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!
See our full checklist here: https://ebird.org/me/view/checklist/S46751361