Early Spring Migration Walk Results

April 12, 2015

Hunter Island

8:00 AM -Noon

    After the horrible winter we had it was wonderful to be outside on this sunny spring morning. About a dozen of us met in the Orchard Beach parking Lot. Before we got started, Joe noticed a sparrow on top of a nearby white SUV. It was a Tree Sparrow, our first bird of the day and a good way to start. Our first stop was at a nesting Killdeer. This nest is totally exposed, easily predated by anything that sees it. However, its camouflage is amazing, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed. Interestingly, it was in the same location last spring and the birds fledged successfully. As we ascended the hill, we had some of our usual species, nuthatches, cardinals, downy woodpeckers and lots of robins. We stopped for a few minutes to see Brown Creepers on a tree at the crest of the hill. Boris spotted what was our first Hermit Thrush. This was a fairly new arrival at the park. As we traversed the trail we spotted Osprey in the distance. We also saw several Northern Flickers, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers here. Then we stood out on the first and second overlooks. The sun on our faces felt great and the view was wonderful. Here we saw Red-breasted Mergansers, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, a Common Loon and Horned Grebe in breeding plumage. There were also a few American Wigeon, Mallards, and American Black Duck. We also had some nice scoped views of Harbor Seals on the rocks enjoying the sun. Boris spotted a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the nearby tree.

    It was tough to leave the lookout because of the warmth of the sun and the beautiful view. We decided to try for the Great Horned Owl. Brendan was our scout and spotter and he located the bird in less than three minutes. It was exciting to see the owl with such an unobstructed view. The bird was also fairly low on the tree. It was tough to get away but we moved on. Then, directly in front of us, perhaps 10 feet overhead, was Red-tailed Hawk. This bird was not fazed by our presence and we had some really close looks. The photographers in our group were really enjoying shooting both the owl and hawk. We had two other very close Red-tailed Hawks.

   A few people peeled off and left. The rest of us went over to Twin Island. We scoped some Common Goldeneye pretty far out. We also relocated the Horned Grebe. In the still edges between Hunter and Twin Island was a Great Egret and two Lesser Yellowlegs. Then Joanne spotted an American Oystercatcher, fantastic. By that time it was nearing noon. On the way back there were more Killdeer, Flickers, Woodpeckers and other passerines. This was a fun day with great company and lots of smiles.

Some of the first birds of the morning. A Brown Creeper and nesting Killdeer.

Joanne scans the water while Billy tries out the video on his iPhone.

Billy, Brendan and Gerry. Gerry uses his naked eye is enough and finds the birds before everyone.

Billy, Joe, Gerry and Boris play king of the hill.                                                                                   Patty is serious about finding birds.

Boris, looking cool, relaxes in the warm sun.                    Billy, Brendan, Boris, Sandy and Eleanor at the scope. Brendan spies another bird  

                                                                                    while Eleanor scopes the Killdeer.

Look, up in the sky, is it the Crested Caracara? No it’s an Osprey.                                                 Joanne and Billy are finding more birds than the rest of

                                                                                                                                               us because they are serious and focused!

Species Account: 39 Species

Red-breasted Merganser

Common Goldeneye

American Wigeon

Bufflehead

Greater Scaup

Mallard

Canada Goose

Double-crested Cormorant

American Oystercatcher

Horned Grebe  (breeding plumage)

Common Loon (breeding plumage)

Lesser Yellowlegs

Osprey (few)

Great Horned Owl  (close and unobstructed view)

Red-tailed Hawk (5)

Killdeer (nesting)

Tree Sparrow

Song Sparrow

House Sparrow

White-breasted Nuthatch

Northern Cardinal

Tufted Titmouse

Downy Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Eastern Phoebe

American Robin

Brown Creeper

Hermit Thrush

Northern Flicker

European Starling

Greater Black-backed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Great Egret

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Grackle

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