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Birdwalk Highlights for Feathers Over Freeport

Saturday, April 30: Bradbury Mountain State Park.


With migration at a standstill, there were few migrants in the early-spring woods this morning. However, we took the time to workshop some of our earliest arrivals, getting in some good practice before the floodgates open in the coming weeks.


PINE WARBLERS (3) and CHIPPING SPARROWS (6+) provided ample time to study the songs of these two common trillers. We heard several variations, and often positioned ourselves between the two species to carefully study the differences. We also saw a few really, really well.


It was also a good morning for a lesson in woodpeckers: 1 great look at a migrant YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER near resident HAIRY and DOWNY WOODPECKERS, with one RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER heard calling several times.


A single HERMIT THRUSH and 3 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were the only other passerine migrants, while overhead a single SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and BROAD-WINGED HAWK prepped us for the upcoming hawkwatch workshop. Plenty of resident birds, such as BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES (10+), TUFTED TITMICE (4+), and a pair each of RED-BREASTED and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES.


Sunday, May 1: Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park.


On our traditional special Sunday morning outing as part of the weekend, a very light migration overnight did provide a few new arrivals in the woods, led by a total of 6 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS. We split into two groups today, thanks to a great turnout, and Jeannette and I traded off routes when we met each other in the middle. Hopefully, everyone had a chance to see what both routes had to offer.


A GREAT EGRET and a NORTHERN HARRIER were spotted out over the bay, approaching the neck, both in active visible migration. Hard to say if the two COOPER'S HAWKS and two BROAD-WINGED HAWKS were local or migrants, however, but the multitudes of OSPREY were all here to breed. One group even watched a male break a large stick off of a tree with a surprisingly loud snap, while the other group saw another male bringing finishing material to his mate on her nest.


We practiced "trillers" once again, with ample PINE WARBLERS (9) and several CHIPPING SPARROWS (4+). We had many more YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS (11), EASTERN PHOEBES (6), and HERMIT THRUSHES (3), today, and both groups were treated to great views of quite a few GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS (9+).


Meanwhile, out on the bay, resident COMMON EIDERS (~25) were joined by the last of the wintering waterfowl: about 40 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 30 BUFFLEHEADS, and 6 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS.


As always, it was a nice diverse mix of birds with a few good instructional moments - exactly our goal for the Birdwatching Weekend!


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