Sunday, May 19, 2019

Wheeler Marsh Bird Check

I set out with S into the Wheeler Marsh for a short distance trip of bird observations.  The tide was very high as we started and the usual delineations of land and water were well submerged.  It was overcast and near 70 degrees with a light wind out of the south.

The spartina has barely begun to grow, so views were long.  The numerous swans stood out, the unnesting ones contained to a certain territory by the two or three pairs of more aggressive nesting swans (I know where two nests are, but I suspect a third).

We headed up to Milford point noting a large number of Brandts in scattered flocks.  There calls gave them away without resorting to binoculars.  At the point we came across an odd colored duck and it took me awhile to figure it out once we got home.  The orange eye helped ID it as a nonbreeding female Long Tailed Duck.  They winter here in the sound and I did not expect to see one in May.
Nonbreeding female Long Tail Duck
From there, we headed out onto where Nell's Island should've been, searching for any high spots of ground where the wading birds would be collected waiting for the tide to drop. 
Some Black Bellied Plover and a bunch of Dunlin
Heading up river over the top of the island we stopped to watch a pair of Swans fortifying their nest by grabbing mouthfuls of floating grass and adding it to the pile.
Swans sprucing up their nest
I spotted the root ball Osprey nest that I first saw last year.  It is in use again and looks fine.  It is in a cleft that comes off of the main river channel.  All of the Osprey are looking good and I still think that there are more in the marsh than in previous years.

We rounded the top of the marsh and paddled out.

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