Saturday, May 8, 2010

Stratford Point 5/2-5/8

In last week's entry, I wrote about hoping to be able to include in this entry that Bobolink and Orchard Oriole were seen for the first time this year at Stratford Point. My prediction came true, as both species were part of the 60 that were recorded in the past week. The Bobolink sighting came on May 6, while Orchard Oriole was seen on the 6th and the 8th. The latter sighting was of a first-year male and a female. This pair was probably migrating through the area. I hope that I am wrong and they stick around. Maybe this next week will bring the pair that nested here last year back to us. Bobolink will be here in much greater numbers very soon. They are often very cooperative to viewing and photography. I will be sure to take some pictures of both species and some HD video as well. Other notable returns were Least Tern and Common Tern. You can find both species relatively easily simply by walking the perimeter of the site. Eventually you will hear their calls and see them flying around. You may actually be able to see them resting or preening on exposed rocks, as the two Common Tern in the photo on the right are. Spotting scopes can offer fantastic views when they are relaxing like that. Other new arrivals included Chimney Swift, a species you will be able to find flying about with the various swallow species. We recorded the four expected swallow species this week - Tree, Northern Rough-winged, Barn, and Bank - as well as a Purple Martin. We will be erecting gourds for Purple Martins to nest in very soon, similar to the ones which they have every year at Milford Point. There is always a chance we could get them this year, but if not, we will be all set for next season.

New shorebird species for the year included Spotted Sandpiper and Semipalmated Plover. We also found Black-bellied Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, and Dunlin. I am sure we will find some Least Sandpiper soon, and perhaps a Short-billed Dowitcher. Today was a busy day at the Point despite the thick fog over the water and rain that moved in mid-morning. Passerines were hopping and singing by the gate and fence. I found four warbler species, and while this is a small total for a day in May, it is a lot for Stratford Point. The coastal grasslands habitat with very few trees does not lend itself to capturing many of them. We do get decent numbers on good days in the fall. However, we find Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warbler from time to time in the spring and summer, both of which I recorded today. Additionally, two new species for the Point were singing and foraging in the trees we do have: American Redstart and Black-and-white Warbler. They had not been recorded in the year and a half we have been observing birds at Stratford Point. A Warbling Vireo was also belting out it's song today, a rare bird for the Point. Sometime soon, we will give you the total number we have recorded. It is quite a high number in this diverse and beautiful spot. Can we get 70 species in the next week?

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

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