Point Count of the Macnamara Trail

Date: July 3rd, 2015   Members: 2

Member names: Owen and David Ridgen   Distance covered: 2.5 Km (approx.)

Time spent birding: 2.5 hours (5:00 AM-­‐7:30 AM)   Time of writing: 10:25 AM

Number of species seen: 14   Number of species heard: 26   Total species present: 26


patriotic swamp sparrow

Patriotic Swamp Sparrow


My dad and I arrived at the trailhead at about 5:00 AM. Lots of dawn calls there. Still too dark to see anything. We did our first stop here, at the parking lot. We heard 3 Common Yellowthroats, a Red‐Eyed Vireo, a Song sparrow, a Robin, and Crows and Gulls (variety unknown) in the distance. We remained at the trailhead for about 3 minutes, then went into the woods.

I started a timer. At the 5-­minute mark, we stopped again, just past the first boardwalk. Here, we heard a Wood Thrush, the first of many, and 3 Cedar  Waxwings, seemingly the only ones present today. Also heard was a pair of Veerys, a Song Sparrow, two RE Vireos, and a Common Yellowthroat. Nothing seen yet.

We walked a little further, and then stopped in the middle of the 2nd boardwalk, hoping to see some birds in this open area, becoming visible in the early morning light. A Crow, two Ovenbirds, 3 Common Yellowthroats, a song sparrow and an Eastern Wood-­Pewee were heard almost as soon as we arrived. Then a group of Ring-­Billed Gulls flew overhead. Following this, we heard and saw an Alder Flycatcher.

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush

Another one was calling somewhere out there as well. Next, two very vocal Wood Thrushes made themselves available to be seen and photographed. Before leaving, we heard a blue Jay and saw a Robin and a Starling.

Our next stop was the feeders. Here, we did not see anything, but heard two Veerys, 3 Chickadees, a Crow, two RE Vireos, an Ovenbird, 2 EW Pewees, an Alder Flycatcher in the distance, and a Wood Thrush, probably one of the two we saw earlier.

I set a timer again. After five minutes, we stopped in a hardwood forest area, near where the trail forks. A Wood Thrush could still be heard, as could the ever-­present RE Vireos (three were heard here). Our first RB Nuthatch was heard here, as were an RW Blackbird and 2 Am. Goldfinches. A Veery and a Pewee were also  calling. We heard and saw a Woodpecker (type unknown) as well, knocking and flying by.

Our 6th location was the swamp lookout. A Virginia Rail was heard grunting almost immediately. Many Swamp Sparrows were flying around and calling, as were a group of Am. Goldfinches. Many RW Blackbirds were also present. A Pewee called in the distance. A Green Heron and several DC Cormorants flew by. We saw and heard a GC Flycatcher. We also observed an active nest being used by an RE Vireo lay in a leafy young tree to the right of the lookout. Two Yellow Warblers paid us a visit. Before leaving, we heard a Pileated Woodpecker and an RB Nuthatch.

After my timer got to five minutes, we stopped again, on a lowland boardwalk. Nothing much here, save a few calling birds. Three RB Nuthatches, 2 RE Vireos, a common Yellowthroat and a Veery were all heard.

Our 8th stop was at a sign marked “11”. Again, Not much here. Only things heard were 2 RE Vireos, an EW Pewee and a Pileated Woodpecker.

Stop 9 was by the sign marked “13”. Here, we discovered a nesting pair of BLACK-­THROATED GREEN WARBLERS. They were seen and heard. They hung around in the treetops, but could be lured into view by playing calls. Also present were two RE Vireos, one of which we actually saw.

Our final stop was at the sign numbered “15”. Here, we heard a Wood Thrush, an RE Vireo, and an EW Pewee. After this, we returned the way we came and departed. On the way out, we found a very recently dead Starnose Mole and a Live, healthy Snowshoe Hare.


We observed a healthy population of Wood Thrushes, which are at risk. This is a very good sign. Hopefully numbers will remain steady. RE Vireos are also in abundance, which is also good. The Black-­Throated Green Warblers were a surprise, but a welcome one. Oddly, no birds of prey, not even Turkey Vultures, were seen.

There was also somewhat of a deficit of Chickadees. Also, no Soras were present at the marsh. Neither were Marsh Wrens, which I would expect to see there. But the fact that rare species such as the Wood Thrush continue to exist here in abundance leads me to believe that the Macnamara Trail is a very healthy ecosystem.

Owen Ridgen