Usually, this trip is held the first Sunday in November, but the last couple of years has gotten it somehow pushed back into October.  Next year we’ll move it back to November since parking regulations are enforced through October.  In addition, campers are still at Hampton Beach State Park through October.

Weather was spectacular with warm temperatures and lots of sunshine.  We covered Hampton Beach State Park, Bicentennial Park in Hampton, Eel Pond in Rye, Goss Farm in Rye, and Odiorne Point State Park in Rye.  Some folks hung around for a trip extension to Ragged Neck at Rye Harbor State Park.

Birds were nice, but nothing terribly rare.  A couple of recent rarities (YB Cuckoo and Lark Sparrow) couldn’t be relocated at Odiorne and the female King Eider (present all summer) appears to have moved on, but we managed to find an Orange-crowned Warbler and a first-of-fall Lapland Longspur as nice birds.  Full list below.

Total Bird List – 61 Species
Brant – Flock of 12 migrating.
Green-winged Teal – Jim Sparrell only at Eel Pond.
Ring-necked Duck – Group on Eel Pond.
Greater Scaup – Group on Eel Pond.
Common Eider
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Long-tailed Duck – Two males at Ragged Neck.
Bufflehead – Pair on Eel Pond.
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck – Three on Eel Pond.
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Mourning Dove
American Coot – A few on Eel Pond.
Killdeer – One lingering south of Odiorne.
Semipalmated Plover – Just one.  Very few lingering shorebirds this fall.
Black Guillemot – One distant flyby at Odiorne.
Bonaparte’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Red-throated Loon – Excellent close views in Hampton harbor inlet:
Common Loon
Northern Gannet – Many distant birds offshore.
Great Cormorant – Two migrating with small flock of Double-crested Cormorants.
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture – Jane only.
Northern Harrier – Female hunting over Hampton Beach dunes.
Cooper’s Hawk – One immature flew by at eye level at Eel Pond.
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Peregrine Falcon – Brief views of bird dive-bombing harrier.
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet – Nice views of Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned at eye-level foraging together.
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
European Starling
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Bluebird
House Sparrow
American Pipit – Group of 11 at Ragged Neck in Rye.
House Finch
American Goldfinch
LAPLAND LONGSPUR – Thanks to Scott Heron for the tip.  We found this bird on the “trip extension” with American Pipits at Ragged Neck in Rye:
Chipping Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow (Ipswich) – Nice views of 2 individuals at Hampton Beach State Park.
Song Sparrow
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER – One at Bicentennial Park in Hampton. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t cooperate much for the group.
Common Yellowthroat – One seen by a couple of birders at Goss Farm.
BLACKPOLL WARBLER – One or two late individuals at Odiorne.  Very cool to see one foraging on flies along the seaweed “wrack” line in the cove north of the Science Center at Odiorne.
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Cardinal

Other Sightings of Note
White-tailed Deer – One young male SWIMMING OFFSHORE in among rocks at Odiorne.  This was a disturbing sight and clearly a distressed individual, perhaps inadvertently “flushed” out into the ocean.

PAINTED LADY – One late, heavily worn individual at Goss Farm in Rye.  Noteworthy for the late date, but also considering the complete lack of Painted Ladies seen by myself this fall along the seacoast:
Other butterflies for the day included small numbers of Monarch, Cabbage White, and Clouded and Orange Sulphur.  Also a late sighting of an apparently angle wing (Question Mark?) at Goss Farm.

Groundsel Tree (Baccharis halimifolia) – Several of us were wondering about the ID of a rather conspicuous looking shrub at Goss Farm exploding with white seed tufts.  I’ve figured it out to be a Groundsel Tree (also known as Saltbush, etc.)
It’s a native plant in the United States and found most commonly along the edge of salt marshes or estuaries and is salt tolerant. It’s related to the asters, but grows in a shrub form.  There are male and female plants and only the female plant explodes in fruit/seeds like this in the late fall.  Apparently found from Nova Scotia south along the coast, but perhaps not as common in New Hampshire.  As far as I can tell, this may be the first report of it in iNaturalist for New Hampshire:

Steve & Jane Mirick
Bradford, MA