#357: Alder Flycatcher at Schoodic Point

This morning I arose at an almost leisurely 4:00 A.M. to accompany the ABA Bus B to Schoodic Point. Unfortunately it was raining; fortunately not too much to send the birds running for cover. I put on my waterproof boots and red poncho, and headed out of the bus into the rain.

There weren’t a lot of birds around but we did find enough to make it worthwhile. At the first stop we had Chipping Sparrow, Common Eider, Common Loon, Herring Gull, Magnolia Warbler, Northern Parula, American Crow, Black Guillemot, and Black-throated Green Warbler.

I’m sorry I don’t know exactly where we were most of the time, but at the second stop up a gravel road we found Winter Wren, American Robin, Common Raven, and Alder Flycatcher, my first life bird of the day. The trip leaders were using iPod recordings to try to attract birds with some small success. However, more than anything else it just made it hard fro the rest of us to tell what was a real bird calling and was the iPod. (It was a largish group, maybe three dozen people.)

The third stop near the ball field was the most scenic. The rain had calmed down quite a bit, and a short hike through the spruce woods brought us out to some gorgeous views. Not as many birds but we did see more Common Eider and some Double-Crested Cormorants and Black Guillemots.

The fourth stop was somewhere we could really scope the ocean. The weather had pushed in some Manx Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Northern Gannets, Common Terns, and a lone Razorbill. (Unlike the Razorbills on Tuesday’s pelagic, this one looked like Razorbills are supposed to look: a dark flying dot in the distance barely seen through a scope.)

We made one more stop looking for Palm Warbler in a bog, but we were unsuccessful. Possibly we had a Black-and-white Warbler; but possibly it was just the iPod again. I don’t know. No Palm Warblers were seen so we quickly left to make one final stop at a small local airfield about 40 minutes away where we hoped for Upland Sandpiper.

The airfield was similar to Floyd Bennett Field: not quite abandoned but not fully operational either. Apparently it’s used for blueberry farming and crop dusting. It also stunk like the East Pond at Jamaica Bay in July. It looked like we were going to whiff this bird, though it had been seen on the two previous expeditions this week. However halfway down the airstrip, someone spotted one taking off. False alarm: it was a Killdeer. But then the Killdeer was immediately joined by one, then two, then three and four Upland sandpipers. They were still half a mile away at least so we drove down to the end of the runway for better looks. The comparison with the Killdeers that were in the air at the same time were helpful. I didn’t get great looks at this bird, but they were good enough to count. #358 and my 12th life bird for the convention.

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