Friday, August 31

Friday Bird Blogging: The Salisbury Egret Roost

Photo: Glossy Ibis in Flight
In Salisbury, MA, on Route 1 just South of 110 there is an amazing sight going on this month. Each night, a large variety of wading birds has been coming in to roost communally. From about 5-7pm you can start with a small number of birds and watch as they fly in, bringing the numbers up to several hundred. In one night, I was able to find:On another night, I also spotted a variety of small shorebirds, including least sandpipers and spotted sandpipers. This is a really great show. The roost is positioned so you can watch it at sunset, with the sun setting behind you, providing a really nice light for photography as well as general viewing. Some of the birds are close, but most are further out so it's good to bring binoculars or a scope.

If you're into birding at all, it also provides for great opportunity to learn the differences between immature little blue herons and snowy egrets. They're both about half the size of a great egret and predominantly white birds, but there are some key differences that can be put in clear contrast here, as the snowys tend to hang out at the same spots as the little blues.

This won't be here much longer; these birds will all be migrating soon so get down there when you can. This sort of roosting site is commonly visible in some areas, but in New England it's rare to see a roost site with so many different kinds of birds making themselves so very and obviously visible for an extended period. And be sure not to just look at the roost, but to check the skies as they come in because watching them land is a great part of the show. Most birds come in from the left side, but a few will travel from the South as well.
Related: Salisbury Egret Roost photo gallery.

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