Rich Moncrief, Birding and Nature Manager for Zeiss joined us today for a full day of events, starting with our regular Saturday Morning Birdwalk. As a special treat, he passed out a variety of Zeiss's fine optics for us to test drive throughout the morning.
After a stronger than expected migration overnight, we headed down to Spear Farm Estuary Preserve in Yarmouth, hoping to catch some of last night's migrants. Unfortunately, we only encountered two small mixed species foraging flocks, along with a few single birds, that amounted to totals of 3 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 2 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 2 NORTHERN PARULAS, 2 PINE WARBLERS, 2 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, 1 OVENBIRD, 1 BLUE-HEADED VIREO, and 1 COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Additionally, we had a HERMIT THRUSH, several GRAY CATBIRDS, and 3-5+ RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES - the goodly number for deciduous woods indicative of the first stages of a winter finch irruption!
We had 2 OSPREYS and a GREAT BLUE HERON at the river's edge, but the highlight was the good GREEN HERON show at the pond: 2 adults were seen, but the 1 juvenile spent the entire time standing out in the opening, putting on a great show. It's also a treat to see this shy species so well.
With a full moon and a storm surge pushing even more water up the river, we raced over to the Walsh Preserve in Freeport to see what may be roosting in the salt pannes in the marsh here. Recent rains and aforementioned high tide has put a lot more water in the pannes, so there wasn't a muddy margin. However, the water depth was perfect for our long-legged Tringas, and there were at least 30 LESSER YELLOWLEGS present. Three GREATER YELLOWLEGS kindly roosted alongside two Lessers, providing a great study of the respective size and structural differences. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER was heard as well.
We also hit a wave of migrants here, with a family group of 4 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS towing along a pair of AMERICAN REDSTARTS, a TENNESSEE WARBLER, another Black-and-white Warbler and another Blue-headed Vireo, and three more Red-breasted Nuthatches.
We returned to the store to commence a hawkwatch, which turned out to be pretty successful, too!