Thursday, July 14, 2022

SSBC Goes to Lake Umbagog! June 3-7 2022

Below is a writeup from Dana Duxbury-Fox on two double-header three-day trips out to lake Umbagog she and Bob led.

Group 1 SSBC Trip to the Umbagog Region 3-5 June 2022

Day 1, Friday June 3, 2022, After a long drive with good weather, everyone reached Gorham NH and began birding the 38-mile Gorham – Errol Road (Route 16). There were the boom piers in the Androscoggin River, the huge ski jump, a bridge with nesting Cliff and Barn Swallows, and the photogenic osprey nest. At Pontuck Resevoir many of the group met our co-leaders (SSBC members who moved north) Charlie Nims and Joe Scott. Here there were some Ring-necked ducks, a wonderful marsh.

Soon everyone reached Errol, turned right, and found the Errol Motel just past the church. At 5 p.m. there was a Happy Hour in Room 10, then we all walked to the church for a wonderful turkey dinner prepared by a team of ladies from the church.  After ordering our bag-lunch for next day, everyone went upstairs for a talk by Dana Duxbury-Fox. Dana has become an expert on the area’s most famous birder, William Brewster, and she talked about his adventures a century ago.

Day 2, Saturday, June 4, 2022, began at 6:15 a.m. with an early cold breakfast at the church so we could early reach the high areas on the Dixville Turbine Road by 8 a.m. for the best birding. The elevation is only about 2,700 feet, but its location favors more spruce-loving northern breeding species. Charlie led the five-car caravan first to the road’s end while birds were in song, then we birded back down the road making several stops for special birds. Some of the birds seen and photographed at the top included Bicknell’s Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler,Canada Jay, Boreal Chickadee, and Nate heard a distant Fox Sparrow. Attention also turned to sundews, ferns, Nodding Trillium. We paused beyond the port-ta-pot- ties for Lincoln’s  Sparrow and Mourning Warbler.

Magnolia Warbler, photo by Carol Molander

We ate our picnic lunch back at the motel picnic tables. The afternoon birding trip started by going north for 5 miles on Route 16 to a good boreal bog. Then we went further north to the Dartmouth Second College Grant property and our interests expanded with Nate catching dragonflies and butterflies, and others checking out plants and ferns as well as seeing a new group of birds. 

Beaverpond Baskettail, photo by Leslie Flint

The Umbagog region is located between two plant/animal areas called biomes, so it is only a short distance between species we might expect in southern NH and those of the great northern forests.

Just south of the Dartmouth College grant road found us checking a field with bird houses everywhere where we saw an Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow, making a scenic stop at the park headquarters and reaching the motel for Happy Hour and a wonderful lasagna dinner. Bob Quinn, who has led many trips to the area, gave a short talk about Umbagog.

At dusk some checked out woodcocks that had been spotted the night before in the fields beside our motel. Charlie, Joe, and Bob Fox drove back west  on Rt. 26 and had woodcocks and a Whip-poor-will; they returned about 10 p.m.

Day 3, Sunday, June 5, 2022, began again at 6:15 (early coffee in room 10) with a drive to Lakeside Road. Here were a different group of birds, interesting plants, and a gravel pit. While we could have stayed here longer, we rushed back for a hot breakfast at 7:50 a.m. We spent a few minutes checking out and packing cars for our trip home.

At 8:30 we left for a pontoon boat-trip that went from Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters down the Magalloway River to the northwest corner of Lake Umbagog to Leonard Marsh then along the Androscoggin River to Harper’s and Sweat Meadow and back up the Magalloway reaching the Headquarters about 3 p.m. Yes, we had a rest-stop and our picnic lunches near Harper’s Meadow. During the whole trip, the park senior biologist explained what we were seeing and answered questions. And it was his day-off!

The crew, photo by Charlie Nims

A Pileated Woodpecker started the trip. Along the way we saw Loons, Bald Eagles, Wilson’s Snipe and the twitching ears of a moose.

