca Doves, a couple of White-eye Vireos, and a Green Kingfisher. We also picked up a Tennessee Warbler as we paused to take a group photo on our way out of the park. 

    Our last stop of the trip was the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.  One of our goals was to contribute to the local economy by purchasing t-shirts, stickers, and other souvenirs of our time in the valley.  One last stroll around the headquarters gave us final looks at Texas and valley specialties like White-tipped Dove, Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Couch's Kingbird, Green Jay, and Clay-colored Thrush. It was a nice way to end an action packed week of south Texas birding.  Thanks to all the participants for such a fun and enjoyable trip to the lower Rio Grande Valley!

Jim Sweeney

Monday, May 28, 2018

Plymouth Day, May 27, 2018

Many Highlights on a gray day

A 06:30 AM start on this rather cool and overcast day kept many birders at home, instead of joining Glenn on this traditional walk of Plymouth Beach. However 10 of us met at the appointed time and set off along the beach. The very first stop, overlooking the mudflats on the inside of the peninsula, yielded one of the most spectacular of the birds for this morning:

  two Black Skimmers -  digiscoped in very windy conditions by Steven Whitebread
and the same birds photographed by Moe Molander

and the well wrapped birders admiring the spectacular birds - photo by Moe Molander

Most of the group made it all the way to the tip of the beach, and turned back just in time so as not to be cut off by the tide! The second highlight of the morning was a Lesser Black-backed Gull
photo by Moe Molander
photo by Steven Whitebread

Admirably in this group were two birders who were also acting as beach cleaners - we are grateful to all that you do to keep our environment clean - thank you!

The cool weather made for brisk walking and the group was back in the parking lot before 10:30 am - this left just enough time to hunt down the reported Red-headed Woodpecker at Manomet before driving over to the airport for part two of the day.
 Incredibly Glenn managed to find this bird for us, even though it did not vocalize at the time!

Red-headed Woodpecker photo by Steven Whitebread

The Plymouth day part two has us meeting at the airport. Glenn has permission from the airport manager to lead a group inside the fence to hopefully get close-up views of those grassland specialists: Meadow- and Horned Lark, Upland Sandpiper, Vesper- and Grasshopper Sparrow. Unfortunately there are not many places left where we can see these species, so this trip always draws a large crowd. Even though it had started to spit/drizzle, this day was no exception. A group of 18  birders joined Glenn for a walk inside the airfield. We had barely passed the fence when we saw a Meadowlark in flight., it landed obligingly on a runway light, so we all got great scope looks. Not long after, Glenn heard the flight call of an Upland Sandpiper - and sure enough it was circling right above our heads - going incredibly high!
The Sparrows proved less cooperative, while most of us heard a faint Grasshopper call - we never really located the bird - a brief glimpse of movement from the direction of the sound was all.
Vesper Sparrow never showed, but a resident Kestrel almost compensated for this. By then we were all wet enough so called it quits.
on the way out of the airport field - photo by Moe Molander

E-bird lists of the beach walk and the airport are below.
Thanks to Glenn D'Entremont for once again leading this walk


Plymouth Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, US
May 27, 2018 6:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
Comments:     BBC/SSBC/FMSSF/PasamasketBC trip 10 participants
36 species

Mallard (Northern)  12
Common Eider (Dresser's)  1
Double-crested Cormorant  75
Osprey (carolinensis)  2
Black-bellied Plover  40
Semipalmated Plover  30
Piping Plover  12
Ruddy Turnstone  7
Sanderling  15
Dunlin  2
White-rumped Sandpiper  2
Semipalmated Sandpiper  250
Willet (Eastern)  12
Bonaparte's Gull  25     no adults
Laughing Gull  250
Ring-billed Gull  175     all first and second year birds; one bird close to adult 3rd yr?
Herring Gull (American)  X
Lesser Black-backed Gull  1     ad or 4th year (brown area on bird seen in field, but image(s) do not show this
Great Black-backed Gull  X
Least Tern  150
Common Tern (hirundo)  10
Black Skimmer  2     adult, one larger than other - male?
Mourning Dove  3
American Crow  4
Horned Lark  2
Tree Swallow  3
Bank Swallow  8
Barn Swallow (American)  20
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  X
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler (Northern)  1
Song Sparrow  11
Common Grackle  21
House Finch  7
House Sparrow  X

