As part of the Massachusetts Audbon's Birdathon, I started birding at 5am (in 40 degree rainy weather) in Gardner, hitting a few familiar stops to pickup some territorial birds, before poking along to the Newburyport area. This would be sort of "a leisurely" big day affair, as I stopped back at home, for coffee, after birding near Lake Wompanoag (where I managed my only Canada Warbler of the day). In my back yard I had Magnolia, Parula, Chestnut-sided, Black and White and Wilson's Warblers but missed the Ruby-crowned Kinglet that had been in the apple trees for a few days.
Great Meadow's Refuge in Concord was fairly quiet, no rails, but I picked up Hooded Merganser and Cliff Swallow. At Hanscom Airport in Bedford was a distant Meadowlark, but no Upland Sandpiper...so I was off to the Newburyport area. I had hoped that the massive fallout of passerines would still be lingering on Plum Island, but it turned out I had more warblers in my backyard than I'd tallied on the island during the day. There were some nice birds on the island today...American Avocet, Common Moorhen, Sora, Roseate Terns, White-rumped Sandpipers and White-crowned Sparrows and on the way off the island was a Whimbrel opposite the Plum Island airfield.
Oak Hill Cemetery, in Newburyport, had a nice assortment of songbirds including Blackpoll and Bay-breasted Warblers , and a few Swainson's Thrushes. I picked up a few "cheap birds" I'd missed during the day such as Flicker and White-breasted Nuthatch.
There were 4 Wilson's Phalaropes in the pool opposite Pikul's Farm, off Rte 1A in Rowley and a fly over Glossy Ibis, but no Orchard Orioles. I was fortunate to have a Green Heron fly over the car as I headed toward Ipswich. On the drive out to Great Neck, in Ipswich, as the birdathon 6PM deadline approached, I couldn't help but think about all the "easy stuff" I had missed during the day.... Blue-gray Gnatcatcher , Eastern Bluebird, Winter and Carolina Wrens, Great-crested Flycatcher and Purple Finch (to name a few)....but the Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Below) was a great surprise at 5:30PM that was feeding 100 feet off Jeffery's Neck Road.
There were very good numbers of Northern Parula, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue Warblers, in the few thickets I stopped at, on Great Neck but I was unable to add any more new species before the 6 PM birdathon deadline. I did add Orchard Oriole, Purple Sandpiper and Laughing Gull, in Manchester for the day list. List totals were 136 species for the birdathon (6PM friday to 6PM Saturday) and 133 species for the day.
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron
Great Black-backed Gull
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
**Species seen/heard friday 5/18 night during the Birdathon but not on 5/19: were Amercian Bittern, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Woodcock, Common Nighthawk, Hairy Woodpecker and Horned Lark. All from the Gardner Airport, in Templeton, Ma. Also, was another American bittern at High Ridge WMA in Gardner.