Checklist S69134759

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Owner Marshall Iliff

  • 1
  • 1.3 mi
Checklist Comments

When I arrived there was light mist and a bit of drizzle and it was chilly. I was feeling optimistic that this was it, and hearing a Blackburnian and Nashville out the window when I arrived helped my optimism. When I parked there was no obvious morning flight, so I walked back to check on the Blackburnian. That took just five minutes and when I got back to the entrance gate it was immediately obvious that birds were starting to use the flight line I had hoped for: movement W along the vegetation of the beach and then a jump across the gap of the parking lot, or fly along the marsh edge of the causeway on the E side. Both give very quick chances to identify them. Unfortunately the fight quickly went from 5-10 birds per minutes to many dozens, which rapidly became overwhelming. I tried to use a clicker and binoculars, but also had a camera (which I never could swing up in time) and the phone to record numbers. Most birds gave little more than 2-4 seconds to identify them and packets of warblers rapidly increased to groups of 20-40. while many were most or all Myrtles, from what I saw and heard, who knows what I missed. There were three main flight lines: low (across parking lot jumping from one veg patch to the next), high moving W along the beach strand and then high along road or overhead, and distant (taking "normal" cut straight across marsh to south. This latter was most active late as it started to clear. The flight was super hot from 5:40-6:20, with almost 1000 warblers in that period. But then is slowed abruptly and the next hours was just a trickle of a few at a time.

I am not sure why the flight started and ended so abruptly. Perhaps these were all birds grounded on the sandspit itself rather than birds moving across from Cape Ann. This surprised me a bit, since I initially visited this site expecting birds to move in reorientation flight along the north/west side of Cape Ann and across the channel from the Annisquam Yacht Club. I did not see any birds taking this flight line and could not identify a flight line of birds coming from Cape Ann.

WEATHER: Strong migration behind warm front overnight, but frontal boundary with associated thunderstorms swept across region from sw. Massachusetts to Cape Ann overnight, bringing strong wind, thunderstorms, and periods of heavy rain to Dedham around 9:30pm. Radar indicated lots of birds moving within and between squall lines and areas of heavy rain, which is probably the best predictor of spring fallout and maybe fast moving storms like this are a key factor in major offshore transport (e.g., to Cape Cod). Conditions were good when I left, with light drizzle and moderately low ceiling, but improved further n Cape Ann where ground level mist was associated with the coast. This lifted quickly (e.g., by 6:30) and may have been a factor in the change in the flight; by 7:30 winds had picked up and were 10-15 mph from NW.

Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 2.1.5


  1. Number observed: 2

    Details: heard distantly

  2. Number observed: 1
  3. Number observed: 5

    Details: *interesting flock of five that flew towards me from marshes and then continued on to fly N or NNW out over the ocean towards Plum Island; seemed to be migrants, although this seems like a late date for migration in the species; ph

  4. Number observed: 2

    Details: pair on rocks off mouth of Lobster Cove

    Breeding Code: P Pair in Suitable Habitat (Probable)
  5. Number observed: 2
  6. Number observed: 7

    Details: including 4 high-fliers over the Annisquam heading S

  7. Number observed: 1
    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  8. Number observed: 7

    Details: migrating along strand on same flight line as warblers

  9. Number observed: 35

    Details: large flock in flooded marshes, counted carefully in marshes S of tip of spit

  10. Number observed: 6

    Details: a couple small groups flying around

  11. Number observed: 1

    Details: breeding plumaged bird in with Black-bellied Plovers; my first here

  12. Number observed: 5

    Details: continuing group, this time on rocks to west of river mouth

  13. Number observed: 12
  14. Number observed: 8

    Details: one flock flew in with a few Lesser Yellowlegs, landed, and then continued on west; pewsonal FOY and my first here

  15. Number observed: 3

    Details: two migrants in morning flight heading W and one flushed from marsh panne that later continued W

  16. Number observed: 10

    Details: a few groups flying around as marshes were flooded

  17. Number observed: 4
    Breeding Code: C Courtship, Display, or Copulation (Probable)
  18. Number observed: 9
  19. Number observed: 5
  20. Number observed: 45
  21. Number observed: 2
  22. Number observed: 12
  23. Number observed: 3

    Details: confirmed that birds were cutting overland / up the Annisquam today; first a loner and then two birds flying NW over land after presumably moving north up Annisquam; still not fully "in" here so these seemed like clear arriving migrants; ph

  24. Number observed: 1

    Details: flying high offshore; basic plumage

  25. Number observed: 5

    Details: migrants over land moving NW; much lower numbers than recent visits

    Breeding Code: F Flyover (Observed)
  26. Number observed: 3

    Details: offshore; did not scan out there much

  27. Number observed: 30

    Details: low number of birds migrating NW

  28. Number observed: 1
  29. Number observed: 4
  30. Number observed: 1

    Details: adult; in marshes just S of tip of spit

  31. Number observed: 1

    Details: *rare; surprising bird seen distantly to south flying over treetops and heading S or SW. I got it in the scope and was able to watch for 20 sec and see a cold brown night-heron with legs tucked but trailing well past tail, neck that looked a bit S-curved(not hunched into shouldered as much as Black-crowned) and bill that looked quite thick on a blocky head. The plumage was a worn SY bird and th contrast between flight feathers and coverts was less than I expected. These are easy to identify in flight based on silhouette though and this bird also did not look as pale brown and tawny as a Black-crowned would. Not sure if this is a local bird or arrival as part of the weather event. Fun to see anyway and my overdue first for the state in May.

