Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kennebunk Plains

While the girls were seeing a matinee at the Ogunquit Playhouse, I scooted up to Kennebunk Plains, a Nature Conservancy property. I only had about an hour to explore. I want to go back.

Kennebunk Plains is a unique grassland habitat that attracts a special constellation of birds. The soundscape is punctuated with high pitched buzzes and whistles, including grasshopper sparrows and real grasshoppers. Eastern meadowlarks, field sparrows (with meadowlark), prairie warblers.

Savannah sparrows take a leading role, perching in the open, and they follow you around making metronomic chips (as if they were chipmunks or something). And in this special environment, their song is not inferior to the song sparrow's but fittingly fragile and soft-spoken.

There are vesper and clay-colored sparrows there too, but color-blind me is not going to be making quick IDs. Especially during juvenile season. See challenge below.

The undisputed diva of the Kennebunk Plains is the upland sandpiper. Watch him as he rushes up into the air, hovers, and then drops down while making a sound most bird books aptly describe as "spooky." (Here's a taste).

Or watch him as he stands on a pole, or a fence post, or a stake in the ground.

It was rather windy so I had a lot of recording marred by wind noise. I also didn't have time to be patient and wait for shots (I can do much better than the sandpiper shot above). So I'm coming back. I just have to wait until there's another matinee the girls want to see at the Ogunquit Playhouse.


Peter Oehlkers said...

By the way,
Upland sandpiper #201, Eastern meadowlark #202, vesper sparrow #203.

Rebecca said...

Where did that clever little sandpiper find a light saber??