Birdwalk Highlights for 8/8: Spear Farm Estuary Preserve and Yarmouth Town Landing.

The last scheduled birdwalk for August (stay tuned for an announcement about our September and beyond plans) was a resounding success. In fact, it far surpassed our expectations.

We began at Spear Farm, with the woods quite quiet. Songsters were - not surprisingly given the date - limited to 3 RED-EYED VIREOS and 1 EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE. We had good looks, for a change, at one of the vireos, but were then distracted by a female CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER catching, beating, and then carrying off a sizeable caterpillar. But most of the passerine activity was concentrated -again, not surprising given the date - two mixed-species foraging flocks. Both centered around TUFTED TITMICE and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES (totals of 12 and 10, respectively), the first flock included 2 YELLOW WARBLERS, 2 DOWNY WOODPECKERS, and a HAIRY WOODPECKER. The second group included a winter-plumaged Chestnut-sided Warbler, a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, and a family group of RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES. We also heard a single calling NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, also a southbound migrant.

But the passerine highlight was the 1-2 fly-over, calling RED CROSSBILLS that flew over us - our second week in a row with calling flyovers on the birdwalk.

Shorebirds were unfortunately limited today to one of each of LEAST SANDPIPER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. We also had a fly-by OSPREY, and a couple of foraging COMMON TERNS down by the river.

But today was a day for wading birds. A GREEN HERON was expected, but unexpectedly well seen for as long as we wanted. Also not surprising were the 5 roosting SNOWY EGRETS at the backside of the pond - this is a regular late-summer occurrence here as well. What was definitely not expected, however, were the two juvenile LITTLE BLUE HERONS that were roosting among them! Outside of Scarborough Marsh - where regular, but decidedly uncommon - this is still a rather rare bird in Maine. I did not expect to see two of them here, that is for sure.

We finished the outing at the Yarmouth Town Landing, where we added a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON and 2 GREAT BLUE HERONS to our goodly total of 5 wading bird species on the day!

9 MALLARDS, 4 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, 1 GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL, and plenty of HERRING GULLS joined the mix, but the Grand Finale was the Osprey that dove down and caught a sizeable fish right in front of us! That's how to end a birdwalk!

See you in September!


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