Marsh comes to life

5/5: May has hit with a bang! Waterbirds relatively sparse in the morning, but a few windy periods stirred the long-tails and kicked up some white-winged scoter flocks, a few loons, and handful of late scaup. Sandhill crane flying South; heron flying North. Big influx of passerines last night, with two new warbler spp. on the spring—black-and-white and black-throated green—singing from the launch area. Ended the morning with 49 species at the point, most of them passerine. 

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55845465

Yellow-rumped warbler, Dingman Marsh

Went for another trip on some French Farm Lake trails, and came across a massive warbler pocket at the West end in the short birch/oak woodland there, which this morning was shielded from the wind by the nearby dunes. At least 50 warblers in the near vicinity, with several dozen pine, palm, and yellow-rumped, a half-dozen black-throated green, a black-and-white, a waterthrush, and FOY black-throated blue and Nashville warblers. Two lesser scaup, 58 bufflehead, and all three merg species continue on the lake, along with local loon pairs and Caspian tern.

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55854507

Pleasant evening, with plenty of activity among local marsh birds: calling bittern, sora, and pied-billed grebe, and red-wings flying everywhere and displaying emphatically now that the females are back. A late group of teal (4 green-wing and 3 blue-wing) were feeding among the flooded marsh grasses. Highlight once again was the tricolored heron, now making its third appearance with a flight straight out from where it went in yesterday, and once more around towards Cecil Bay.

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55886229

5/6: Productive morning, with a cool NW breeze, rolling fog, and periodic rain. Good movement of loons West, including one that might have been a red-throat (my scope chose this exact inopportune moment to fog up until the bird had passed). 22 loafing horned grebes, a single red-necked grebe, and about 1000 long-tails along the length of the straits. Bumper day for gull/tern species, with several Bonaparte’s flocks, two Caspian terns, and six FOY common tern flying West in addition to the local ring-bills and herrings. Still waiting on the pelicans to arrive!

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55908627

Evening count relatively quiet, but it was a good night for herons, notably, another visit from the tricolored. It flew in from the West, and after a quick bike towards its vanishing point, I found it in one of the densely-vegetated creek mouths near the road, where it flushed to a nearby perch and then out of sight. About a half-hour later it flew back West for the night. Two bitterns calling, one great blue, and one great egret, plus a local sandhill crane. Three late wigeon pairs were loafing for most of the count, and flew off West at sunset.

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55940898

Best photo so far of the Tricolored Heron

5/7: Very slow morning. Clear skies and variable winds (shifting ENE-WNW over the course of the morning) made for minimal flights, with only two scoter flocks, a handful of common loons, and a single Bonaparte’s flock making Westward movements.

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55958442

By evening, things had really picked up! Tricolored heron made several appearances before flying off once more towards Cecil Bay at sunset. Two bitterns, the sora pair, and the pied-billed grebe pair were calling, and Darrell picked out a sedge wren (FOY) singing right behind the count location. Flyby osprey and three Caspian terns, plus a lone wood duck, a female hoodie (both getting late for this location), and a flock of long-tails waaaay out in the straits.

Sunset, Trails End Bay

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S55985112

5/8: Cold morning with moderate East winds, and limited movement. Remarkably, no loons or grebes in flight (surely due to the wind direction, as these have nearly all flown West this season), but a good scoter showing, with 17 white-winged scoters, and a flyby surf scoter pair (FOY). 

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56021636

Evening count uneventful compared to the past few days, with no showing from the tricolored heron. Persistent East wind started driving in a drizzle early on that turned to steady rain by 8:50. There was a brief pocket of activity right at the start, as a harrier pair passed East along the marsh edge, along with a lone Caspian tern, but things died down after this.

eBird list: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56027445