Thursday, March 31, 2016

Great Bay Blvd 3/31--Little Blue Heron

The last day of the month was blustery and not ideal for walking along the Herring Gull Bombing Range (for almost the entire 5 mile ride I heard my tires crunching mussel and clam shells dropped by the birds to break them open), but I did score one fine FOY for the month at my first stop, the new bulwark just after the first bridge. I spotted a white heron in the marshes and my first reaction was that it was a Snowy Egret, but upon getting the scope on it, I saw that it didn't have any of the field marks for Snowy. Rather, its beak was grayish, as were its legs, and small, dark blotches were appearing on its wings. It was a juvenile ("first spring" in Sibley) Little Blue Heron.  I didn't feel comfortable with that i.d. until I looked it up in Sibley's guide and saw that immature birds retain their white plumage into April and start to change into blue adult plumage in April. March 31st is close enough. That bird was my 150th species of the year.

Despite the wind I took my long walk from the inlet up to the first wooden bridge and back and found many Great Egrets. Shorebirds were scarce--one Greater Yellowlegs and a couple of very noisy American Oystercatchers.
Great Egret

American Oystercatchers

 And I only saw one Osprey on a nest, which I found puzzling since a couple of weeks ago there were a few in the area. Some of the platforms had Great Black-backed Gulls standing on them. By now I would have thought that the birds would be busy building their nest.

Not only was this my last outing for the month, but it will be my last trip in the United States for the next couple of weeks--Shari & I are going to Trinidad & Tobago to fulfill a long-time desire of mine of visiting the Asa Wright Nature Center and to bird the island guided by Kim Risen with whom we did our Minnesota trip last year. So there probably won't be any posts here until mid-April when, with luck, many photos of life birds will appear.

The last list of the month:
23 species
Brant  200
American Black Duck  4
Mallard  2
Bufflehead  7
Red-breasted Merganser  12
Common Loon  2
Horned Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  4
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  16     scattered throughout the marshes
Little Blue Heron  1     
Osprey  1     
American Oystercatcher  2     boat launch before 5th bridge
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Herring Gull  100
Great Black-backed Gull  10
Mourning Dove  1
Tree Swallow  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Song Sparrow  10
Northern Cardinal  1     Heard
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Boat-tailed Grackle  100

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