Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
Birding Community Newsletter

A PUBLICATION OF NORTHEAST WETLAND RESTORATION
Issue 2017-15 | Thursday, September 14 2017 | 1,568 Subscribers
The Thrill
The Passing Remnants of a Great Hurricane Soak the Parched Soils of the Last Grassland in the Rumney Marshes
Concealed by the torrents, the resolute plains of the Rumney Marshes provide a safe harbor, in plain sight of the world that grew up around it. Traveling under more favorable skies, the fidgety wings of 'little ones' can barely contain the thrill of a first migration, as they wait out the storm, before continuing on their great journey. Drawing ever closer, the approaching frost will open a door for those who lord over the winter grasslands of the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary.
September 3, 2017 Trip Report
Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
Saugus, Essex County, Massachusetts, US


September 3, 2017
9:00 AM - 11:23 AM

Protocol: Traveling

2 Mile(s)

25 Bird Species

This week's walk was cut short by the remnants of Hurricane Harvey passing through Eastern Massachusetts .
Canada Goose 15

American Black Duck 4

Double-crested Cormorant 8

Great Blue Heron 3

Great Egret 9

Snowy Egret 2

Osprey 4

Northern Harrier 2

Red-tailed Hawk 3

Semipalmated Plover 9

Killdeer 4

Semipalmated Sandpiper 14

Herring Gull 10

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 12

Mourning Dove 7

Chimney Swift 1

Falcon sp. 1

Tree Swallow 80

Gray Catbird 2

Northern Mockingbird 5

European Starling 50

Song Sparrow 12

Northern Cardinal 2

Red-winged Blackbird 1

American Goldfinch 12

House Sparrow 1
  BIRD OF THE WEEK
The Semipalmated Plover
The Bird of the Week this week is the Semipalmated Plover. Undeterred by the weather, young Melani was quick to spot this little one taking a bath while the remainder of our party, was seeking respite from the cold rain.

Well done Melani, this bird and your video made the day.
Runner-up This Week Goes Out to Our Budding Hardwood Species
Well on their way towards maturity, the hardwood seedlings that were planted at the sanctuary 19 years ago, will set seed successfully for the first time this season.

Both the Sugar Maples and the Pin Oaks attempted to set seed last season, but in the midst of the exceptional drought, both species abandoned the efforts. As did the wild apples, American Plums, and Black Cherries.
Anyone who cares for little darlings will tell you, it is a long road from toddler to adolescence.

The Sugar Maples started their life here at the sanctuary, as pencils with roots. The Pin Oaks were quite a bit larger.

During the first handful of seasons, their planting beds required constant trimming back of the competing vegetation, to prevent them from being shaded out.

Around the seventh or eighth season, the tops of the trees began to touch as the canopy started to close.

Now they are straight and tall, setting seed, and ready to establish a succeeding generation that will sprout in their shade.
This milestone, as insignificant as it may seem, will dramatically change the wildlife usage of the woodland pockets scattered throughout the sanctuary. Adding a hard shelled nut crop will provide new opportunities for small game species, as well as provide a new source of winter forage.

As these species become more prolific, we can expect to see a significant increase in wildlife diversity.
Thank You For Your Kind Words
A special thanks goes out to all the new friends that we made at the 36th Annual Saugus Founder's Day . Your kind words and support are greatly appreciated, and we are looking forward to meeting with you again out in the sanctuary.
SCANNING ACROSS THE GRASSLAND
Each fall, around the time of the season that we have a good hard frost, the hinterland birds of prey start to filter through the sanctuary. A goodly sum of them, will stay with us for the entire winter.

The sanctuary hosts about 30 morning bird walks each year. Most of the bird walks occur on Sunday mornings from 9 am-12 noon, but if the birding is good, we may linger till about 1 o’clock. During the walks, our friends keep track of all the birds we see, and the final bird list is entered into the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird database. 

The eBird database is a wonderful resource that is free and open for the public to use and share. All of the information entered into the database is available for researchers who use the information for local, regional, and global studies. The studies vary from population studies, to migratory movements of one, or many species at once.

We also use the information to help us better manage the sanctuary. A great deal of information can be gleaned out from the database, including when a species was first recorded as a migrant, when the species became a regularly occurring species at the sanctuary, and when the species first started breeding at the sanctuary. We continually find more ways in which the information can be used to help manage the sanctuary.

Late this summer a remarkable statistic popped out. During the 105 morning bird walks from January 1, 2014 until the present, in an approximate total of 315 hours of birding time, 5,222 birds of prey have been recorded in the sanctuary. Far more than anyone could have ever imagined.

We were not able to determine just how many bird lists have been submitted from January 1, 2014 until the present, but our own records indicate that during that time we have had 1,138 friends visit the sanctuary on our morning bird walks. The breakdown that follows reveals some interesting trends in the birds of prey that visit the sanctuary. 

