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Birdwalk Highlights for 3/16: Spear Farm Estuary Preserve and Yarmouth Town Landing.

After two rare Black Vultures were spotted in the vicinity yesterday, we used that to guide our destination for the morning's outing.

With morning fog just lifting, we began at the Yarmouth Town Landing, looking towards the airspace the birds were spotted in yesterday. About a dozen BUFFLEHEADS and a pair of COMMON GOLDENEYE worked the river shallows, with a couple of hen RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS nearer to the falls.

Over at Spear Farm, a pleasantly birdy and song-filled woods was thoroughly enjoyable. A pair of EASTERNS BLUEBIRDS were checking out some dilapidated housing options, and we spent some quality time in the woods with two pairs of NORTHERN CARDINALS. Without leaves, it's a great time of year to watch behavior as you can follow birds for longer. We tried to interpret things like which was the dominate pair and where the territorial boundary was.

At one point, we could here at least 4 different TUFTED TITMICE singing, we heard two BROWN CREEPERS in full song, and we watched BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES picking up white pine seeds off the trail. A pocket of a dozen SONG SPARROWS were joined by at least one WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and 1 DARK-EYED JUNCO (with another heard singing later), and a small group of resident birds got fired up by 1-2 pairs of upset RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES. At least 6 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were on territory at the marsh, and a PILEATED WOODPECKER called nearby but went unsighted.

The turbid pond held about 5 MALLARDS and a pair of HOODED MERGANSERS, but the river was more productive: more Bufflehead and Red-breasted Mergansers, and at least 20 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS. A group of 5 male GREEN-WINGED TEAL flew by earlier and landed partially out of site, but we later enjoyed very good lucks at them dabbling with black ducks on the mudflat.

We then returned to the Town Landing for a little sky-watching. No vultures, but we did have a northbound flock of 38 migrant CANADA GEESE. But the highlight was the one perched BALD EAGLE we had earlier had become two. Then, Mike spotted one flying in with a stick to a previously-unknown-to-us nest downriver. The female did some construction work on the nest while the male stood guard. We'll definitely be observing this nest in the future!

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