|Paul Ippolito, Jeff and Dawn Fine, Dan Hueber, Diana Fruguglietti|
Though Birding is Fun all of the time, it becomes even more fun when you join a group of birders and go out birding together. Last fall I went to Plum Island on a Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp outing organized by the founder of the group, Dawn Fine. Birding with other birders is a different experience for me, because it is much more social and I don't always pay as much attention to the birds as I should! Most other birders are very friendly people and very helpful as well. With that many people and all of those eyes, I often see birds I would not have seen otherwise. Also, having more experienced birders around helps me to learn new birds and birding techniques.
|Fog over marsh at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge 1-1-11|
It was a dreary and foggy day over the marsh at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge last October 1, 2011, the day of our trip. The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is located on Plum Island, a barrier island off the coast of Massachusetts. There is a $5 admission fee to get into the refuge, or you can get in with a National Parks Pass or a Duck Stamp. Either way, it is well worth the trip and the fee. This is one of the premier birding sites in all of the east coast, and fog or not, we were going birding!
A few Forster's Terns were still hanging around...
...and egrets, both Great and Snowy were seen. The great egret is told from the snowy by the color of their legs and their beaks. Can you see the difference? The Great egret is not only bigger, it has a yellow beak and black legs. The snowy, though a bit smaller, is nonetheless more showy with it's gorgeous plumes during the breeding season. However, this was autumn and though it's plumes are gone you can tell it is different from the Great Egret because of its black beak with yellow lores in front of its eyes, and, if you could see it's feet, you would see that it's legs are black but its feet are yellow! Years ago another birder told me that you can tell it's a snowy because it has yellow boots on its feet for going out in the snow! I've never forgotten that.
|Dawn and Jeff Fine with Chris Ciccone|
These are just some of the people I met on this birding outing. You can tell they are serious birders!
|Dan Hueber, a.k.a. "Doc Forestal" and Jeff Fine|
|Eastern Towhee hiding in a tree|
There are so many birds on Plum Island because there are a wide variety of habitats, from ocean, to marshland, to river, and even a bit of forest. As a result, we saw quite few migrating warblers that day, but between the leaves and the fog none of my photos of them are very good, so you will just have to believe me!
|American Bittern emerges from the fog|
Down at the southernmost end of Plum Island is a place known as Sandy Point State Reservation. This is where the Parker River meets the Atlantic Ocean. On this beach you can often see so many shore birds and today was no exception!
|Dunlin and Sanderlings taking a nap|
We saw Ruddy Turnstones, sanderlings, dunlin, plovers and sandpipers; we saw gulls and terns.
|Chris Ciccone getting some serious pictures!|
|Common Tern with begging baby!|
We watched an adult common tern being chased up and down the sand by its begging chick.
|A cloud of Sanderlings!|
|Shorebirds coming in for a landing|
Though we were all a bit chilled by the time the day was done, we had so much fun. In the end, I personally counted 61 species of birds for the day and submitted 7 checklists to eBird. I added 2 species of birds to my Life List with Blackpoll warbler and Pectoral Sandpiper and 12 species to my Massachusetts Life List! Fog or not, it was a very productive day birding! Not only did I see numerous birds, but I met a lot of good birders and made new friends. This is what birding is all about. Birders who Blog, Tweet or Chirp is open to anyone interested in birds and birding. You can join the group on Facebook, or find a birding club in your own area. There are so many ways to enhance your bird watching and make it even more fun. So whether you join a group, go to a Bird Festival, or just feed the birds in your own backyard and watch them out the window, just remember that the main point of all of this is to enjoy the birds and Have Fun!
|As Dawn Fine would say, "Come Join the Fun!"|
You can read about my other outing with the Birders who Blog, Tweet and Chirp on Kathie's Birds