Date: 9/10/17 11:25 am From: Jeff Baughman <jlbirder...> Subject: [wisb] WSO Field Trip - yesterday 9/9/17
*Bay Beach Fall Warblers Field Trip 2017 – Sept. 9* By 7:00 AM a group of nearly 70 people met at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary for WSO’s annual Fall Warbler field trip. Skies were clear, there was little or no wind, and temperatures in the upper 40’s, nearly perfect weather conditions for this particular trip.
After we gathered the group to outline the strategy for our day, we checked out the pond by the first parking area. Here we had a cooperative Caspian Tern, a couple of Great Egrets and Northern Pintail flying over the pond. A Great Blue Heron was spotted along the far shore, with a few Canada Geese, Mallards and a Pied-billed Grebe swing in clear view. After a few minutes though, we started hearing several chip notes of migrants in the trees behind us or as they flew overhead. Our first warbler of the day was an uncooperative Blackburnian Warbler in the trees near us that flew off before many of us could find it. At that point, we decided that we needed to hit the trails in search of these birds.
After leaving the pond overlook and parking area, it didn’t take you long before we had looks at Swainson’s Thrush, Gray Catbird, Warbling Vireo, and several warblers including; Tennessee, Nashville, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, and American Redstart. One snag hosted a Cedar Waxwing, a couple of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and a little later 2-3 Northern Flickers and a few Blue Jays.
Continuing on the trails toward the main entrance road, we again found a nice group of migrants. Tallying 5-6 more Swainson’s Thrushes, Red-eyed Vireo, American Redstart, Blackpoll, Tennessee, and Magnolia Warblers. Along the main road we added, Philadelphia Vireo, Eastern Wood Pewee, Wilson’s, Black-and White, Cape May Warblers as well as other more common species.
After a short break at the nature center, we did take a walk east of center but didn’t anything new. So it was decided to bird our way back to the cars and then drive out to the Cat Island portion of our field trip. On our trip back to the cars we did add Black-crowned Night-Heron, Green Heron, Blue-winged Teal and Wood Duck. We also had our first Palm and Chestnut-sided Warblers and another more cooperative Philadelphia Vireo. Our final tally for Bay Beach Sanctuary was 62 species, which included 13 species of warblers.
After organizing rides at the park and ride in Lineville Road, we carpooled out to the Cat Island parking area. From here we started our 1.5-mile hike out to the first island. This is the particular site where 4 pairs of Piping Plovers successfully nested this past summer.
On the hike out to the island we added several new species; Lesser Scaup, Horned Grebe, American White Pelican, American Bittern, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sora, American Coot, Killdeer, Tree and Barn Swallows, Marsh Wren, and Swamp Sparrow. Upon arriving at the first island, we noticed a few shorebirds along the west shore. These birds were quite distant, but through our scopes, we added Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers, Sanderling, Least, Semipalmated, and Spotted Sandpipers.
We did walk the causeway around to the southeast side of the island in hopes of finding more shorebirds but there was minimal shoreline habitat and no birds were present. As we rested, some of us on the large rocks along the causeway, contemplating (a few of us dreading) the long 1.5-mile hike back to the cars, a small mixed flock of shorebirds landed quite close. Among them was 8 Semipalmated Plovers, a Sanderling and a Semipalmated Sandpiper. While enjoying these birds at close range an American Golden-Plover called from overhead, circled, landed near us for a couple of seconds, then flew up, circled a few more times calling and then headed southeast out of sight. We were hoping to find the Buff-breasted and Baird’s Sandpipers that had been here the day before, but we weren’t able to find them. Although it is a long walk (especially for a guy with arthritic knees), the birds and the people made for a great trip. We tallied 47 species here on the Cat Island leg of our trip, giving us a grand total of 84 species for the day.
A big thank you goes out to Mike Reed for coordinating access to the Cat Island portion of our trip and to both Daryl Tessen and Mike of helping lead today field trip. It was much appreciated.