July can be a quiet time for birding, especially with heat and humidity we are experiencing this summer. But a buddy and I got together for an early start on Plum Island, hoping to avoid the Greenheads (Google them) and see what was out and about.
First stop was Sandy Point on the southern end of the island. The terns and plovers seem to have finished nesting but are still around in good numbers. Some Common Terns mixed in with the Least Terns that nest on the beach. Common Terns are bigger and have an orange bill while the Least Tern’s is yellow.
Moving north, we spotted Snowy and Great Egrets at Stage Island Pool. There were several shorebirds as well, including Dowitchers, Yellowlegs and Dunlins. The shorebirds were too far away to photograph though. I’ll be targeting them as they migrate through the area in coming weeks.
Cedar Waxwings are common around the pool and we got some good looks at this handsome bird. Note the red waxy tips on the wings.
Continuing north, we stopped at the observation blind. Not much to see from the blind but a Common Yellowthroat warbler posed and showed off his catch.
A nice find a bit further up the road was a pair of Alder Flycatchers that are nesting deep in the reeds along a pond. This one also displayed his catch before diving into the reeds to bring it to the nest.
More aquatic sightings:
The maintenance area was a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Several hundred young Starlings swarmed the area and covered buildings, fences and trees. I think I prefer the Tree Swallow swarms that will start in a few weeks. Seeing thousands of birds swirling through the sky or making small trees sag with their combined weight is quite a sight!
We’ll be looking for more shorebirds on upcoming trips. I guess I need to refresh my ID skills soon.