Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1: Summer marsh

This morning I visited Scarborough Marsh with my bird guide friend Derek in hopes of seeing a couple of unusual birds that have been reported there recently: Black-necked Stilt and Seaside Sparrow, both of which breed south of Maine. IF&W biologists were out in the marsh with mist nets carrying out some sort of bird research--as luck would have it, right where the stilt has been hanging out, so we had no hope of seeing that bird, but we watched and waited for the sparrow.

As we stood on Eastern Road, all around us many Nelson's Sparrows sang their odd song, a drawn-out spshhh that sounds just like water dropped into a hot frying pan--appropriate for a humid morning. Blackbirds tooted in the reeds. Sun began to disperse the fog lingering over Pine Point, and darker clouds portending afternoon rain rolled in from the west. Here and there white egrets feed silently in the pannes, while Willets startled up from their nests, flashing the white crescents on their wings. Along the edge of the trail, wild roses perfumed the salty air. A Glossy Ibis flew overhead.

Our patience paid off. Derek eventually spotted a Seaside Sparrow singing not too far off in the marsh. I picked up on the song and eventually got some very good looks at this life bird. Not a bad start to my morning. Then I had to rush north to get in a half day's work.

Anxious Willets flush
from marshy pockets, crying.
That kind of morning.

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