View this checklist online at

Plymouth Airport, Plymouth, Massachusetts, US
May 27, 2018 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.25 mile(s)
Comments:     BBC/SSBC/FMSSF/PaskamasketBC trip
20 species

Canada Goose  4
Wild Turkey  1
Great Blue Heron (Blue form)  3
Upland Sandpiper  1     displaying
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  1
American Kestrel  1
Eastern Kingbird  1
Fish Crow  1
Horned Lark  3
American Robin  5
Ovenbird  1
Prairie Warbler  1
Grasshopper Sparrow  2
Chipping Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow (Savannah)  3
Eastern Towhee  3
Eastern Meadowlark (Eastern)  3
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
Common Grackle  7
American Goldfinch  1

View this checklist online at

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wompatuck State Park, May 24, 2018

On our last Thursday walk of 2018 in Wompatuck S.P., 5 birders explored the area from the transfer station to the Aaron River Reservoir. The woods were filled with songs of thrushes and some warblers although the fully leafed canopy made locating many of the latter birds somewhat difficult. Highlights included the pileated woodpecker that was first heard drumming loudly across the water, and then seen by one participant as it flew toward us; a yellow-billed cuckoo called several times in the same area but was only seen as it flew overhead to a different location. A number of blackpoll warblers were heard during the morning, but only one was finally seen when two of us went to the Gate 9 area.

The group was agreeable to exploring a new area and we set off on a path along the shores of Heron Pond. Other than a pair of spotted sandpipers and a departing great blue heron, it wasn't terribly birdy, however the beauty of the area made up for the lack of birds. On our return, another surprise was a singing hermit thrush. A few scarlet tanagers were heard, but one considerate male posed alluringly for us right over the trail.

Until next year, we say farewell to the wonders that Wompatuck always presents to us on our weekly walks.

Sally Avery

Wompatuck SP--Visitor's Center, Plymouth, Massachusetts, US
May 24, 2018 6:21 AM - 6:44 AM
Protocol: Stationary
10 species

Common Loon 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
American Crow 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Veery 1
Ovenbird 1
Chipping Sparrow 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
American Goldfinch 1

View this checklist online at

Wompatuck SP-transfer station to Aaron River Reservoir, Plymouth, Massachusetts, US
May 24, 2018 6:53 AM - 9:42 AM
Protocol: Traveling
3.022 mile(s)
38 species

Great Blue Heron 1
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Mourning Dove 2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 4
Eastern Kingbird 5
Warbling Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 4
Blue Jay 3
Veery 4
Swainson's Thrush 2
Hermit Thrush 1 Singing in woods
American Robin 5
Gray Catbird 5
Ovenbird 9
Northern Waterthrush 1
Black-and-white Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat 2
American Redstart 4
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 4
Blackpoll Warbler 3
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 3
Chipping Sparrow 5
Scarlet Tanager 4
Baltimore Oriole 6
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Common Grackle 6
House Finch 5
American Goldfinch 4

View this checklist online at

Wompatuck SP-Gate 9, Plymouth, Massachusetts, US
May 24, 2018 10:08 AM - 11:38 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.171 mile(s)
26 species

Mallard 2
Mourning Dove 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Veery 2
Wood Thrush 2
Gray Catbird 4
Ovenbird 1
Blue-winged Warbler 3
Black-and-white Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat 4
American Redstart 1
Northern Parula 2
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 4
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 2
Eastern Towhee 3
Northern Cardinal 2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 3
American Goldfinch 1

View this checklist online at