Showing posts from July, 2010

Been quiet, off to AZ again

Every month or so I have a stretch of 12 straight days at work, and I'm just finishing up one of those periods now...hence the lack of posts during prime shorebird season. But tomorrow I'm off to southeast Arizona with James Restivo, Phil Rusch, and Glenn Williams. We'll have a whole lotta fun and see a ton of birds during our one-week visit. I'll be sure to post our best sightings and hopefully some cool photos too. The shorebirds can wait for now... - NB

Jul 15 - South Beach, MA

I spent the afternoon and evening of July 15th birding South Beach, Chatham, MA. This is the premier shorebird location in New England and, arguably, all of the northeast US. I took the 11:30am shuttle from Outermost Harbor to the beach. High tide was around 3:30pm, and the shuttles stop running at 4:30pm, so walking all the way back was the only way to catch the best shorebirding. I ended up leaving the roosts around 6:15pm and getting back to the car by 8pm. Here are my shorebird estimates: 275 Black-bellied Plover (mostly basic/first-summer birds) 200 Semipalmated Plover 15 Piping Plover (several juv) 6 American Oystercatcher (adults) 2 Spotted Sandpiper 35 Greater Yellowlegs 125 “Eastern” Willet (two young juv, otherwise all adults) 8 “Western” Willet 1 Lesser Yellowlegs 3 Whimbrel 25 Hudsonian Godwit (highest count of birds in view at one time, but I suspect there were more around) 13 Ruddy Turnstone 110 Red Knot (two flagged adults; viewed with Mass Audubon's Mo Correll) 40 S

Stratford Pintail, area shorebirds

Got out for some local shorebirding around high tide before a steady rain began. The highlight, though, was a duck. A female-type NORTHERN PINTAIL was present among a flock of Mallards at Stratford Marina. Northern Pintail I didn't run into any uncommon shorebirds, but numbers continue to slowly build. For example, Milford Pt held 107 Semipalmated Sandpipers and a couple Stratford spots had a combined 40+ Greater Yellowlegs. - NB

Stratford Moorhen, shorebirds

I spent a few hours shorebirding in Milford and Stratford around high tide before a few showers rolled through. After the rain cleared, I walked out Sandy Pt in West Haven on the falling tide. The best bird of the day was found by Charlie Barnard...a COMMON MOORHEN at the 'warehouse pool' in Stratford. Common Moorhen (wonder where this bird tried to breed?) Milford Point held a small flock of Semipalmated Sandpipers with a single WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER among them. A Diamondback Terrapin walked right in front of me on its way from the outer point to the marsh...a female after egg-laying? Diamondback Terrapin Highlights here: GREATER SCAUP Semipalmated Plover 6 Piping Plovers (2 ad, 4 juv) 11 Oystercatchesr (10 ad, 1 chick) 2 Spotted Sandpipers 24 Semipalmated Sandpipers 2 Least Sandpipers WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER Short-billed Dowitcher Laughing Gull 4 Common Tern 3 Least Tern 2 Purple Martin 3 Bank Swallow Greater Scaup. Worn bird summering here. Short-billed Dowitcher ( griseus )

"Fall" migration begins

On July 2, a trip to Sandy Point in West Haven, CT revealed a flock of 13 Least Sandpipers. These are the first southbound shorebirds I've seen, and they're right about on time. 2 of thirteen Least Sandpipers The first of these "fall" migrants typically arrive in Connecticut around the Fourth of July. The first few species that can confidently be called fall migrants are usually Least Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Short-billed Dowitcher. But once the games begin, pretty much anything can show up. Things got started a bit early on South Beach in Chatham, MA when Blair Nikula found a RED-NECKED STINT on June 27th. Other presumed southbound birds at SB included 3 Hudsonian Godwits (common at this location). My first sighting of fall shorebirds is always a nice moment, as it signifies the start of what is likely my favorite 6-8 weeks of the year. - NB

Maine: Day 4 (June 30)

Today all my efforts would go to finding a Spruce Grouse. My strategy, courtesy of Al Maley of New Hampshire, would be to enter the park as early as possible and slowly drive the same 4 miles of habitat north of Nesowadnehunk Campground at which I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon. Al's strategy made good sense...this way you cover more ground than walking, you can use your car as a blind, and the grouse often come to the roadside early to dust-bathe, grit, and feed. I entered the park at its 5am opening time. By the time I traveled the 17 miles to the campground, it was about 5:55am. Along the way the only thing I stopped for was a deer with young fawn in the middle of the road. My first pass through the habitat, heading north, took nearly an hour. No grouse yet, but singing Fox Sparrows, Bay-breasts, and Blackpoll Warblers were good to hear again. I was focused on the grouse, so didn't leave the car to view these birds. On my way back south, at about 7:15am, there was a m

Maine: Day 3 (June 29)

The fine mist from the day before had continued through the night, but was more intermittent this morning. So I headed to the Burnt Land Road at Square Lake with high hopes of finding the American Three-toed Woodpeckers that had been around for the past several weeks. I started down the woods road and quickly had a 'che-bunk'ing Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and a Lincoln's Sparrow in full song. I proceeded very slowly, stopping every few steps to listen for woodpecker rapping and scanning the ground for Spruce Grouse. There was a good amount of birdsong from the expected species in this habitat, such as RB Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, both kinglets, Swainson's and Hermit Thrushes, Nashville, Magnolia, Palm and Wilson's Warblers, White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos. Plus a single Boreal Chickadee. About 1/4 mile down the road I heard my first few raps from some trees on the right. It didn't take long to locate a woodpecker just a few feet off the g