The object of yesterday's foray was to visit Poplar Island with a group put together by Jim Green. There were certain handicaps to be overcome. First was the torrential rain which disappeared for most of the day. Second, the boat was not operating and a substitute had to be used. Third, the bus on the island was not functioning either and we had to travel around in two vans. Fourth, it was rather buggy. Many mosquitoes died, but blood was shed on both sides. Fifth, there was work going on in areas we would have liked to get to, but Jan Reese was present to direct us to the best areas for shorebirds. All in all it was a great day with great birds.
I traveled with Ed Boyd and Jim Stasz to Blackwalnut Point early in the morning just as the rain stopped. We met more of the group there. There were few migrant songbirds but a calling Alder Flycatcher was notable, the first I have ever positively identified in the fall. I counted 53 Ospreys in sight at one time, mostly on pound nets offshore. Jim and Ed saw one Black Tern.
Poplar Island birds:
Among the many Mallards were Black Ducks, Shovelers, and both teal. One Brown Pelican was seen offshore and many Double-crested Cormorants. There were Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, and three Black-crowned Night-Herons. Ospreys were everywhere and an adult Bald Eagle also hung around. Shorebird highlights were two Wilson's Phalaropes, at least two White-rumped Sandpipers, two Stilt Sandpipers, and a Western Willet. Among the many hundreds of Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers were small numbers of Spotted Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, and Short-billed Dowitchers. Single Black-bellied Plover and Pectoral Sandpiper were also seen. At one point an apparent Piping Plover was heard calling overhead and four fly-by sandpipers called liked Baird's Sandpipers. Most of the gulls were Great Black-backs. Among the hundreds of Common Terns were many Forster's, four Caspians, and two Blacks. Purple Martins, Tree, Bank, and Barn Swallows were actively feeding. I may have
overlooked some birds. If anyone has more to add please chip in. Thanks to the MES staff at Poplar Island, Jan Reese, Jim Green, and everyone on the trip who contributed their vision and expertise. We had a great time.