The eBird Trip Report details for June 3-5

https://ebird.org/tripreport/63184

Group 1 Google Photos

https://photos.app.goo.gl/gZzd1fGgHEskJFFg9 

 

Group 2

Members of the South Shore Bird Club birded the Umbagog Region on June 5-8, 2022

Day 1 Sunday June 5, 2022. Three members of Group 1 stayed on and took part in Group 2 as well. Others after a long drive with good weather, reached Gorham NH and began birding the 38-mile Gorham – Errol Road (Route 16). There were the boom piers in the Androscoggin River, the huge ski jump, a bridge with nesting Cliff and Barn Swallows, and the photogenic osprey nest. The Pontuck Resevoir, a large lake-like body of water with great marshes was a must stop. 

Soon they reached Errol, turned right, and found the Errol Motel just past the church. At 5 p.m. there was a Happy Hour around Room 10 where we met our guides, Phil Brown and Katrina Fenton. Levi Burford and Bob Quinn also joined us. We walked to the church for a wonderful pulled pork dinner prepared by a team of ladies from the church. After ordering our bag-lunches for the next day, everyone went upstairs where Dana explained the trip schedule. She gave an illustrated talk on William Brewster the area’s most famous birder, a subject she has researched in depth. Bob Quinn, a tour leader in the area for many years, added some comments on Brewster and Umbagog.

Day 2, Monday, June 6, 2022.  The day began with a 6:15 am cold breakfast at the church so that we could reach our birding destination while birds were still in full song. We drove on Route 26 some 8 miles towards Dixville Notch, before turning left onto the Dixville Turbine Road. It was a rough dirt road, and we went another 15+ miles to just beneath several turbines and a closed gate. The end of the road was full of birdsong, the day perfectly clear, and the temperature cool but pleasant. We had Boreal Chickadees, Canada Jays, Bicknell’s Thrush, male and female Blackpoll Warblers and Phil spotted a Black-backed Woodpecker. We walked up the hill beyond the gate and down a steep dirt path. We spent several hours on the wide dirt the road enjoying and photographing boreal species. As we drove down, Phil had some special stops for a “restroom” and a singing Philadelphia Vireo. Unexpectedly, there was a Ruffed Grouse standing in the road, and then a Snowshoe Hare.

Boreal Chickadee, photo by Soheil Zendeh

Back on Rt. 26, we headed west for Dixville Notch but paused at the Dixville Notch State Park to eat our picnic lunch. Our next stop was at the west end of the Notch where Bob gave a brief talk expanding on his paper on the geology of the Notch that participants had received before the trip. 

We continued west from the Notch and turned right on Diamond Road entering the wonderful grasslands, the largest such habitat in NH. Katrina Fenton briefed us on the history and future of this area. There were rolling fields with scattered woodlands, and some once prosperous farms now in disrepair. We saw the special birds of this area – Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows, Cliff Swallows nesting on the one working farm, a distant Harrier and three Kestrels before heading back to Errol. One quick stop just before the notch let us see the “pillow lava” outcrop mentioned earlier by Bob. 

Grasslands and farmland by Dixville, photo by Leslie Flint

Happy hour and dinner. Phil went north on Rt. 16 and saw moose.

Day 3, Tuesday, June 7, 2022, began at 6:15 a.m. with a prebreakfast trip to a boreal bog spot about five miles north on Rt. 16 where we had a singing Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Palm Warblers. Back to the church we had a fine breakfast and then drove east to Mollidgewock Road off Route 26 about 5 miles from the motel. We birded this dirt road to a gravel pit where there was a kingfisher nesting and Palm Warblers and plants as well. We returned to the motel and had our picnic lunch under the trees.

Screaming Olive-sided Flycatcher, photo by Carol Molander

eBird Trip Group 2 Summary

https://ebird.org/tripreport/62174

Google Photo Group 2

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yzM64ErXsTAasD1b9



Saturday, July 9, 2022

Whale and Seabird Watch Plymouth to Stellwagon NMS July 9, 2022

The club held its annual Whale and Seabird Watch on Saturday, July 9th aboard the Captain John boat out of Plymouth. Approxiamtey 16 members and friends were present. I have not been active in the club in recent years, so it was good to reconnect with old friends and meet some of the newer members of the club.

Leaving the harbor, it was once again sad to see the lack of any sign of a tern colony. A very few shorebirds were seen as listed below. Seas were relatively calm, always a good thing in my book, and winds were light. Just past the Gurnet we saw our first (Great) shearwater. This area is typically reserved for a few Storm-Petrels, but not today. We also saw a whale close in also, but at that point the boat was moving so fast, we did not have time to alert the crew.

