Saturday, April 29, 2017

Brig 4/29--Gull-billed Tern, Chimney Swift, Great-crested Flycatcher

Gull-billed Terns
Larry: What do you wanna do today?
Shari: I dunno, what do you wanna do today?
Larry: I dunno, what do you wanna do today?

So we went to Brig. Can't go wrong going to Brig, even on a day when the parking lot is crammed because the refuge is having a combination Migration Celebration/Refuge Clean-up event.  But once we got out on the dikes all was normal. We had shorebirds, but not in the big numbers I had yesterday at Heislerville. They were scattered around in two's and three's mostly, except for big flocks of Dunlins. But even the Dunlins only numbered in the hundreds instead of the thousands like yesterday.

We were about a half-way to the observation tower on the south dike when we started to get interesting birds on the sand bar that terns like to roost on. It had a good number of Black Skimmers (always a fun bird), a couple of Caspian Terns, Forster's Terns, and our first Gull-billed Terns of the year. These seemed a bit early but I don't know if they really are. I also re-found the long-staying Black-headed Gull there and excitedly called Shari over to see it in the scope. I was so proud to get here this rarity until she deflated me by reminding me that she'd seen plenty of them in Iceland in March.
Black-headed Gull
Beyond that we didn't see much that was notable. An American Oystercatcher was sitting on its scratched out nest off the drive, "protected" by orange traffic cones, so that made Shari happy.  On the upland section we heard a "weep!" and recorded our first Great-crested Flycatcher of the year. And after lunch, we looked up from the picnic tables to see a single Chimney Swift fly around for a moment or two.

On our second go-round Shari almost ran over a silly Snow Goose that wandered onto the drive (we only saw one other swimming at the dogleg--a month ago there were thousands) and on the upland section a hen turkey pranced across the road.
Snow Goose

Wild Turkey
We spent most of the day there and left with a list of 74
Snow Goose 2 one on south dike, one at dogleg
Brant 125
Canada Goose 100 some on nests, some already with goslings
Mute Swan 1
Wood Duck 2 Gull Pond
Mallard 4
Ruddy Duck 10
Wild Turkey 1 Upland section
Double-crested Cormorant 60
Great Blue Heron 4
Great Egret 10
Snowy Egret 4
Glossy Ibis 25
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 20
Northern Harrier 2
Bald Eagle 1 F/O Gull Pond
Clapper Rail 2 Heard
American Oystercatcher 1
Black-bellied Plover 10
Semipalmated Plover 10
Whimbrel 2
Dunlin 310
Least Sandpiper 55
Semipalmated Sandpiper 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 10
Solitary Sandpiper 1 Gull Pond
Greater Yellowlegs 8
Willet 12
Lesser Yellowlegs 5
Black-headed Gull 1
Laughing Gull 50
Ring-billed Gull 1
Herring Gull 100
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Gull-billed Tern 6 Probably more, but they were moving around
Caspian Tern 2
Forster's Tern 50
Black Skimmer 20
Mourning Dove 3
Chimney Swift 1
Peregrine Falcon 1 hacking tower
Eastern Phoebe 1 Heard, picnic area
Great Crested Flycatcher 1 Heard, "weep" upland section
White-eyed Vireo 1 Heard, exit of drive
Blue Jay 2
Fish Crow 3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Purple Martin 10
Tree Swallow 7
Barn Swallow 1
Carolina Chickadee 3
Tufted Titmouse 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1 Upland section
Carolina Wren 2 Heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1 Heard, picnic area
Eastern Bluebird 2
American Robin 1 Heard, picnic area
Gray Catbird 6
Ovenbird 1 Heard, upland section
Common Yellowthroat 8
Yellow Warbler
3 Heard
Seaside Sparrow 4
Chipping Sparrow 3
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 2
Eastern Towhee 3
Northern Cardinal 3
Indigo Bunting 4 3 near visitor's center, one on RR bed trail
Red-winged Blackbird 50
Boat-tailed Grackle 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 1 Heard, upland section
House Finch 1 Feeders

House Wren

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