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Plum Island

Plum Island

August 13, 2022

Janice Zepko and Tim Carter

Eight members took advantage of the forecast for good weather and were not disappointed, with temps in the 70’s and a light breeze all day long.  Bugs were not a problem at Parker River either, to our surprise and delight.

Our first stop was the boat launch across the street from Lot 1. We spotted 4 Least Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, a Least Tern, two Osprey and our first glimpse of Seaside Sparrows and the thousands of Tree Swallows we would encounter throughout the day. A Black Guillemot had been reported at Lot 1, unfortunately we did not get it, but Tim picked up a Northern Harrier hunting over the dunes. On the water, we saw just 4 White-winged Scoters and one DC Cormorant, though we panned back and forth in search of the Guillemot.

The Salt Pannes were quite bare as well, giving us only 9 Semi-palmated Sandpipers and one Great Egret.  The Wardens gave some of us good scope views of Seaside Sparrow, as well as a GreatBlue Heron, six Barn Swallows mixed in with the constant motion of the Tree Swallows. At the North Pool Overlook, Craig picked up a Virginia Rail calling for the group.

Hellcat gave us two each of American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal, Great and Snowy Egrets, Semi and Least Sandpipers, 150 Semi-palmated Plovers, 7 Greater and one Lesser Yellowlegs, two Short-billed Dowitchers and an Osprey.

Stage Island Pool was next, and we approached with anticipation. This hotspot did not disappoint, but rather delivered on the promise of American Avocet.  We did not see it at first, a couple of us thought we were looking at a strange white duck with its head tucked, until it moved and turned out to be the sought-after Avocet with the stunning bill. After studying what we could find from the trail, we moved on to the platform, where two birders said they had been watching two Black Terns.  Luck was with us again and we all got views of the tern flying about.

The lots at the end of the road were full, leaving us unable to visit Emerson Rocks or Sandy Point. We’ll keep that in mind for next year and head there at the start of the day.  On the way out we stopped at the Pines Trail and Lookout, where there was an Osprey nest with four Ospreys on it, all large and seemingly the same size. We took another chance at spotting the Black Guillemot at Lot 1, but no luck there, where we called it a day. It was a beautiful day on Plum Island, all seemed happy, and we ticked off 53 species.