Trip Report – First Thursday Walk – Milford Point – Sept 1, 2016

On a rainy September 1st Thursday morning at Milford Point, ten weather-defying birders headed out
to the main sandbar, targeting especially its western end, to search for migrating shorebirds. On the
way out we found a singing Marsh Wren that posed nicely in the Spartina near the beach. More
entertainment was provided by at least 4 juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Herons hunting at the
Spartina edges. Small numbers of Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers (mainly
juveniles), and Sanderling were scattered on the main sandbar’s southern edge, and a few hundred
Tree Swallows passed heading west, but the far western fugitive sandbars (sandbars that are tidal
and disappear with every high tide) had our sought-after migrants in good numbers and variety. We
counted 52 American Oystercatchers (they gather here each fall before migration) and around 125
Black-bellied Plovers. Mixed in were 4 Short-billed Dowitchers , 2 juvenile Red Knots, 6 Ruddy
Turnstone, and 2 American Golden Plover. After we found a first Golden Plover, a rather uniform
brown-buff bird with small bill and dovish head–a good contrast to the adjacent Blackbellied
Plovers–we were alerted by Frank Mantlik, who was scoping the sandbars from
Short Beach in Stratford, to the presence of an adult with with dark back and under parts
dark from neck to vent, a dark cap with a striking white supercilium and descending white
line down the side of its face and neck. On our return, made exciting by a water hazard
created by the inrushing tide washing over part of the sandbar, we were treated to the sight
and sound of a pair of dueling Peregrine Falcons. Not bad for a rainy morning.

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