  32. Number observed: 1
  33. Number observed: 1
  34. Number observed: 1
  35. Number observed: 2
  36. Number observed: 1

    Details: heard giving one loud "peek" call by grassy parking lot; rare here?

  37. Number observed: 2
  38. Number observed: 1

    Details: heard singing

  39. Number observed: 1

    Details: singing from neighborhood

    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  40. Number observed: 1

    Details: in low morning flight across parking lot

  41. Number observed: 8

    Details: 3 residents, 5 in high morning flight

  42. Number observed: 2

    Details: both in low morning flight across parking lot

  43. Number observed: 9

    Details: about half in morning flight along parking lot

  44. Number observed: 8
  45. Number observed: 5
  46. Number observed: 3
  47. Number observed: 1
  48. Number observed: 8
  49. Number observed: 1

    Details: flew up from south

  50. Number observed: 15
  51. Number observed: 1

    Details: in low morning flight across parking lot

  52. Number observed: 1

    Details: stream valley; male

  53. Number observed: 3

    Details: all three in morning flight

  54. Number observed: 2
    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  55. Number observed: 7
    Breeding Code: CF Carrying Food (Confirmed)
  56. Number observed: 12
    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  57. Number observed: 2

    Details: including the one bird that mimics an Eastern Whip-poor-will

    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  58. Number observed: 3
    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  59. Number observed: 1

    Details: calling by entrance gate at first arrival; continuing bird here?

  60. Number observed: 4
  61. Number observed: 12

    Details: surprisingly absent; NW winds pushing them away?

  62. Number observed: 2

    Details: *uncommon in spring; widely separated birds heard giving ‘sip’ and ‘sip-pit’ flight calls high overhead as they moved W

  63. Number observed: 1
  64. Number observed: 10

    Details: no obvious movement

  65. Number observed: 3
    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  66. Number observed: 2

    Details: one singing, one likely migrant feeding near White-crowneds

  67. Number observed: 2

    Details: adults made morning flight crossing of parking lot and then fed along brush edges by entrance station

  68. Number observed: 1

    Details: heard; not prevalent today

  69. Number observed: 1

    Details: heard singing in the phragmites at the exact spot I had a Nelson's Sparrow earlier in the month; seen well, showing dark malar, dense dark streaking across breast and down flanks, long bill, and whitish belly; presumably a breeder here, but tis was maybe a migrant?

  70. Number observed: 4

    Details: no obvious migration unlike other visits

  71. Number observed: 9
    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  72. Lincoln's/Swamp Sparrow

    Number observed: 3

    Details: buzzy flight notes from dense brush as they moved along the causeway; likely Lincoln’s

  73. Number observed: 4
    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  74. Number observed: 32

    Details: multiple flocks flying overhead heading W, up to about 12 birds

  75. Number observed: 1

    Details: heard singing

    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  76. Number observed: 6

    Details: two locals and about 4 in morning flight

  77. Number observed: 25

    Details: not as prevalent in movement than recent dates

  78. Number observed: 8
  79. Number observed: 12
  80. Number observed: 4

    Details: thre signing, one made morning flight jump low across parking lot

  81. Number observed: 5

    Details: singing and calling; none noticed in morning flight, surprisingly

  82. Number observed: 9

    Details: most in morning flight

  83. Number observed: 5

    Details: all in morning flight, with two seen well in trees after jump

  84. Number observed: 7

    Details: probably many more in thickets; these were all right around parking lot including one that made what seemed like a low morning flight jump across the parking lot

  85. Number observed: 1

    Details: amazingly low; high morning flight

  86. Number observed: 1

    Details: lower than expected; identified by flight call in high morning flight

  87. Number observed: 41

    Details: minimum count in morning flight, including both high and low (across parking lot); easily identified by flight call under these conditions, so I don't think I missed many; note that this is very different from the ratios on Cape Cod, where parula outnumbered Myrtle.

  88. Number observed: 1

    Details: stream valley

  89. Number observed: 1

    Details: ad male in morning flight; fewer than expected

  90. Number observed: 2

    Details: one singing in trees when I arrived and another adult male in beauttful high morning flight

  91. Number observed: 7

    Details: locals

    Breeding Code: S Singing Bird (Possible)
  92. Number observed: 1

    Details: adult male in high morning flight

  93. Number observed: 4

    Details: 3 males in high morning flight and one female in low morning flight

  94. Number observed: 775

    Details: *high; careful count of birds identified visually and by flight calls (checks and seeps) as they established the main morning flight streams, almost evently distributed between the low line and the high line; peak flight 5:35-6:20 slowed 620 to reasonable flow

  95. Number observed: 1

    Details: high morning flight

  96. Number observed: 4

    Details: low morning flight, with one in high morning flight

  97. Number observed: 1

    Details: high morning flight

  98. warbler sp. (Parulidae sp.)

    Number observed: 485

    Details: *high; careful tally using clicker for low numbers and estimating large flocks right in the app; surely more than 90% Myrtles (from the distant high flight line) though this was also used for known non-Myrtles that I could not get to species

  99. Number observed: 1
  100. Number observed: 2

    Details: singing near entrance gate

  101. Number observed: 3

    Details: all in high morning flight