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Blue Mash and Oaks Landfill

Leader: Mark England.

Participants: 11.

Weather: Exceptionally nice, with clear sunny skies, 48-65 degrees.

Species: 59.

We took our time going around Blue Mash, as we were enjoying good looks at many types of birds. We saw a White-eyed Vireo over the gravel road early on, and then had good looks at Common Yellowthroats, a male Am. Redstart, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped, and Black-and-White warblers on the way to the landfill pond fenceline. Here we saw a Yellow Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, singing 1st-year Orchard Oriole, a “brownie” Purple Finch, and a Northern Waterthrush, which Donna Sturm had immediately identified by its song. We saw some shorebirds at the Zion Road pond, including Least, Spotted, and Solitary Sandpipers. We heard at least two Yellow-breasted Chats and Prairie Warblers, but could not find one in view, though we did have brief looks at a Western Palm Warbler and a Magnolia Warbler in the same area. In the wooded far corner of Blue Mash, we had a good look at a perched Ovenbird and heard only a fairly close Veery and Black-throated Blue warbler. At the landfill, we had good looks at Savannah Sparrows (SASP), Red-shouldered (RSHA) and Red-tailed (RTHA) Hawks, and at the end, finally had a great look at a nicely-perched male Blue Grosbeak (BLGR), to everyone’s satisfaction. Incidentally, on my Saturday atlassing at the landfill two days later, I saw a female Northern Harrier (NOHA) come up out of the grass around ten in the morning. It was starting to soar when an adult RTHA attacked it in the air, before locking talons as both birds spiralled to the ground out of sight. This may have been the same female NOHA that I had seen the previous week, and I had been considering the possibility that it might be attempting to nest at the landfill, which would have been a first in my experience there.

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