As we made our way to Stellwagon Bank, we encountered a few Greats and Cory's Shearwaters. As we got closer to the Bank, the action really picked up with several groups of whales feeding, which in turn brought in the birds. The four usual Shearwaters were found in the area, with Great Shearwater being the most numerous. Followed by Cory's, Sooty and Manx. Storm-Petrels were nearly none existent as only 4 were seen. Three or four small raft of birds 6-10 were seen, mostly Greats. In general, a majority of the birds were on the wing following the whales.

A few of us did get a very quick look at a jaeger which came screaming through the area and disappeared very shortly there after. I do not believe anyone got a photo.

Here are a couple of my bad photos.

Cory's Shearwater

G
Great Shearwater
Great Shearwaters
Sooty Shearwater
Oh yes, whales

Here is the list of birds I came up with:
  
Mallard					5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)		9 
Greater Yellowlegs			1
Willet					1
shorebird sp.				5
jaeger sp.				1
Laughing Gull				3
Herring Gull			       31 
Great Black-backed Gull			8
gull sp.	      		       50
Least Tern				2
Common Tern				3
Wilson's Storm-Petrel			4
Cory's Shearwater		       52
Great Shearwater	      	      270
Cory's/Great Shearwater	              100
Sooty Shearwater	       	       10
Manx Shearwater	            		2   
Double-crested Cormorant   	       16
Osprey					5
Tree Swallow				2
Barn Swallow				2
House Sparrow				1
Song Sparrow				1
 
Mike Emmons 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Wompatuck State Park, May 26, 2022

Adding a fifth week to our early morning Wompatuck romps proved to be a popular idea.  Thirteen people braved the early morning cold in search of any birds, migrant or not, and lots of camaraderie.  Our route today took us around Triphammer Pond.  Along the way we made a couple of detours in search of a Pileated Woodpecker that was both calling and drumming regularly.  Although it always seemed to be just beyond the next tree, we eventually got fleeting glimpses of one from the other side of the pond, where a second PIWO was calling.  Whether a mated pair or a rival in an adjacent territory, we could not be sure without seeing enough of the birds.  Also along the pond were Eastern Kingbirds, Chimney Swifts swooping over the pond and dipping in, singing Scarlet Tanagers, a couple Baltimore Orioles with nest, and a few resident warblers.  

After returning to the parking lot, half the group headed out to pursue their daily routines and the rest of us stood around unwilling to have the morning end.  While there, a succession of raptors flew by including Broad-winged, Cooper's, and Red-shouldered Hawks, and a Turkey Vulture.  A pair of phoebes entertained us near the Visitor's Center. 

Eastern Phoebe

We were still determined to keep birding, so we headed over to the new Gate 11 area (formerly Gate 9) to search for a Worm-eating Warbler. We entered the woods across the street at Gate 10 and soon began to hear the buzzing of the WEWA.  Altering our route to the lower side of the hill, we followed the trilling until David Ludlow found the bird high in an oak tree where most of us got tortured looks.  It turned out to be the variant with the all-cream-colored head (no striping) that has been seen for the last several years in that area.  

Alas, all good things must come to an end and we reluctantly headed our separate ways around 11 AM.  There seemed to be a real joy in gathering as a group to bird after a couple of years of isolation.  Even though migration was never a strong component of this year's walks, seeing some new faces of birds and people seemed to lift everyone's spirits!

Sally Avery

Wompatuck SP--Triphammer Pond, Plymouth, Massachusetts, US
May 26, 2022 6:26 AM - 9:22 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.7 mile(s)
42 species

Canada Goose  3
Mourning Dove  2
Chimney Swift  3     Skimming low over pond and dipping in for bugs or perhaps water.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Common Loon  1     Flyover
Great Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Wood-Pewee  3
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  7
Eastern Kingbird  1
Red-eyed Vireo  8
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Tufted Titmouse  4
Barn Swallow  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
House Wren  1
Gray Catbird  12
Veery  2
American Robin  6
Cedar Waxwing  3
American Goldfinch  4
Chipping Sparrow  6
Song Sparrow  1
Eastern Towhee  1
Baltimore Oriole  2
Red-winged Blackbird  3
Common Grackle  6
Ovenbird  7
Black-and-white Warbler  3
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler  7
Pine Warbler  5
Scarlet Tanager  5
Northern Cardinal  2

