110th Ipswich River Bird Survey

May 21, 2016

This was the 110th annual Ipswich River trip of the Essex County Ornithological Club (ECOC). We put in on Rt. 97 and took out at the Ipswich line, meaning the entire trip was in Topsfield, and most of it in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (IRWS). Miles and party size are estimated. We had excellent weather–sunny and mild with almost no wind. There were highlights and lowlights. The latter were low numbers of some species and the missing of some normally observed species (e.g., killdeer, solitary sandpiper, hummingbird, mockingbird, several migrant warblers, eastern towhee).

This year’s participants:

Trip leader: Dave Brewster

Constance Lapite, Diana Fruguglietti, Jim Berry, Jim MacDougall, Mariana Ovnic, Robert Buchsbaum

78 species and 1 other taxa

Canada Goose108Almost half of these were young. That river is a goose factory.
Wood Duck5 
Wild Turkey2 
Double-breasted Comorant3 
Great Blue Heron7 
Great Egret4 
Green Heron4 
Glossy Ibis1 
Turkey Vulture2 
Accipiter species1probable Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk1surprisingly few raptors today
Virginia Rail2 
Sora2Both soras and one of the VIRAs were in Bunker Meadow of the IRWS. One of the soras considerately flew onto a log in front of us as we were stopped there and posed for photos.
Spotted Sandpiper6 
Lesser Yellowlegs1 
Rock Pigeon1feral pigeon
Mourning Dove12 
Black-billed Cuckoo2 
Barred Owl1 
Common Nighthawk2plus 4 more later at MacDougall’s place near the river
Chimney Swift6 
Belted Kingfisher2 
Red-bellied Woodpecker14 
Downy Woodpecker7 
Hairy Woodpecker2 
Northern Flicker4yellow-shafted
Pileated Woodpecker9This was probably a high count for the river trips over the years. They included at least two young at a nest being fed by a parent.
Eastern Wood-Pewee2 
Willow Flycatcher3 
Eastern Phoebe4 
Great-credsted Flycatcher21Exact count
Eastern Kingbird17 
Yellow-throated Vireo14Exact count of singing males
Blue-headed Vireo1 
Warbling Vireo43Exact count. I believe this is a new record for the river trips. All or almost all were singing males. These birds are abundant along such watercourses, and we were rarely out of hearing of at least one.
Red-eyed Vireo7 
Blue Jay2low
American Crow5 
Tree Swallows54 
Barn Swallow21 
Black-capped Chickadee10 
Tufted Titmouse9 
White-breasted Nuthatch4 
Brown Creeper6including a pair feeding young in a nest where we took out along Ipswich Rd. in Topsfield
House Wren1low
Marsh Wren16 
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher22 
Eastern Bluebird8 
Wood Thrush3 
American Robin10 
Gray Catbird10 
European Starling2mercifully low
Cedar Waxwing14 
Northern Waterthrush2 
Blue-winged Warbler3 
Common Yellowthroat65 
American Redstart5 
Northern Parula1 
Yellow Warbler30This not a high count but a low count for miles of river travel. It is one of the lowest counts I can recall from this annual trip. Usually they are almost as numerous as common yellowthroats.
Chestnut-sided Warbler1 
Pine Warbler1 
Chipping Sparrow8 
Song Sparrow28 
Swamp Sparrow3low
Scarlet Tanager4 
Northern Cardinal16 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak5low
Orchard Oriole5including a nesting pair
Baltimore Oriole41 
Red-winged Blackbird130Same comment as for yellow warblers. There are thousands of blackbirds along this river, of which we traversed just a small part.
Brown-headed Cowbird15 
Common Grackle67 
House Finch4 
Purple Finch1 
American Goldfinch5low
House Sparrow10 
Additional species seen by Jim MacDougall, Dave Brewster, Constance Lapite, Diana Fruguglietti, Mariana Ovnic
Blackpoll Warbler7