Date: 8/23/17 9:34 am
From: Rick Bowes <rbowes...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] 8/20 Duxbury Beach catching up plus birding notes from 8/20
[a bit long - to bypass here's link to 8/20 ebird report :]

A note to those kindly querying into my health, sanity, etc. having not seen
postings for quite awhile: Thank you! I assure you my health is fine
(though sanity is always in question). For the last few months, various
factors have limited my time available for birding,and as a result, beyond
getting into the field, I've not been able to keep up with either eBird or
MassBird. Things appear to be improving timewise, and so I hope to (a) keep
current going forward and (b) do catchup posting over the next few weeks.
I'm once again doing the ISS (International Shorebird Survey) counts this
year. The next census is planned for Thursday 8/24; when I post that
report, I will provide links to all of those done to date including the
Spring. I regret the hiatus and truly appreciate, and am motivated by, the
kind words.

Ssince eBird now accepts (and displays) photos with the report (provides
shareable documentation and makes reports more meaningful for readers). My
photo links form now on will be to the eBird images (Macauley Library); I'lI
only use PBase for multiple photos of a single subject or shots that may be
of interest just to fans of Duxbury Beach.

When doing the ISS I must cover the 3.7 miles of beach (both ocean and bay
sides) from Blakeman's to the west end of the Boathole (arbitrarily
signified by a set of posts with a string of colorful buoys) in a finite
amount of time. Covering all the areas when birds are abundant forces a
tradeoff between counting/estimating all the birds and poring over
individual birds to tease out the unusual. On non-ISS days, like Sunday, I
can triage the flocks looking for the unusual; no counting necessary!

Currently Duxbury Beach is swarming with transient shorebirds. Nestled in
the rocks, they escape notice when resting from their nighttime travels or
from feeding furiously on the flats when the tide is out. I asked one
curious passerby, to look at the bayside shoreline and tell me how many
birds she saw. None, she said. She then looked through my scope at 300+
Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semi Plovers compacted in a very small space,
and was, to use her word, "flabbergasted!". The same is true on the ocean
side when beachwalkers never see the dozens and dozens of birds in the roped
off areas not more than 50 feet from their parked cars.

So now, (finally?) Sunday's report.

Sun 8/20/17 12:40-4:05pm HiTide 10:42am (10.6') Low 4:54pm; Clear; 78F; Wind
WSW 5mph; bay water quiet, ocean also..

Birding on outgoing tide with flats emerging as time progressed. Oceanside
was covered with people and vehicles well beyond 3rd xover except in roped
off areas that, while distant scoping did reveal birds, were not accessible
enough given available time. Objective: sift through large numbers of
transient shorebirds for the unusual & look for photo ops. Focused my time
on (a) bayside shoreline since rocky loafing areas hosted surprisingly
large groups and birds are close by, (b) Boathole, (c) east end of
Crescent/Saquish beach, (d) walked High Pines peninsula, and (e) scoped
ocean beach from snow fence just before entering Plum Hills to triage large
flock of BB Plovers et al between 3xover and Plum Hills.

The full report with pix can be seen at

Summary: 14 species of Shorebirds (could be 15 pending confirmation of
possible Western Sandpiper).

Of note is that all the many breeding Willets and their young as well as
most Piping Plovers are already gone. Also largely gone from the Beach are
the Grackles and Red-wings that were everywhere through July.

Semipalmated Plover numbers jumped in the last couple of days as the first
flocks of juveniles have been dropping in.

Shorebird list:

Black-bellied Plover - At least 300.

Semipalmated Plover - Everywhere at least 1000 present overall. First
juveniles (est 5%)

Piping Plover 2 1 at Crescent, 1 near 2nd xover

Killdeer 2 Boathole

Ruddy Turnstone X many intermingled with all flocks.. possibly 150

Red Knot 2 Photo: <>

Sanderling X a bit early for their big flocks

Least Sandpiper X Numbers appear to be down. Only 1 juvenile, rest

White-rumped Sandpiper X 5 at Boathole (pretty regular there), 2 on

PECTORAL SANDPIPER 1 Highlight of the day. Inconspicuous in rocks on
Crescent with hundreds of SESA's and other birds.

Photos: <> and

Semipalmated Sandpiper X large groups in several places. Never absent
from view! 4,000 to 6,000 overall

Short-billed Dowitcher X At least 100 present.. 60-80 at Crescent and
Boathole, others typically with BBPlovers &?or Turnstones.

Greater Yellowlegs X 3 individuals - Crescent; High Pines; off 1st

Willet Only 2. None on Peninsula, 1 bayside water's edge north of 2 xover,
and 1 just south of 1st xover

Rick Bowes, Duxbury, MA

<mailto:<rbowes...> <rbowes...>

Duxbury Beach info at:

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