Crane Beach, Essex, Massachusetts, US
Jun 6, 2018 6:15 PM – 8:55 PM
Protocol: Traveling
0.75 mile(s)
Comments:     I led my annual BBC walk on Crane Beach to look for nesting piping plovers, least terns, bank swallows, and (at dusk) whip-poor-wills. Tonight turned windy and cool, cool enough for gloves.  This might explain why the whip count was down from the other night when I heard 4 of them.  We walked less than a mile down the beach, as a large tern colony begins half a mile down.
27 species

Double-crested Cormorant  3
Great Egret  1
Snowy Egret  9     flock near dusk flying inland, though they may have been heading for Kettle Island
Osprey  2
Piping Plover  20     Including 4 tiny young of one pair, of course painfully cute.  Jeff Denoncour, the TTOR ecologist, told me today that about 42 pairs are on the beach, the third highest count since they started keeping track in 1986.
Semipalmated Sandpiper  7
Willet (Eastern)  4
Herring Gull  33
Great Black-backed Gull  4
Least Tern  100     Rough estimate at the one colony we visited.  Jeff told me there are from 100 to 150 pairs at the beach this year, or 200 to 300 birds. They are beginning to nest, and we saw several birds on eggs.  (We saw the eggs in at least one case.)
Common Tern  10
Mourning Dove  4
Eastern Whip-poor-will  1     One or two heard singing–only one for sure.
Northern Flicker  1     not seen (thus cannot report it as yellow-shafted)
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  2
Tree Swallow  8
Bank Swallow  0     We didn’t go far enough down the beach to see the colonies, though in my previous visits there have been few to no swallows despite the presence of numerous burrows.
Gray Catbird  3
Cedar Waxwing  1
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow Warbler  2
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  3
Eastern Towhee  1
Red-winged Blackbird  4
Common Grackle  1
American Goldfinch  1

View this checklist online at