What’s been seen: Back in the 1800s when Americans really took up birding as a pastime, gentlemen and ladies with the time and the desire recorded personal and detailed observations about birds in field notebooks that built up our modern-day knowledge of avian behaviors with fun and flowery prose. For some, that tradition continues.
One ebirder recorded her observations in June of the piping plovers on the beach near Lewis Street, noting she had tracked two, possibly three, birds, and then lost sight of them before moving on.
“As I was leaving and not paying attention,” she wrote in the online data portal, “I almost bumped into an adult who was feeding. It continued to feed in a circle around me, so close I could see the black tips of its toes.”
She also caught sight of a couple of adult common eiders with 12 youngsters in the nearshore area of the water, feeding in the waves. Elsewhere around town, the abundance was most obvious at Straits Pond where 32 species were recorded (and seven more on May 31), from the common great egrets, snowy egrets, and double-crested cormorants to the rarer least terns and black-crowned night-herons. The latter may have been venturing out from the colony on World’s End where, by the way, 69 species of birds were seen in June.
What to expect this month: And so, fall migration begins. The many species of shorebirds that raced past us in May and even early June are finishing up their breeding in the Arctic Circle and are turning around to head back south. For the next few months, we will have a steady stream of sanderlings, plovers, sandpipers, yellowlegs, and more passing through. Keep an eye on the water’s edges, on the beaches, bay, Straits Pond, and the Weir River. If you’ve been watching the ospreys on the river, now is the time to keep an eye out for the first flights of the youngsters.
As the month comes to a close, stick to those marshes and you’ll witness the mass staging of the egrets as well as a few great blue herons as they prepare to move back south for the winter as well.