Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Weather, Tides, and Birds at Wharton Point

1. Wharton Point-kab Mudflats and marsh at Wharton Point 8-17-14

August 17, 2014: With shorebird migration well underway I have been taking many more trip to Wharton Point in Brunswick, Maine which sits at the top of Maquoit Bay. While I can see bits of Maquoit Bay from my living room window in the cottage we rent down on Mere Point, most of the shorebirds hang out at the top of the bay at Wharton Point. I arrived early on a foggy morning to see what I could see, but when I first arrived, everything was shrouded in fog. This is what it looked like when I first arrived:

2. fog and ducks-kab A flock of ducks, probably Common Eiders, far out in the bay.


3. receding tide-kab As the tide recedes, the mudflats are revealed.


4. snowy egrets-kab Snowy Egrets feeding on the mudflats in fog.


5. meadow flowers-kab The only color was in the meadow flowers surrounding the bay.


6. plover-kab I saw a Semipalmated Plover fly over and land near the boat ramp.


7. marsh grass-kab Marsh grass, mudflats, and water in bands of silver and green!


8. sandpiper-kab A Semipalmated Sandpiper picks through the mud.

From what I understand, Semipalmated Sandpipers are the most numerous sandpipers seen on the coast of Maine and they are frequently in the company of Semipalmated Plovers.

9. layers-kab Here you can see the layers of habitat with the mudflats in the lower left corner, then salt marsh grass, meadow, and forest. This meadow has been home to bobolinks and sparrows all summer long.

10. mud flats-kab The longer I stayed, the more the mudflats were revealed.

I was here for an hour and a half. If you scroll back up to the first photos you can see the tide was just starting to go out.

11. tide line-kab Now you can see the glistening mudflats with the tide line much farther out.

When it reaches its lowest point my estimate is that it is a football field or more away! Then all the shorebirds and gulls feed along the tide line and the ducks and cormorants are even farther away in deeper water.

12. clearing skies-kab I love the colors of the mudflats and marsh grass!


13. semiplamated plover-kab A Semipalmated Plover picks through the mud for food.


14. boblink n sparrow-kab Song Sparrow and Bobolink in a bush alongside the boat ramp.

Does anyone see a third bird in this picture?

When I first saw this fall/female bobolink I wasn’t sure what it was. I know that I have seen Nelson’s Sparrows here but further research confirmed what I suspected. This is a bobolink. The females always look like this but the males are black with a white back and a yellow cap on their nape during breeding season. In the fall the males molt to look just like the females. I didn’t get a chance to ask the bird what sex it was. Besides, that would not have been polite!

15. bobolink-kab Bobolink in bush.


16. hofi-kab This House Finch eating berries sure gave me the feeling of Christmas!

This is the third bird seen in the back of the bush in the photo above. It is a female Common Yellowthroat. Common Yellowthroats are a species of Warblers that tend to hang out near water. While the males are much brighter with yellow faces and a snazzy black mask lined in white, the subtle female has her own beauty as well. Common Yellowthroats have a very horizontal posture and a longer, slightly de-curved beak which you can see in this photo. They are usually very curious and bold and will usually respond to pishing and pop right up on a branch for you. However, I did not have to pish this one out. She popped up all by herself to look at me!

17. common yellowthroat-kab 

18. COYE-kab

These are the birds I saw on Wharton Point on August 17, 2014 at 7:35 AM. I did a stationary count and was there for 1:32 hours.

  1. Double-crested Cormorant, 6
  2. Great Blue Heron, 2
  3. Great Egret, 4
  4. Snowy Egret, 24
  5. Black-bellied Plover, 5
  6. Semipalmated Plover, 1
  7. Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs, 12
  8. Semipalmated Sandpiper, 5
  9. Ring-billed Gull, 8
  10. Herring Gull, 12,
  11. Great Black-backed Gull, 3
  12. Common Tern, 9
  13. Mourning Dove, 5
  14. Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 1
  15. Eastern Phoebe, 1
  16. Red-eyed Vireo, 1
  17. Blue Jay, 2
  18. American Crow, 5
  19. Barn Swallow, 1
  20. American Robin, 2
  21. Gray Catbird, 1
  22. Cedar Waxwing, 4
  23. Common Yellowthroat, 2
  24. Savannah Sparrow, 4
  25. Song Sparrow, 4
  26. Nelson’s Sparrow, 2
  27. blackbird species, 30
  28. House Finch, 6
  29. American Goldfinch, 5


  1. Nice collection of birds......really love that basic Bobolink plumage! Great pics and loving the colors happening around the marsh areas!

    1. Chris, I was so surprised and pleased to get pics of the bobolink in this plumage! I love the colors of the marsh as well!

  2. Great outing, Kathie! I would have had problems iding the Bobolink and the Sandpiper. I love the Plovers.. Happy Birding!

  3. Eileen, I did have trouble with the bobolink but thankfully got confirmation on it before I posted pics! I still have lots to learn about sandpipers!


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.