February Bear Island Trip with David Gardner

Early morning birding at Bear Island.
Early morning birding at Bear Island.

The trip to Bear Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was scheduled for the first day the WMA reopened to the general public.  From October 31 through February 8, the WMA is closed except for registered duck hunters.  The group hoped to see the Tundra Swans plus numerous ducks before the ducks migrate out of the area.  We were not disappointed!

We woke early on February 9 to a thunderstorm rolling through the area but radar showed it would be a quick passing line of storms so the group met as scheduled.  While gathering in the real estate parking lot, Bob Mercer trained his scope on Jupiter where those present were able to see several moons of Jupiter in addition to the planet.  What a way to start the day.


Upon arrival at Bear Island, we started the day at Mary’s House Pond.  A great start for the day as 8 swans were seen plus an estimated 125 American Avocet.  Canada Geese, Green-winged Teal, Bonaparte’s Gull and a Belted Kingfisher were among the numerous birds seen.  The wind was blustering which made focusing the scopes a challenge but 69 species were identified while traversing between the various ponds at the WMA.  I never realized there were that many different species of ducks.  The wind kept the sighting of the typical songbirds at a minimum.  We left Bear Island without seeing (or hearing) a Carolina Chickadee or a Tufted Titmouse. Who would have thought!

American Avocet with Dunlin - Ed Konrad
American Avocet with Dunlin – Ed Konrad

The group proceeded to Donnelly WMA where different habitat may result in different sitings.  This proved true as the elusive Carolina Chickadee and Titmouse were easily seen.  Highlights of this tour included an armadillo but also Wilson Snipe and Ring-necked Duck.  In total, 59 species were seen at Donnelly WMA for a total of 81 species for the day.

The group returned to Seabrook vowing to return to both Bear Island and Donnelly Wildlife Management Areas again in the future.  The species list for each location is shown below.

Please be sure to check out Calendar and the Activities page for our upcoming events!

Article Submitted by:  Judy Morr
Photos Submitted by:  Ed Konrad

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Bear Island
1 Canada Goose
19 Tundra Swan
220 Gadwall
3 American Wigeon
1 American Black Duck
2 Mallard
29 Blue-winged Teal
115 Northern Shoveler
265 Northern Pintail
189 Green-winged Teal
1 Bufflehead
3 Wild Turkey
23 Pied-billed Grebe
9 Double-crested Cormorant
5 Anhinga
13 American White Pelican
6 Great Blue Heron
14 Great Egret
10 Snowy Egret
7 Little Blue Heron
9 Tricolored Heron
1 Green Heron
23 Black-crowned Night-Heron
2 White Ibis
12 Glossy Ibis
14 Black Vulture
12 Turkey Vulture
2 Northern Harrier
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
1 Bald Eagle
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Red-tailed Hawk
5 Common Gallinule
48 American Coot
180 American Avocet
10 Killdeer
19 Dunlin
14 Lesser Yellowlegs
6 Bonaparte’s Gull
5 Herring Gull
13 Caspian Tern
15 Forster’s Tern
2 Mourning Dove
1 Belted Kingfisher
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Northern Flicker
1 American Kestrel
2 Eastern Phoebe
3 Blue Jay
15 American Crow
85 Tree Swallow
1 House Wren
2 Carolina Wren
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
22 Eastern Bluebird
2 Northern Mockingbird
6 European Starling
3 Palm Warbler
1 Pine Warbler
28 Yellow-rumped Warbler
3 Chipping Sparrow
2 Savannah Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
2 Eastern Towhee
1 Northern Cardinal
84 Red-winged Blackbird
8 Eastern Meadowlark
6 Boat-tailed Grackle

1 Wood Duck
6 American Wigeon
95 Blue-winged Teal
25 Northern Shoveler
16 Northern Pintail
55 Green-winged Teal
110 Ring-necked Duck
3 Wild Turkey
10 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Anhinga
3 Great Blue Heron
4 Great Egret
5 Snowy Egret
2 Little Blue Heron
2 Tricolored Heron
5 White Ibis
1 Glossy Ibis
4 Black Vulture
7 Turkey Vulture
1 Bald Eagle
2 Red-tailed Hawk
14 Common Gallinule
4 American Coot
45 Killdeer
15 Wilson’s Snipe
3 Mourning Dove
1 Belted Kingfisher
3 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
3 Downy Woodpecker
2 Northern Flicker
2 Pileated Woodpecker
4 Eastern Phoebe
3 Blue Jay
14 American Crow
300 Tree Swallow
4 Carolina Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
4 Brown-headed Nuthatch
5 Carolina Wren
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
18 Eastern Bluebird
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Northern Mockingbird
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
10 Palm Warbler
6 Pine Warbler
30 Yellow-rumped Warbler
65 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
2 Eastern Towhee
4 Northern Cardinal
32 Red-winged Blackbird
15 Brown-headed Cowbird


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