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S111332345

Wompatuck State Park - Gate 10, Plymouth, Massachusetts, US
May 26, 2022 9:58 AM - 11:11 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.039 mile(s)
Checklist Comments:     Sunny warming up to 60’s.
14 species

Red-tailed Hawk  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  3
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
American Goldfinch  4
Chipping Sparrow  2
Eastern Towhee  2
Ovenbird  2
Worm-eating Warbler  1     Nice look at singing male. No stripes on cream-colored head like a bird ( if not the same male) that has been seen in this area of Wompatuck for last five years.
Blue-winged Warbler  1
Black-and-white Warbler  2
Pine Warbler  1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S111332746

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Wompatuck walk, April 28th, 2022

 Clad in full winter outerwear, I showed up at the Wompatuck Visitors  center with very low expectations. I had warned potential bird clubbers  that temperatures around 40 degrees, wind gusts up to 40 mph, and low  migration forecasts promised little in the way of bird sightings that  morning. Seven hardy members joined Dick and me anyway for the first  of the spring walks around the park. Thanks to new rules, the gate into  the park is now open 24/7 as are the restrooms greatly expanding our  opportunities for exploring its many great trails.  

Unbeknownst to me, the group saw a red shoulder fly over my head as I  was coming out of the visitor's center. I did see the American crow that  was chasing it, but it was only at the end of the morning that I learned  that the RSHA had been part of the chase.  

We began the walk at the end of the park for a quick jaunt to Picture  Pond in case there was a LOWA (there wasn't); from that parking area  we walked some back trails over to the "lollipop" path and South Park  where early warblers can often be found. We weren't disappointed.  Palms, yellow-rumps, Black and white, ovenbird, pines, and northern  waterthrushes were all singing and four species were seen. 


Yellow-rumped Warbler



Palm Warbler



At a wetland stop along the lollipop where many of our species were  found, Trevor Lloyd Evans told us about the black eyebrow found on a  male BGGN only during the breeding season, a fact new to the rest of 

the group. Since then, I have been looking and have found this field  mark which is often easier to see on photos. As it turns out, Clark  Johnson (who provided all of these photos) got a photo in which it is  somewhat visible.  

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher



Several winter wrens were singing but not seen along our 4-mile route; I  assured everyone that we were bound to see one along the lollipop stick  on the way back from Holly Pond toward the main road. And, as  predicted, one obliging wren sang lustily from an upended tree stump so  that Clark could get his life view of the bird as well as a photo. 


Winter Wren


My pessimistic outlook about the productiveness of the walk was  unfounded as we counted up our list at the end of the morning. The 40  species we saw under less than ideal conditions made for a very  satisfying morning indeed!  

Sally Avery  

Wompatuck State Park, Hingham US-MA 42.19685, -70.85005, Plymouth,  Massachusetts, US 

Apr 28, 2022 6:26 AM - 10:13 AM 

Protocol: Traveling 

6.766 mile(s) 

Checklist Comments: A SSBC walk. Mileage reflects driving from visitor  center to far end of park birding with windows open as well as a 4- mile walking  loop. Sunny but Below 40 degrees with with wind gusts well over 20mph.  BirdCast showed low migration but we still saw 40 species. 

40 species 

Canada Goose 1 

Wood Duck 1 Heard flying away from Holly pond 

Mallard 1

Wild Turkey 1 

Turkey Vulture 1 

Red-shouldered Hawk 1 

Broad-winged Hawk 1 

Red-tailed Hawk 1 

Red-bellied Woodpecker 6 

Downy Woodpecker 2 

Northern Flicker 1 

Eastern Phoebe 3 

Blue-headed Vireo 1 

Blue Jay 16 

American Crow 3 

Black-capped Chickadee 6 

Tufted Titmouse 7 

Barn Swallow 2 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5 Lots of singing birds with only one seen well. Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 Vocalizing only 

White-breasted Nuthatch 2 

Brown Creeper 1 Vocalizing only 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1 

Winter Wren 5 We saw 3 of these birds, two of which were actively singing  and the third was poking around probable nesting sites. Two others were heard  singing near streams along the four mile loop our group walked. Small dark  brown wren-shaped bird with short cocked tail. 

