First off: I am way way behind on these posts, so I am going to have a few from the summer, and then one from recently, and then I will be caught up.
On July 31 I joined Mass Audubon's weekly Friday Morning Birders bird walk, where we take a van to various birding spots on the south shore (massaudubonblogs.typepad.com/southshorejournal). I have gone 7 times by now, and gotten a life bird on 6 of them. This time, we went to Scituate, just north of where the trip meets, in Marshfield. Our first stop was 3rd cliff, a beach that is at the mouth of two rivers, right where they join the ocean. The ocean side was reletively empty, but the river mouth had shorebirds. There were a few points of land that had just been exposed to the tide. The first was sand, and we picked out turnstones, semipalmated and black-bellied plovers, terns, gulls, and many sanderlings and semipalmated sandpipers. One bird looked different- smaller than the gulls and larger than the sandpipers. Its bill was hidden, but after we got closer it began preening, and the long, decurved bill of a Whimbrel was obvious. Life bird!
The next spit was covered in small rocks. It turns out only some of them were actually rocks. There were hundreds of Semipalmated Sandpipers covering the whole area. It was amazing, because you could hardly tell there were any until you looked closely. By this time, we were nearing the Piping Plover and Least Tern nesting sites on the beach, and we spotted adults and chicks of both species. Taking another look at the shorebirds, one of the leaders found a black tern, my second lifer of the day. 15 minutes later, when we tried to relocate it, we discovered that there were actually 2 black terns.
Some other good birds included a Savannah Sparrow, Horned Lark, and a flock of 6 whimbrels that I spotted.
The next spot was a muddy parking lot at a public beach. In the puddle, there were semi plovers, semi sandpipers, and my first White-rumped Sandpipers!
The last stop was a lighthouse, where we scanned the sea to find a handful of moving black specks- Wilson's Storm-petrels.
All in all, a very good morning of birding, with 3 lifers, a few more cool birds, and 13 shorebirds (20 if you count gulls and terns)