Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
Birding Community Newsletter

Issue 2017-14 | Thursday, August 31 2017 | 1,108 Subscribers
The Beginning
A Gentle Touch of Autumn Brings Forth a Great Migration into the Rumney Marshes ACEC
The cool nights that stir feelings of restlessness in the masked 'Bone-breaker,' offer a promise of bright colors for the plains of the Rumney Marshes. As fall draws nearer, the 'little souls,' their painted wings still fluttering with brilliance, slow to meet the end of their season. Prehistoric gliders collecting in great masses, fill the skies above the grassland of the ACEC. Steadfast in a continual cycle, here marks the beginning of the fall migration at the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary.
August 20, 2017 Trip Report
Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
(restricted access)   , Saugus, Essex County, Massachusetts, US

August 20, 2017
9:00 AM - 12:20 AM

Protocol: Traveling

2.5 Mile(s)

38 Bird Species
Canada Goose 11

Mallard 36

Double-crested Cormorant 53

Great Blue Heron 6

Great Egret 3

Snowy Egret 5

Osprey 6

Broad-winged Hawk 1

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Semipalmated Plover 11

Killdeer 5

Least Sandpiper 11

Pectoral Sandpiper 2

Semipalmated Sandpiper 8

Peep sp. 10

Greater Yellowlegs 1

Lesser Yellowlegs 6

Herring Gull 50

Great Black-backed Gull 5

Rock Pigeon 2

Mourning Dove 9

Chimney Swift 3

American Kestrel 1

Peregrine Falcon 1   
Immature. Nancy, Mark, Andrea, Norm, and Janet watched it for several minutes before the trip began. It flew at several pigeons sitting on the roof of the building at the entrance. Mark has a great photo of it taking off.

Eastern Phoebe 1

American Crow 6

Tree Swallow 8

Bank Swallow 1

American Robin 1

Gray Catbird 1

Northern Mockingbird 1

European Starling 200

Cedar Waxwing 1

Yellow Warbler 1

Savannah Sparrow 3

Bobolink 6

Brown-headed Cowbird 3

Common Grackle 1

American Goldfinch 15
The Bird of the Week this week is Necco, (top left) the recently fledged Osprey from the nesting platform located in Revere's Diamond Creek Marshes. N´╗┐ECCO's parents are long-standing members of the estuary, successfully rearing broods for at least the last five seasons in a row.

NECCO's platform is one of the 10 Osprey nesting platforms in the Rumney Marshes ACEC. To find out more information about all of the nesting platforms in Essex County or to become a volunteer platform watcher in 2018, please visit the Essex County Greenbelt's Osprey Watch Program at the link below.
Runner-up This Week Goes Out to All of Our Native Pollinators
Now that the fall migration is at hand, we would like to thank this season's crew of native pollinators that have spent the summer helping us prepare.
Each season is different. This season, butterflies and moths are abundant, and they have played an important role in fertilizing the fruit and seed crops at the sanctuary.
Our native pollinators are not always what you might expect ... Some years bumblebees, wasps, and beetles play a more important role.
Planning ahead ... Next year looks good.
Visitors are often surprised to find out that the earliest migrating species to leave the sanctuary each fall doesn't have feathers. To tell the truth, up until a handful of years ago, so were we.

It was our oldest dear friend, Soheil, that picked up on it first. During an opening day Sunday bird walk a few seasons ago, the air was still and thousands of Common Green Darners filled the sky. We returned on the following Tuesday to take a closer look, and every last one of them was gone, and so were the nine American Kestrels that had been feeding on them.
In every year since, towards the end of August, thousands upon thousands of Common Green Darners descend from the north to take over the grassland while they wait for the call to move further south. In the picture above, seven Common Green Darners can be seen flying.
Just as many can be found resting in the vegetation.
According to, the Common Green Darner is North America's most common and widespread dragonfly. Its range is from Alaska, and Southern Canada, south to Mexico. It is even found in Bermuda and in the Caribbean, including Cuba, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands.
Common Green Darners have an interesting lifecycle where the majority of its population is migratory, and a portion of the population overwinters in the northern part of its range as larvae. The migratory portion of the population travels south in large swarms that breed in Mexico, the Caribbean, and across the southern United States. The larvae produced, emerge in the spring and travel north to breed in the northern part of the range. Each wave of migrants is made up of immature adults that mature during the migration, and then breed at their destination.
They may lack the intricate feathered patterns that we love with birds, but the Common Green Darner is beautiful in its own right, and they are acrobatic flyers that are entertaining to watch.
 The next scheduled nature walk is:
Sunday, September 3 at 9 a.m. 

NOTE: The Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is open to the public for guided tours only. If you would like to visit the sanctuary, please attend one of our regularly scheduled nature walks, or contact us to arrange a private tour. Thank you.
Special thanks to Soheil, BB, Isabella, Matt, Mark, Norm, Sebastian, Nancy, Janet, Kaija, Josh, Andrea, Amanda, Kevin, and everyone else who contributed pictures and support this week. Without your help, this publication could not be produced.

Additional pictures from this week:
The Wheelabrator Saugus Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is a 370-acre property abutting a 2,274-acre estuary on the outskirts of Boston, located in the heart of the Rumney Marshes ACEC. Maintained and managed grasslands, salt marshes, shrublands and maturing woodlands combine as one of the largest bird migration staging areas on the North Shore and a habitat for nearly 200 bird species, as well as other wildlife such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons and snakes. Visitors can enjoy the more than 14,000 feet of walking trails that permeate the site, a half-acre exhibit garden, and meeting and lecture areas, which are scattered throughout nine of the restored ecosystems. Situated directly behind Wheelabrator Saugus, the Bear Creek Wildlife Sanctuary is maintained and managed by Geoff Wilson of Northeast Wetland Restoration. Follow along with us as the birds change with each passing season!