Carolina Wren 1 

Hermit Thrush 4 

American Robin 1 

American Goldfinch 4 

Chipping Sparrow 8 

White-throated Sparrow 1 

Eastern Towhee 1 Audio only 

Brown-headed Cowbird 1 Audio only 

Common Grackle 3 

Ovenbird 1 Audio only 

Northern Waterthrush 1 

Black-and-white Warbler 1 

Palm Warbler 3 

Pine Warbler 13 

Yellow-rumped Warbler 14 

Northern Cardinal 2


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Duck Count - November 20, 2021

 The 12th Annual Plymouth County Waterfowl Survey (better known as the duck count) was held on November 20, 2021. This was my first year leading this event, which had previously been run by Joe Scott. Many thanks to Joe for setting up this event and for all your hard work over the last several years!

We had 35 participants who split up into teams to cover all of the major freshwater ponds in Plymouth County. Thank you to everyone who participated and thanks to Pete, Lisa, Kathy, and Nate for your help recruiting and organizing the teams.

We had a clear, calm day with a high of 44°F. We’ve had very few cold days so far this year, so none of the ponds have frozen over yet. This can sometimes lead to lower numbers for the count, as freezing temperatures in northern New England or further inland can push ducks into our milder area. However, overall numbers for many species this year were pretty close to our long-term averages since the count began in 2010.

In addition to the usual species, we also had a few uncommon sightings this year. The Northwest team found 3 Northern Shovelers on Furnace Pond. This species was a lifer for Bonnie and also a first for me in my hometown of Pembroke. We also found a Common Goldeneye X Hooded Merganser on Great Sandy Bottom Pond. This makes 5 years in a row that this beautiful and unusual hybrid has been in the area.

Northern Shovelers by Bonnie Tate

The Marion Water Treatment Plant is under construction currently, but Carol got special permission to visit and found a Blue-winged Teal. Hank and Jill found a Greater White-fronted Goose at the Vaughan Hill Rd fields in Rochester. They credited a pair of Bald Eagles with scaring it into the water so it could be included in our official tally. A Cackling Goose had also been reported in that area recently, but it was absent on the day of the count.

Greater White-fronted Goose by Hank Levesque

Glenn and Ernie found a White-winged Scoter on Assawompsett Pond. Any sea ducks are unusual for this event, as we only cover freshwater ponds, but we do occasionally get a scoter or Long-tailed Duck on some of the largest ponds.

The tally was held virtually this year via Zoom. Several participants dialed in to go over the highlights for each team, review the final numbers, and swap stories. Hopefully we can get back to doing an in-person tally next year.

The full list of waterfowl species for this year is below:

Greater White-fronted Goose

1

Canada Goose

1,391

Mute Swan

295

Wood Duck

5

Gadwall

160

American Wigeon

83

American Black Duck

206

Mallard

1,315

Blue-winged Teal

1

Northern Shoveler

3

Northern Pintail

6

Green-winged Teal

82

Ring-necked Duck

766

Greater Scaup

95

Lesser Scaup

59

Scaup sp

72

Bufflehead

647

Common Goldeneye

127

Hooded Merganser

373

Common Merganser

97

Ruddy Duck

100

White-winged Scoter

1

Common Loon

3

Pied-billed Grebe

42

Horned Grebe

6

American Coot

28

Total Ducks

4,222

Total Waterfowl

5,988

Thanks again to all participants and the team captains!

Brian Vigorito

Thursday, October 21, 2021

SSBC's "75-a-thon"

 On Saturday October 16th, 2021, South Shore Bird Club held a "75-a-thon", akin to a century run but with the goal of seeing 75 species of birds. What better a way to celebrate SSBC's anniversary but with an all-day trip hitting many of the South Shore's hotspots that the club has been visiting for decades!

The trip was advertised from 7 AM to 5 PM, a little play on numbers to sneak in another instance of "75", but immediately when the trip started began spurred an ethical dilemma on when to actually start counting birds.

