Kennebunk Plains

By Seth Davis

Six young birders, including two new members (Jack and Weston) took to the plains this past Saturday despite the ominous forecast.  The evening began at 4:30 pm and we were greeted by a very vocal Northern Mocking bird mimicking the calls of cardinals, titmice, and Blue Jays.  Our goal was to see some of the less common sparrows including the state-endangered Grasshopper Sparrow,  as well as other notable birds like the state-endangered Upland Sandpipers, and Eastern Whip-poor-wills.  

We had an early success, with numerous Vesper Sparrows along the pathway, and we heard several Grasshopper Sparrow calls, though at the time we didn't get any solid views.  Seth spotted a bird that he was certain was a Grasshopper Sparrow, how ever Weston, being a very keen birder, pointed out that it was better for a Savannah Sparrow, and he was correct!  As we continued, a bird flew by that had a very "shorebirdy" profile.  Sure enough our first Upland Sandpiper!  It was a lifer for many!

We decided to move down toward the pond at the far side of the Kennebunk Plains.  We heard a Veery that was strangely close to the trail, several Common Yellowthroats, and a mystery bird that sounded an awful lot like a Eastern Wood-pewee, however it was too repetitive of a song to be confirmed.  

We continued around a loop and came upon a good sized patch of blueberries, so we decided to take a break and have a snack.  Around that time Weston got an excellent shot of a Grasshopper Sparrow and we were able to get it scoped, our first confirmed view!  

When we arrived back at the parking lot we had another break to eat some dinner/snacks and then ventured out again around dusk in hopes to hear some whip-poor-wills calling, but sadly they didn't start up.  

All-in-all it was a very successful trip, and outside of one small sprinkle, we didn't get rained out!  Some of the young birders reported that they had six lifers on the trip!  

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