Date: 9/11/17 8:36 am From: Tim Carney <timmyc83...> Subject: [MDBirding] Poplar Island 9/8/2017 (long-ish)
September is one of my favorite months to conduct a census on Poplar Island. Shorebird diversity is still high, there is usually an influx of warblers and other transient passerines, dabbling ducks begin arriving, and some of the breeders are still present.
September is also challenging because it seems that the local eagles and Peregrine are much more active than usual, causing entire groups of ducks and shorebirds to flush as I'm trying to count them. Because of this, I usually do a quick count by 10s or 50s, then try to fine-tune it before the flock disperses. The eagles and Peregrine usually become less active as the day progresses.
On September 8, the eagles and Peregrine were especially active in Cell 6 so I decided to return to that cell in the afternoon. This was a good decision, because my personal favorite find on Poplar (ever) was waiting for me in Cell 2C: a juvenile SABINE'S GULL. This was the first record for the site, second for Talbot County, and eleventh for Maryland overall. It was also a lifer for me, and it remained long enough for the birding tour and five of my coworkers to view it. While watching the Sabine's, I noticed a cowbird flock and inspected it carefully for Yellow-headed Blackbird. To my surprise, an immature male YHBL was in the flock! This was another first site record.
Other major highlights included a Barn Owl roosting in one of the sheds, three Buff-breasted Sandpipers, and a flock of 11 Red-necked Phalaropes. One group of peeps contained 26 White-rumped Sandpipers which seemed high. I also found an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull in the Cell 6 gull/tern flock and two Wilson's Phalaropes were nearby.
I was surprised at the *lack* of transient passerines. Two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and two American Goldfinches were all I found.
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