Carden Alvar Nature Board by Bob BowlesBirds, what else ?

Good day all.

Yesterday Tuesday, July 3rd Ian Cannell took Jay Peterson and I up to the Carden Alvar at Kirkfield for a beautiful, mostly sunny day of birding without Mosquitoes and tons of unidentified Butterflies and despite the lack of Warbler song and Waterfowl species we did come up with 91 species for the day.

High lights for us were family groups of Loggerhead Shrikes, Brown Thrashers and Clay-colored Sparrows, juvenile Virginia Rail, and juveniles of most of the 10 Sparrow species we found and of course it is always nice to see Osprey nestlings.

We were very surprised to find Clay-colored Sparrows in 3 areas where none have been seen by the three of us in the past as well as the usual places and we did find 2 new areas of Sedge Wrens (singles heard). The great thing was that virtually all of the 10 Sparrow species were still on territory and singing (lots of song all day) and we also observed an Upland Sandpiper in display flight while calling and circling a small area. We also noticed that the Grackles and Bobolinks are now forming post breeding flocks. We found 2 flocks of Bobolinks with one of about 40 birds and one of about 25 birds. The male breeding plumage is fading away and in the flocks were many females and the juveniles if they sat long enough were easy to identify. When we saw a Brown Thrasher we usually saw 2 to 4 of them including juvenile birds. One of the best thing with the Sparrows is the fact that we had great up close looks of them as a lot of the adults and juveniles sat on fence wires very close to us. As I said up front a beautiful day for birding.

Following are some of the high lights of our trip.

Green Heron, American Bitterns, 13 Osprey including 5 nests with a total of 6 chicks seen, Wild Turkey, Virginia Rails including a chick, Common Moorhens, Sandhill Cranes, 18 Upland Sandpipers, some juveniles, Common Loons, 5 Black-billed Cuckoos, 3 within feet of us, 6 Common Nighthawks also close up as they chased each other, Whip-poor-wills, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Belted Kingfishers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, 7 Flycatcher species including Eastern Wood-Pewees, 6 Alder Flycatchers, Willow and Great-crested Flycatchers, Eastern Phoebes, and 93 Eastern Kingbirds (undercounted), Common Ravens, 6 Loggerhead Shrikes, 16 eastern Bluebirds, 8 Veerys, Wood Thrushes, Northern Mockingbird, 29 Brown Thrashers, 5 Sedge Wrens, Marsh and House Wrens, Purple Finches, Northern Waterthrushes, 76 Savannah Sparrows (undercounted), 24 Grasshopper Sparrows, 41 Chipping Sparrows, 19 Clay-colored Sparrows, 8 Field Sparrows, 26 Vesper Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, 78 eastern Meadowlarks (undercounted), 89 Bobolinks, and 92 American Goldfinches (undercounted).

We also found Milk Snake, Northern Water Snake, Painted and Blandings Turtles, White-tailed Deer, Muskrat and lots of Green Frogs but sadly missed Black Bear and I was hoping for Pocupine but no luck.

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