Field Trip: Fall Bird Count at Leight Estuary Center
Could it be a more glorious day? Ideal weather for a fall bird count / field trip to the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center in Harford County to catch a glimpse of any migratory species. Special sightings: a yellow-billed cuckoo, downy woodpecker, and many red-eyed vireos. (No pics of those as I find it difficult to manage binoculars for viewing and camera for pics – those birds don’t sit still for very long!)
The vireos were primarily feeding amongst the blueberry bushes along the parking lot, and flitting around neighboring trees. We saw the cuckoo and woodpecker on Otter Point Road, at the intersection with the Estuary entrance. Our birding field trip took us along the forest edge, down a new trail through the woods, and returned via the power line route back to the Center. After a good start with those “life list” birds for me, the next hour was rather uneventful with sightings of more typical robins and mourning doves. We thought the windy conditions may be keeping the birds under cover.
Heading down to the water’s edge, we spotted two mature bald eagles soaring overhead, several cormorants (which are becoming favorites of mine) splashing in the cove, a group of egrets way off on the other side, and a gull or two. Our leaders agreed with me that we’re seeing far fewer seagulls in the Edgewood/Joppa area this summer – why is that?
One osprey was perched on the nest outside the Estuary Center. On the way home, I stopped by the other local nests – none of the others seemed to be active at all. In fact, the nest on the Long & Foster building roof (in the Riverside business park) was shredded – twigs were spread all over the place. Another nest, a second attempt at building a new one on the power lines along Rt. 40, was gone – probably removed by BGE. The third nest in the business park looked empty. The osprey here in the upper Chesapeake area must be on their way south.
The morning outing concluded with a quick stop at the “Home Depot” marsh area which has become turtle heaven. Dozens of turtles sunned themselves on the branches and mud piles.
The solo mute swan was still in the center; and I spent a few minutes photographing this monarch butterfly. The southward migration is underway!