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Birdwalk Highlights for 10/28: Wolfe's Neck Center, Freeport.

No need for excuses: the center has been too good to not go back again this week. And it once again did not disappoint. It was insanely warm and gorgeous today, and the perfect weather added to a perfect day to take a walk and look at some birds as we all worked to clear our heads after the stress and trauma of the past few days.

And the ebbs and flows of fall migration by comparing week-to-week sightings and tallies continues to be instructive. I encourage you to scroll through previous reports to see how the season has been changing.

We began at the cove as usual, with 4 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and an increase to 35 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS. About 75 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS crowded onto the last of a rocky islet as the tide rolled in.

Arriving at the garden, we were greeted by a rather vocal RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH and the first of 4 PINE SISKINS.

But then we turned our focus to the sparrows and sorted through the masses. A "WESTERN" PALM WARBLER was briefly glimpsed, but then a DICKCISSEL appeared! We had a great look of it glimmering in the sun, before it dove out of view and disappeared. About an hour later, we had what was either another or the same Dickcissel on the other side of the farm - the lighting was different so it was hard to compare plumages, but it's possible two were present here today. Eventually, with effort, the second bird (or second sighting) provided a great look for the group.

Between the two main sparrow-y spots, our tallies were much lower than last week, as would be expected by the progressing date. Today's estimates were 100 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, 60 SONG SPARROWS, and 15 SWAMP SPARROWS, with 3 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and a single CHIPPING SPARROW also seen.

Elsewhere along edges and overhead as we traveled between hotspots included 4 PURPLE FINCHES, 2 LAUGHING GULLS, 4 AMERICAN PIPITS, 2 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, 2 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, 4 NORTHERN CARDINALS, and a total of 3 BALD EAGLES.

Unfortunately, we also found more evidence of additional bird strikes at the new Smith Center building.

But that was not all! Back at the cove, we had to pause to enjoy some RED-THROATED LOONS (see photo above). It turned out there were a goodly tally of 10 in the cove, including one feeding within 20-30 feet of shore! You'll be hard-pressed to see red-throats this well! Five juvenile BONAPARTE'S GULLS passed close by, adding yet more icing to the cake.

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