SIB Excursion to Bear Island & Donnelley WMAs

On Saturday, Feb 29, a group of 12 SIB birders made the trek down to Bear Island and Donnelley WMA in the ACE Basin. It was a beautiful sunny day, but very windy and quite cold. We all persevered and did well, despite the gusty winds. Mary’s House Pond at the entrance to Bear Island was drained low and filled with hundreds of shorebirds. There were many beautiful American Avocets feeding in the water, which we continued to see all morning long.  Some were even beginning to have hints of their tan breeding colors. Glossy Ibis made an appearance several times and 2 Osprey were busy tending to a nest.

As we began our caravan through the property, Brown-headed Nuthatches gave us great views.  Belted Kingfishers rattled their call several times during the day. Throughout the property, we saw hundreds of ducks, mostly Gadwall and Northern Shovelers, with both Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal mixed in. Tree Swallows worked all the impoundments. A perched Bald Eagle gave great looks at Hog Island. We had a total of 7 Bald Eagles for Bear!

At Donnelley it was fairly quiet in the afternoon. Seven Roseate Spoonbills sat huddled from the wind in a tree. We had great looks at a Blue-headed Vireo and ended the day on a high note with a beautiful Red-headed Woodpecker perched against the blue sky, which our leader Bob Mercer was able to even get into the scope for all of us! A great finish for a group of tired and happy birders!

We tallied 65 species for Bear Island and 61 for Donnelly. Links to the checklists are at:

Bear Island WMA https://ebird.org/checklist/S65310562  

Donnelley WMA. https://ebird.org/checklist/S65299367

Article by Aija Konrad

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