Thanks to our friends, Lukas and Hannah, for taking these fine pictures above of a wintering Short-eared Owl and our mating pair of American Kestrels. Most of the pictures in the below section have been posted in the eBird database under the birding hotspot title of Bear Creek Sanctuary . There are many wonderful pictures that have been posted in this database by our friends. Some go back all the way to 2002. We have chosen these particular pictures because we felt they best depicted each bird of prey interacting with its preferred habitat type.
Northern Harrier

There have been 592 eBird entries for Northern Harriers recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on October 16, 2007.

Thanks to our friend Soheil for the picture.
Sharp-shinned Hawk

There have been 49 eBird entries for Sharp-shinned Hawks recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on February 21, 2010.

Thanks to our friend Brooke for the picture.
Cooper's Hawk

There have been 255 eBird entries for Cooper's Hawks recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on March 8, 2009.

Thanks to our friend Norm for the picture.
Bald Eagle

There have been 94 eBird entries for Bald Eagles recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on February 4, 2009.

Our apologies. We have lost track of who took this wonderful picture. We think it may have been one of our long time friends, Alan, Mark, Norm, Ted, or Tim. We appreciate all of the fantastic pictures you fine gentlemen have taken over the years. Thank You.
Broad-winged Hawk

There have been 13 eBird entries for Broad-winged Hawks recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on October 5, 2014.

Thanks to our friend Mark for the Picture.
Swainson's Hawk

There have been 5 eBird entries for Swainson's Hawks recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on December 20, 2015.

Thanks to our friend Andrew for the picture.
Red-tailed Hawk

There have been 1,426 eBird entries for Red-tailed Hawks recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on July 6, 2004.

Thanks to our friend Soheil for the picture.
Rough-legged Hawk

There have been 111 eBird entries for Rough-legged Hawks recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on February 2, 2009.

Thanks to our friend Jeremiah for this incredible picture of a light phase Rough-legged Hawk sparring with a Short-eared Owl.
Snowy Owl

There have been 107 eBird entries for Snowy Owls recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on January 17, 2009.

Thanks to our friend Bill for the picture.
Short-eared Owl

There have been 670 eBird entries for Short-eared Owls recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on February 17, 2009.

Thanks to our friend Brian for the picture.
American Kestrel

There have been 1,039 eBird entries for American Kestrels recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on June 27, 2006.

Thanks to our friend Ted for the picture.
Merlin Falcon

There have been 83 eBird entries for Merlin Falcons recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on September 7, 2014.

Thanks to our friend Brian for the picture.
Peregrine Falcon

There have been 143 eBird entries for Peregrine Falcons recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on January 30, 2009.

Thanks to our friend Andrea for the picture.
Osprey

There have been 632 eBird entries for Ospreys recorded in the sanctuary between the years of 2014-2017.

The first eBird entry recorded for the sanctuary was on July 2, 2003.

Thanks to our friend Cameron for the picture.
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
ATTEND A NATURE WALK
 The next scheduled nature walk is:
Sunday, September 17 at 9 a.m. 


NOTE: The Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is open to the public for guided tours only. If you would like to visit the sanctuary, please attend one of our regularly scheduled nature walks, or contact us to arrange a private tour. Thank you.
THANK YOU
Special thanks to Soheil, Mark, Kevin, Ted, Jarett, Melani, Gyougyi, Itsu, Nancy, Cammy, Andrew, Paul, and everyone else who contributed pictures and support this week. Without your help, this publication could not be produced.

Additional pictures from this week:
ABOUT BEAR CREEK WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
The Wheelabrator Saugus Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is a 370-acre property abutting a 2,274-acre estuary on the outskirts of Boston, located in the heart of the Rumney Marshes ACEC. Maintained and managed grasslands, salt marshes, shrublands and maturing woodlands combine as one of the largest bird migration staging areas on the North Shore and a habitat for nearly 200 bird species, as well as other wildlife such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons and snakes. Visitors can enjoy the more than 14,000 feet of walking trails that permeate the site, a half-acre exhibit garden, and meeting and lecture areas, which are scattered throughout nine of the restored ecosystems. Situated directly behind Wheelabrator Saugus, the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is maintained and managed by Geoff Wilson of Northeast Wetland Restoration. Follow along with us as the birds change with each passing season! 
2017 PAST ISSUES
Issue 2017-01 The Short-eared Owl
Issue 2017-02 The American Kestrel
Issue 2017-03 The Peregrine Falcon
Issue 2017-04 The Smith's Longspur
Issue 2017-07 The Horned Lark
Issue 2017-08 The Savannah Sparrow
Issue 2017-09 The Upland Sandpiper
Issue 2017-10 The Killdeer
Issue 2017-12 The Annual Breeding Bird Survey
Issue 2017-13 Salt Marshes / Sea Level Rise
Issue 2017-14 The Common Green Darner