News & Notes

Trip Report: Kennebunk Plains Bird Walk 05.29.13

Friday, May 31st, 2013
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The past week of cool rain feels a long way off since this heat wave moved up the coast and into Maine! The trip last Wednesday to Kennebunk Plains had a handful of intrepid birders slogging through that rain and periods of fog in search of any bird who would present itself.

Kennebunk Plains

The word used most often was “vexing” and this was due to the birds staying at a “scope’s distance” or simply behind cover. If the bird gave us a look, binoculars would often make something out but the 30x scope helped us sight in on many of the species we saw that day.

The prairie warblers barely showed themselves and like many birding trips it took patience and some creeping around to get a good look. The Grasshopper Sparrow presented itself and cooperated but only at an extreme distance. We were all delighted to watch him sing his buzzy notes over and over through the scope. We watched an Upland Sandpiper fly farther away, land and give us a great look through the scope as well.

In the woods we were all in awe of the song of the Veery, if you haven’t heard a Veery sing their resonating, double fluted like song go listen to it now at Cornell’s All About Birds page for the Veery!

The highlight however was a life-bird for all of us—even our staff naturalist Mike Windsor—a Clay-colored Sparrow. They are infrequent visitors in Maine and as we emerged from the wooded trail we heard a distinct insect-like buzz, stronger and more resonant than a grasshopper sparrow. You can listen to one on National Audubon’s Bird site »

You can see them all in the slideshow below, just click on one to get started.

Species List

  • Red-tailed Hawk
  • Upland Sandpiper
  • American Kestrel
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Great Crested Flycatcher
  • Eastern Kingbird
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • Blue Jay
  • Tree Swallow
  • Veery
  • Gray Catbird
  • Ovenbird
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Prairie Warbler
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Field Sparrow
  • Vesper Sparrow
  • Grasshopper Sparrow
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Eastern Meadowlark
  • American Goldfinch