Gray Catbird photo from www.tringa.org
Leo Kulinski, Jr. from http://www.whalesandwolves.com/
Least Sandpiper photo from http://www.tringa.org/
Killdeer photo from www.gpnc.org
This past Saturday, 7/23/11, 6 intrepid souls braved hot, humid weather, a million mosquitoes, and thousands of Deer Flies to go on an adventure around the Little Pond Boardwalk with me from 6 p.m. until dark. We went in from the end of S. Lake St. on the boardwalk connector. Gray Catbirds were abundant along this stretch, as well as along much of the main boardwalk. Many of them were feeding fledglings. Large numbers of adult and juvenile American Robins and adult Cedar Waxwings were also found in these places dominated by berry-producing bushes. When we got to the main boardwalk we turned left and followed it clockwise around the pond. The east side produced the aforementioned species and other common birds. The south side, especially near Sutton's Bridge, produced lots of Swamp Sparrows with fledglings, an Alder Flycatcher, a couple of Willow Flycatchers, a pair of very feisty Eastern Kingbirds with fledglings, 16 flyover Killdeer, a fly-over Wood Duck and Pileated Woodpecker, a Fish Crow, a Muskrat, and a juvenile Northern Leopard Frog. Bird life along the west side mirrored that found along the east side. The north side produced the most action, as it always does. With my spotting scope we watched a hen Common Merganser with 4 young feeding out in the Pond, and 9 Killdeer, a Spotted Sandpiper, 4 Semipalmated Sandpipers, and 4 Least Sandpipers feeding in the mud between the Bantam River's inlet and outlet. Right along the boardwalk we saw more Willow and Alder Flycatchers, Eastern Kingbirds, Cedar Waxwings, and Swamp Sparrows, plus 5 Marsh Wrens and a Purple Finch. We heard a juvenile Virginia Rail calling from the big patch of sedge hummocks, but didn't see it. Two Great Blue Herons kept a respectable distance between each other along the Pond's shoreline. At dusk a total of 5 Beavers traversed various parts of the pond. At that point we exited to S. Lake St., hot, sweaty, and bit-up, but satisfied to have seen and/or heard 51 species of birds plus plenty of other wildlife and plants. All-in-all it was a successful and educational field trip.