2014-11-13 / Nature

Rare Bird Appearances Draw Flock of Birdwatchers

By Jack Kelly


Ash-throated Flycatcher (Photo by Bob Weaver) Ash-throated Flycatcher (Photo by Bob Weaver) Thousands of bird watchers, nature photographers, and wildlife enthusiasts from across New England flocked to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in recent days, with hopes of catching a glimpse of two rare avian visitors. A large number of nature observers were thrilled by the opportunity to view a Snowy Owl, which had taken up temporary residence along the southern coast of the refuge. However, after a brief two-day stay the owl departed for an unknown destination.

An Ash-throated Flycatcher, well out of its normal range, was also reported in the refuge. This diminutive insect-eating bird, with a body length of 8.5 inches and a wingspan of 12 inches, is native to the American Southwest and Mexico during nesting season. A few members of this species are known to turn up in eastern states during late fall and early winter. The flycatcher was feasting on winter moths and other insects across the brushy habitats of the property, delighting those who had traveled to see it.


Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. Jack Kelly, a native Newporter, is a wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with others. Other late-season migrant stragglers also made appearances, including an Orange-crowned Warbler and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Visitors reported songbirds such as White-throated Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. Numerous raptors occupied the area, with Merlin Falcons, Peregrine Falcons, Cooper’s Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks, Harrier Hawks, and a Redtailed Hawk observed in the air or perched in trees waiting for prey.

A walk along the shoreline revealed that wintering sea ducks including Harlequin Ducks, Longtailed Ducks, Buffleheads, Common Eiders and others have begun to arrive and take up winter residence.

The Sachuest Point trails are open to the public from sunrise to sunset and the Visitors’ Center is open daily from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information call 401-847- 5511 or contact Sarah Griffith at sarah_ griffith@fws.gov.

For More Information

www.RIBirds.org www.ASRI.org

(Audubon Society of RI) www.SaveBay.org www.normanbirdsanctuary.org www.AllAboutBirds.org

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