Field Trip Report: The Big Sit, Oct. 8, 2017

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

The Big Sit is a day-long event where we try to list as many birds as possible from within a 15 foot diameter circle. Participants may come and go, and refreshments are to be enjoyed. Weather was the big challenge for the Big Sit again this year. There was some rain, but the wind, 20 mph and gusting higher was the more serious problem, It kept the birds down and Maquoit Bay very rough. Gordon Smith and Jay Stormer started the day shortly before 6am by listening for owls (none heard in the wind) at Wharton Point (Brunswick, ME). The most interesting pre-dawn sighting was four raccoons foraging far out on the mudflat. Fifteen Merrymeeting birders joined us for at least part of the day, and we had two visitors from Scotland, three from England, and a number of local people. A Northern Shoveler was perhaps the most uncommon bird seen, and we had good views of a number of raptors including a Peregrine Falcon. Quite a few sparrows flitted around in the bushes near the circle. It was a struggle to get birds on the list right until the end of the day at 6pm. But, we managed to get 40 species and avoid setting a record low number this year. The main objective, having a good time with birding friends, was achieved.

The checklist for the day can be seen at:

Misty gray dawn at Wharton Point

Savannah Sparrow in bushes near circle.

Savannah Sparrow

Bald Eagel

Northern Harrier hunting the field

Young Red-Tailed Hawk perched over the marsh.



Raven soaring over the marsh (note characteristic wedge haped tail).s

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull being slapped by a wave breaking over the rock at the end of the ramp.

Great Blue Heron in the marsh (photo D. Salko)

Double-crested Cormorant in the tidal creek (photo D. Salko).


Moored canoes being swamped by waves on Maquoit Bay

Finally fair weather at the nd of the day.