The meetup time was 7AM at the Hawks Ave entrance of Burrage. 12 birders (two more met later) stood in the parking lot chit-chatting while waiting for the trip to start, when at 6:59 AM three Sandhill Cranes flew over bugling, flying away from Burrage over the treeline. Herein lies the dilemma. When to start counting birds? Sandhill Crane was a target here unlikely to be observed anywhere else... and there they went. After a bit of back and forth between everyone we hesitantly decided that we would probably count them, but never formed a concrete decision. Regardless, the clock stuck 7 so we did introductions and went on our way.

Sandhill Cranes. All photos by Lisa

The morning  had that nice fall chill in the air, with a breeze that was forecast to increase throughout the day. This proved to be a challenge, with songbirds being few and far between and when things were found they were often quite skulky. We thought that even if we'd skunked out here on songbirds we'd make up for it with ducks. We reach the northern reservoir and some ducks in the water. Decoys. Alas, today is the first day of duck season and we saw more decoys than ducks. 

The crew working hard to spot new species (not!)

While ducks were incredibly few and far between (with only some Wood Ducks and an unidentified dabbling duck) we did manage to see a Pied-billed Grebe, which would prove to be the only one for the day. While scoping a few blackbirds flew over, giving suspicious "kip" calls. We'd hoped for a better look, but the birds didn't seem to be going far. We decided to check the southern reservoir, and along the way we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an immature White-Crowned Sparrow. The southern reservoir proved to be even more devoid of ducks so we decided to cut left toward triangle bog to see if we could catch up with some more passerines, and hopefully those blackbirds. This ended up paying off in a big way; on our trek over the Sandhill Cranes flew back over, concretely ending our ethical dilemma, and we heard Rusty Blackbirds singing at Stump Brook before flying over again. From here we worked our way back to the car, ending at Burrage around 10 AM with 37 species towards our goal. Lots of holes with common species but we did do well on raptors with 5 species, which tends to be the opposite on big days. A decent count but low enough to keep the nerves pumping about whether we'd reach 75 or not!

Bogs at Burrage

Our next stop was Great Sandy Bottom Pond. This was a great stop for some of the hopefuls at this location, and we were able to see both species of scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, and we saw our first Mallards of the day (can you believe we missed them at Burrage?). While scanning we also were lucky to see an adult Bald Eagle, and shortly after an immature. We also picked up a big miss from Burrage, American Goldfinch!

Daniel Webster was next on our list and was scheduled to be our last hurrah for songbirds for the day, as it was almost noon when we arrived and winds were steady. At the parking lot another hole in our list was filled, Mourning Dove! We walked to the blind to the east of the panne first only to find a wall of phragmites. As we scanned we thought we heard a "pip" coming from the reeds, and lo and behold not one but two Sora were heard within them! The rest of the trip was quiet for birds but noisy with rustling phragmites, which has overtaken a bunch of the sanctuary. Fortunately though, we were able to fill in some of our missing species like Hairy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, and House Finch.

Our next stop was Duxbury Bogs, a place that can be overridden with both dogs and ducks. Surprisingly for such a nice day there were very few people walking their dogs, but the pond did not disappoint with quite a few dabblers hanging around and some nice pickups like Gadwall and Green-winged Teal. A Chipping Sparrow on our way back to the cars was icing on the cake.

Though not a bird, we spent some time admiring this Northern Watersnake at Duxbury Bogs

Now it was time to transition from inland to coastal in our search quest to 75 species. First stop: Plymouth Beach. As opposed to Duxbury Bogs, the amount of people here did correlate with the weather with many walking the beach and soaking up sun. Though it was low tide, we did manage to pick up a nice array of diving ducks with eiders, two scoter species, and a Common Loon. After Scanning from the beach we walked to the flats and were able to find a nice array of shorebirds, including an American Golden-Plover spotted by Lisa. We noticed a huge, distant feeding frenzy including some terns out by the breakwater, but everything was unfortunately too far to identify. As we walked back we had still been missing Sanderling, so Vin, Brian, and I climbed up on the rocks to see if we could spot one on the beach side. We weren't able to find a Sanderling, but did have an odd flyover flock of Lesser Yellowlegs that came off the ocean and flew inland. When we got back to the cars we spent a second tallying our results: 75 species, and only 3:45 PM! Not bad for a day with somewhat unfavorable conditions and not being crazy hardcore in our ventures.

Did we call it a day from there? Of course not, we're South Shore Bird Club!

