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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Aug 16, 2011 RISD Beach, Barrington RI 3:50-4:30pm

Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs

Liitle Blue Heron

RISD Beach saltmarsh

Sorry about not posting recently. I have been away camping for a fortnight in Gloucester, Massachusetts and Acadia National Park in Maine (which I would like to post about right now but I don't have the time, I am squeezing this in before we head out the door again.)

Yesterday we went for a quick walk at RISD Beach. It was high tide but none the less the birds were very active. By far the best bird of the walk was an immature Little Blue Heron, which despite it's name was pure white. This was not a surprise to us seeing that all Little Blue Heron immatures are white.

It was feeding with about five Snowy Egrets which are about the same size as the LBH. I noticed that it enjoyed flying, a fact that it made very clear by its many forays into the air - each one lasting about fifteen seconds.

This was my third LBH of the month and the fourth of the year. These averaged sized herons are quite uncommon in this area, the northern limit of its range (the most northerly report I have heard of recently was at Plum Island NWR.)

There were many common shorebirds in the marsh including Semipalmated Plover. Another interesting find was a pair of immature sparrows perching next to each other in a bush. Surprisingly they were not of the same species, on the left was a young Song Sparrow eight inches to the right of which was an immature Saltmarsh Sparrow.

Also on the marsh was a family flock of Mallards. In the flock were three teal sized birds about half the size of the Mallards, we decided that these were not teal but young Mallards presumably the same ones that were raised here earlier this year.

On the beach there were very large numbers of Laughing Gulls; pretty good birds for this area. There were actually more Laughers than all the Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls combined!

Here is a full list of birds seen:
Mallard 8,
Double-crested Cormorant 25,
Great Egret 1 (Seen in the saltmarsh, standing alone in deeper water than the Snowy Egrets and the Little Blue Heron),
Snowy Egret 5,
Little Blue Heron 1,
Green Heron 3 (All three took of from around a shallow and muddy pool of saltmarsh water),
Osprey 1,
Semipalmated Plover 3 (Two were seen on the beach, the third was on the saltmarsh),
Spotted Sandpiper 1 (seen on the edge of the saltmarsh. This was the first time I have seen one here),
Greater Yellowlegs 4 (One was seen right next to the Lesser Yellowlegs giving a great size comparison),
Lesser Yellowlegs 1,
Ruddy Turnstone 1 (Seen flying north west up the beach presumably headed to the rockier section of the beach),
Semipalmated Sandpiper 30,
Least Sandpiper 15,
Laughing Gull 20 (None were in full breeding plumage),
Ring-billed Gull 10,
Herring Gull 2,
Great Black-backed Gull 1,
Common Tern 15,
Mourning Dove 3,
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1 (Female seen where the woods bordered the salt marsh. I saw another hummingbird flying over the saltmarsh but it may have been the same bird),
Downy Woodpecker 1,
Northern Flicker 1 (Could have heard a second one. Calling it's "Peah Peah" call),
Blue Jay 1,
Barn Swallow 15,
Black-capped Chickadee 1,
Carolina Wren 1,
Gray Catbird 3,
American Redstart 1,
Saltmarsh Sparrow 3,
Song Sparrow 3 and American Goldfinch 3,

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