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July 6, 2013

Green heron nest highlights July 4th birding

On this holiday weekend, I thought that I would share with you again a July 4th birding adventure that happened six years ago to friend and fellow birder, Doug Chickering of Groveland, as only Doug can tell it:

“As is our custom, Lois Cooper and I went out on our Independence Day sweep. This birding day is a tradition we have observed since we have been together, and something I have been doing since before that. We adhere to the Marquis of Queensbury rules (i.e., we have to actually see a bird to count it) and therefore the numbers are not as impressive as others we have seen for this time of year posted on this forum. By the end of the day, we had seen 73 species. Not a record for us, but quite respectable. Even though the dust on the Plum Island road south of Hellcat was inconvenient and the beach weasels a little annoying, the day had some real good birds and one absolutely extraordinary event.

“We had a black-billed cuckoo cross the road at Plum Island just north of the S curves and perch at the edge for a real good look. We heard and saw the alder flycatcher across from Cross Farm Hill and saw an absolutely incandescent male Baltimore oriole visiting a nest in a cherry tree at the edge of the road just north of Cross Farm Hill. We had nice long looks at a beautifully marked adult least bittern prowling the edge of the North Pool along the dike side and were surprised to find a female orchard oriole at Hellcat near the parking lot. In Groveland, we found a pair of common ravens tearing apart some former creature on the old weedy parking area at Strawberry Fields.

“However, the event of the day took place off island, in Newbury. Earlier in the year we had seen two green herons at Ice House Pond that drew my interest because I had been told by someone whose opinion I trust that green heron had nested there last year. It is in my Atlas Block so I have visited here more than once this year. I have carefully searched the trees at the edge of the water looking for a nest, and did so again today. All to no avail. We had actually come over to see if we could find a black-crowned night heron, for we had seen a juvenile here recently.

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