Hamilton House, South Berwick: June 9, 2012

Magnificent weather encouraged 17 people to arrive at Historic New England’s Hamilton House property in South Berwick on June 9 for our second annual bird walk at this tranquil and beautiful site. Barn swallows coursed over the field as we climbed a gentle rise to get the sun at our backs, but songbirds were a bit of a challenge to see in tall grass and thick foliage.

With a mix of experienced birders and novices, we slowly but surely introduced various species to the beginners. For many, the highlight was discovering male and female bobolinks carrying food for nest-bound young. Our disturbance kept the caterpillar-carrying male cautious enough for folks to enjoy a scope view, then we moved past so the couple could feed their young. As soon as they were left behind, a Baltimore oriole appeared in front of us and sang brightly in full view.

Neighboring Vaughan Woods State Park beckoned, so we skirted its edge to pick up a few forest species including a singing winter wren. Soon after, we braved a mucky path back to the Hamilton House, where a scan of the Salmon Falls River shore revealed a spotted sandpiper.

In the tidy gardens, a hide-and-seek indigo bunting and a cooperative hummingbird capped off our 2-hour stroll, which put 34 species in the notebook. Donuts and coffee in the gardener’s cottage were a welcome treat offered by our hostess for those who had a few minutes to spare.

  1. Great Blue Heron
  2. Turkey Vulture
  3. Osprey
  4. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  5. Red-tailed Hawk
  6. Spotted Sandpiper
  7. Mourning Dove
  8. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  9. Downy Woodpecker
  10. Eastern Phoebe
  11. Great Crested Flycatcher
  12. Red-eyed Vireo
  13. Warbling Vireo
  14. Blue Jay
  15. American Crow
  16. Tree Swallow
  17. Barn Swallow
  18. Black-capped Chickadee
  19. Tufted Titmouse
  20. White-breasted Nuthatch
  21. Winter Wren
  22. Eastern Bluebird
  23. American Robin
  24. Gray Catbird
  25. Yellow Warbler
  26. Common Yellowthroat
  27. Chipping Sparrow
  28. Song Sparrow
  29. Scarlet Tanager
  30. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  31. Indigo Bunting
  32. Eastern Meadowlark
  33. Baltimore Oriole
  34. American Goldfinch


About Scott

I've been birding since I was ten and always enjoy being aware of the avian life surrounding me wherever I go. I've had the good fortune of studying and monitoring birds in some far-flung places, though most of my birding lately has been concentrated at two sites: home and work.
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