by Marion Sprague
On Saturday November 17th, seven Maine Young Birders joined us at Fort Foster where our goal was to see some lingering passerines and our returning winter visitors. Before we even officially started our walk we were greeted by a Red-tailed Hawk that alighted in a tree just over the parking area.
We started our day along the road leading to the observation tower. As we walked through the marsh we saw a fantastic variety of sparrows including multiple Fox and Swamp Sparrows. These were not to be outdone by the White-throated, Savannah and Song Sparrows. Perhaps our best view was of one immature White-crowned Sparrow that seemed undeterred by our presence as it foraged along the path.
We continued our walk along the shore trials along Rocky and Windersurfer’s Beaches. Highlights included 1 Winter Wren flitting along the trees in the marsh, over 45 American Robins flying overhead in large groups, and 1 American Pipit seen by two members of the group. We tried to relocate the bird later in the day without success.
We picked up a great sample of Maine’s woodpeckers with 4 species including multiple Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers. On the walk back to the car for mid-morning snack break we saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker flying back and forth among the trees. Back at the car we could hear the tapping of what seemed to be a large woodpecker. We were thrilled when a Pileated Woodpecker poked its head out briefly.
After our break we ventured out to the pier, where despite some unfriendly winds we picked up 2 Red-necked Grebes, a few Purple Sandpipers and a mix of scoters, gulls, and ducks.
As with any trip we are happy to take a minute to pause for things other than birds. We had quite a mammal show including a red fox sunning itself on a log, a delightful red squirrel eating berries along the shore trial and a white-tailed deer that crossed the road only 15 feet from the group.
We had a total of 51 species to round out our day! We did manage to see a few late migrants including 1 Ruby-Crowned Kinglet and 1 Blackpoll Warbler. You can see our full list of birds here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49995980.
Stay tuned for our December trip announcement coming shortly. Happy birding!