Saturday, March 30 enticed only 6 participants to take in my annual Rhode Island trip. Surprising since it was a nice day for birding with temps in the 50s. We got off to a great start with the long continuing Snowy Owl flying around, on the ground and perching on the roof of the visitor center! We began our walk hiking the trail near the ocean where we soon encountered several species of waterfowl including Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes and Common Eiders. We also spotted a flock of about 25 Purple Sandpipers affording excellent looks as they fed on the rocks. Further along we saw a large number of Black Scoters, the usual Harlequin Ducks, one lone Long Tailed Duck which for some reason we rarely see on this trip, 2 flyby American Oystercatchers, several Horned Grebes in transitional plumage and an even better Red Necked Grebe! In fact I had commented that we sometimes see this species and within seconds there he was!
Our next and final stop after having visited Sachuest Point N W R was the other great refuge Trustrom Pond N W R. The feeders were empty which is unusual but never the less we added to the passerine list with audio Eastern Phoebe and seen were Black Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White Throated Sparrow, Dark Eyed Junco. Northern Cardinal and Brown Headed Cowbird. It was slow going after leaving the parking lot/feeders area until we spied a couple of Golden Crowned Kinglets, 2 Gray Catbirds and a male Eastern Towhee. The latter two species we usually miss on this trip. Further along we encountered a large raft of ducks where we added Gadwall, American Wigeon, 3 Green Winged Teals, 2 Canvasbacks, 4 Redheads, both scaup and a drake Ruddy Duck in full breeding plumage. This brought our duck count to 19 species, Nice here was to see both species of cormorants together. On the way back to the parking lot we added another Gray Catbird. We managed to record 69 species which was 9 more than last year.
Paul Desjardins, guide