American Golden-Plover (left) with Black-bellied Plover (right)

The route as planned was to continue following the coast and to head to Manomet Point from here, but the feeding frenzy was just too tempting so we headed to Nelson Beach and the town wharf. This paid off bigtime; we found our Sanderlings accompanied by a couple Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a huge number of gulls roosting on the flats right in front of the breakwater that included no less than 30 Forster's Terns and two Bonaparte's Gulls. As if this wasn't sweet enough we were in awe of two massive clouds terns in the distance, each consisting of hundreds. Quite the sight for mid-October!

Forster's Terns with Laughing Gulls

It was rough, but we finally managed to peel ourselves away from the town wharf to continue on our route and headed to Manomet Point. The combination of southerly winds and low tide made for some quiet waters, but we did manage to see Northern Gannets (one adult which was fairly close) and a Great Cormorant roosting with all of the DC's. It was at this stop that the time passed 5 PM, the advertised end time for the trip.

But did we call it a day from there? Of course not, we're South Shore Bird Club!

With what little daylight we had left we headed to Manomet (Bird Observatory), which shares a rich history intermingled with South Shore Bird Club. We checked the farm, then the dell, then the garden, then the bluff, then walked the road with no new species. The anxiety was building, would our last stop be the first where we didn't add a new species to our list? Fortunately not, as when we were walking back to our cars at deep dusk we were bid farewell by the tremolo of a screech-owl.

All said and done we ended our day with 85 species, beating our goal by 10. It was great to see and get out with everyone, and was definitely a fun little challenge to try to break 75 species. Our full species list in order of location below.

Best,

Nate


Species                                                     Location
1 Canada Goose                                     Burrage Pond WMA
2 Mute Swan
3 Wood Duck
4 Pied-billed Grebe
5 Sandhill Crane
6 Killdeer
7 Double-crested Cormorant
8 Great Egret
9 Northern Harrier
10 Sharp-shinned Hawk
11 Cooper's Hawk
12 Red-shouldered Hawk
13 Red-tailed Hawk
14 Downy Woodpecker
15 Northern Flicker
16 Blue Jay
17 American Crow
18 Black-capped Chickadee
19 Tufted Titmouse
20 Tree Swallow
21 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
22 Golden-crowned Kinglet
23 Carolina Wren
24 European Starling
25 Gray Catbird
26 Northern Mockingbird
27 American Robin
28 White-crowned Sparrow
29 White-throated Sparrow
30 Savannah Sparrow
31 Song Sparrow
32 Swamp Sparrow
33 Red-winged Blackbird
34 Rusty Blackbird
35 Common Grackle
36 Yellow-rumped Warbler
37 Northern Cardinal
38 Mallard                                                Great Sandy Bottom Pond, Pembroke
39 Ring-necked Duck
40 Greater Scaup
41 Lesser Scaup
42 Ruddy Duck
43 Ring-billed Gull
44 Bald Eagle
45 Red-bellied Woodpecker
46 American Goldfinch
47 Dark-eyed Junco
48 Mourning Dove                                Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary (Mass Audubon)
49 Sora
50 Herring Gull
51 Turkey Vulture
52 Belted Kingfisher
53 Hairy Woodpecker
54 White-breasted Nuthatch
55 House Finch
56 Blackpoll Warbler
57 House Sparrow
58 Gadwall                                                Duxbury Bogs Conservation Area
59 American Black Duck
60 Green-winged Teal
61 Chipping Sparrow
62 Rock Pigeon                                        Incidental (Driving) Rt. 3 @ Samoset St.
63 Common Eider                                Plymouth Beach
64 Surf Scoter
65 White-winged Scoter
66 Black-bellied Plover
67 American Golden-Plover
68 Semipalmated Plover
69 Dunlin
70 Greater Yellowlegs
71 Lesser Yellowlegs
72 Laughing Gull
73 Great Black-backed Gull
74 Common Loon
75 Great Blue Heron
76 Sanderling                                        Plymouth Town Wharf
77 Semipalmated Sandpiper
78 Bonaparte's Gull
79 Common Tern
80 Forster's Tern
81 Red-throated Loon
82 Merlin                                                Incidental (Driving) Manomet near CVS
83 Northern Gannet                                Manomet Point
84 Great Cormorant
85 Eastern Screech-Owl                        Manomet Bird Observatory