What’s Been Seen: As expected, May was a whirlwind in Hull. It certainly ended on a down note for all of us, with heavy rain dampening everything for the final three days of the month. But migration happened, and in a big way for Hull. Fifty-five species of birds were reported from Straits Pond throughout the month, from ducks to hawks to songbirds of all kinds. Highlights included two Black-crowned Night-herons and the Great and Snowy Egrets that will now frequent the pond over the next two months. Some of the first migratory shorebirds – Least Sandpipers and Semipalmated Sandpipers – arrived to begin feasting on the goodies in the mud (Killdeers get here early, and are already raising their young), and a small group of seven Purple Martins made their passage through, a species with a fascinating story worthy of its own article. Piping Plovers are alive and well on Nantasket Beach, and up at the Fort Revere/Hull Village Cemetery grounds, the sightings were tremendous: a juvenile Bald Eagle, a Broad-winged Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks and more.
What to Expect This Month: June is still a month of transition for many species. We may see flocks of various species of shorebirds on the beaches as they work their way north to breeding grounds as far away as the Arctic Circle. But for the most part we should be watching for signs that breeding and nesting is taking place. Many adult birds will spend this month foraging for food to bring back to their mates and their young in the nests. Singing will diminish mostly because their bills will be full of twigs and tufts of other nest-building materials, as well as worms and bugs and other sources of protein. Baltimore Oriole nests will dangle from outer branches, while Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Downy Woodpeckers will find – or make – holes in trees. Osprey chicks will be ready to fly around July 1 or so, so keep an eye on them as the month progresses. If you want to challenge yourself as a birder, this is a great month to do so. By close observation you’ll learn a lot more about our feathered friends as they tend to the chore of raising the next generation, exhibiting behaviors specific to their species only at this time of year.