Date: 6/29/18 10:53 am From: Sean S <therefromhere168...> Subject: [Maine-birds] 9 Black-crowned Night Herons over SMCC (6/28)
I've been putting less effort into looking for BCNHs near the shore along SMCC's Spring Point Trail and more into just watching the skies. Their direct, non-buoyant flight profile is so different than the way gulls usually wheel around that it becomes very easy to ID them as flyovers. If anything it would be easier to mistake them for Crows from a distance... except they don't appear as dark, and Crows are not commonly seen flying between the islands and the mainland in the late hours of the day.
Between 7:35 and 8:30 (approximately dusk) yesterday 5 adults and 4 individuals in subadult plumage were seen, with most (along with 1 Great Blue Heron) flying toward the island rookeries. Nearby Ram Island was found to have 68 active BCNH nests during the 2009 USFWS survey ( https://maineheron.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/2009colonialwadingbirdcensus2.pdf ), which seems the easiest explanation for the high numbers of flyovers and less frequent hunting individuals that occur in this area. It should be noted that these sightings rarely happen from the vantage point of Willard Beach... one has to proceed past the beach along the upper trail that goes up and down a couple flights of stairs to get to the panoramic viewing spots between Spring Point and the marina.