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Birdwalk Highlights for 3/30: Tour de South Freeport.

Low tide. Very strong and gusty northwesterly winds. Flooded trails. Large group. Where to go?

I still wasn't sure, but during the morning announcements, a flock of about 30 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS landed in trees right across the street! A first of the winter for many, we were off to a great start! A RED-TAILED HAWK passed low overhead, scattering them, giving us a chance to enjoy that, a low BALD EAGLE, a couple of TURKEY VULTURES, and two very close COMMON RAVENS battling the wind.

Did we even need to go anywhere else? But deciding to stick to the nearby area, especially in hopes of seeing the waxwings again, we just made the short drive into South Freeport Village. Beginning at the waterfront from the yacht club, we enjoyed lingering and migrant waterfowl, including 40 BUFFLEHEADS, 30 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, 6 CANADA GEESE, 4 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, 4 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, and 3 SURF SCOTERS. Well over 100 COMMON EIDER - about as many as we had hear all winter - stole the show though, feeding in close to the marina and shoreline. My guess is some of these are migrants staging to head overland in the next leg of their migration. A total of 6 COMMON LOONS included all stages of molt from winter-plumage-like 1st year birds to near-perfect breeding plumage adults.

From there we heard and glimpsed a migrant FISH CROW flying by, but it was frustratingly brief. Beginning our loop through the neighborhood, we detected this week's widespread flight of SONG SPARROWS - at least 22 were heard and/or seen today. A sampling of our other landbird tallies included 11 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES, 8 NORTHERN CARDINALS, 6 DARK-EYED JUNCOS, 3 BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS, and a variety of our woodland resident species. We also added a couple more Bald Eagles and Common Ravens to the tally.

Arguably the bird of the day, however - well, at least since we left the store's parking lot - was a pair of RED CROSSBILLS. The male kindly landed in the top of a nearby tree, offering great views before winging it overhead.

We then took the long way home, checking my various fruity secret spots, lots parking lot patches of crabapples in hopes of finding the waxwings again. No luck, but we padded our counts with a couple more Turkey Vultures, another Red-tailed Hawk, and a few more Song Sparrows.

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Steele Nickle
Steele Nickle
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A total of 6 COMMON LOONS included all stages of molt from winter-plumage-like 1st year birds to near-perfect breeding plumage adults. drift boss

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