Pea Soup Walk     April 14, 2019

Driving through the Orchard Beach parking lot on this morning was scary.  As I drove through to our meeting spot, I don’t think I could see more than five feet in front of me. This was some really thick fog, like pea soup. Tom was already there when I arrived at 8:20. I was hoping to find something interesting in the lagoon or maybe a warbler near the benches. The lagoon was totally fogged in. Warblers hadn’t arrived. I was sure it would be just the two of us birding, but as 9:00am approached, a few more determined birders showed up. In my mind, I would have been satisfied with 10 bird species, it was impossible to see much. It was silhouette birding, no colors or patterns, challenging but fun. In the end, we managed to eke out 31 species, kind of remarkable.  By the time we looped around Hunter Island, the fog began to lift. It really was an interesting and fun morning, in the forest, by the shore, in the fog.

This is what the entrance to the parking lot looked like. Now which way to the meeting spot? Photo by Tom Warren.

Once in the woods, we could see in front of us but birds were kind of mushy outlines in the tree canopy. These outlines reminded me of the pages in the Peterson field guide with the bird silhouettes.

In the photo to the right, from left to right we see, Maria, John, Melanie, Tom, Brendan and Joe. During the walk, we were hoping for the Pileated Woodpecker but he didn’t make an appearance. We did see some large holes and lots of wood chips, so maybe he’s still around. Melanie was inspired to write about the elusive Pileated...

A song inspired by the search for the elusive Mr. P by Melanie Benvenue:


(with apologies and thanks to Lerner and Lowe)

To the Tune of “The Street where you live”

I would often bird Pelham Bay before

But the pathway always stayed beneath my feet before

all at once can I feel my spirit fly,

knowing I’m in the park where you’ve been

Are there cardinals here?  yes I’ve seen a few,

Red bellies, blue jays, tufted titmice too,

Grackles galore, and hawks that soar

All are here in the park where you’ve been

And oh the towering feeling,

Just to know somehow you are near

the overpowering feeling

that any second you may suddenly appear.

Dear Mister P, please land on a tree, 

and peck away some place that I can see,

I’ll stand quietly by

‘Til you choose to fly

Far away from the park where you’ve been.

Species Account

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

American Robin


Common Grackle

Red-Winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Mourning Dove

Northern Flicker

White-throated Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Downy Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Black-capped Chickadee

Eastern Towhee

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Northern Cardinal

Horned Grebe

Greater Yellowlegs

Bald Eagle (flyby)

Canado Goose

Mute Swan

Great Egret

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-tailed Hawk

European Starling

Northern Mockingbird

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull  (lagoon after fog lifted)

Double Crested Cormorant

Bufflehead (lagoon after fog lifted)

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