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Birding at Bare Cove Park, Hingham, MA

A landscape photograph of a marsh with green, marsh grass in the forefront, a slight inlet of gray water, and pine trees on the left and right side of the water and on the opposite shore. The sky is blue with many puffy, cumulus clouds throughout.
Marsh leading up to the cove. Photograph by Henry Malec-Scott

On the morning of June 18, 2022, Mass Young Birders joined together at Bare Cove Reservation in Hingham, MA for a morning bird walk. Although peek migration has passed by mid-June, we spent the morning appreciating some of our local breeding birds and making observations about their behaviors and what stage of nesting they may be in.

Male, Ruby-throated hummingbird perching on the left side of a bare, v-shaped branch. Profile view shows long, thin beak, red, iridescent chin, and shiny, green back.
Male, Ruby-throated hummingbird perching on bare branch over path. Photograph taken by Henry Malec-Scott

Almost immediately after starting our trek down to the cove, we were greeted by a perched hummingbird! This beautiful, male Ruby-throated hummingbird, the only species native to Massachusetts, was sitting about thirty feet up on a bare branch right

over the path. We were able to get incredible looks at a bird we are often only able to catch a glimpse of. After about five-minutes of perching, he was off in the blink of an eye!

We continued down the trail toward the cove, where we were teased sporadically by a Song sparrow, Chipping sparrow, Chickadee, and Goldfinch. Despite hearing a few birds, seeing these small singers has become increasingly difficult due to the trees being fully leafed out. Excellent for protection and shelter of birds, but not-so-excellent for trying to see them.

When we did finally make it to the cove, we were surprised with an incredible sight. A wading Snowy egret and wading Great egret almost right next to each other! MYBC club members snuck up to the egrets to get a good look at some of their tricky to remember differences. We were able to clearly see the showier, feathery plumage of the Snowy egret along with its much smaller stature when right next to the Great egret. In addition to differences in plumage and size, we got an excellent view of the different beak colors between the two. Snowy egrets typically have black bills, while Great egrets have yellow bills! This can be a great way to tell them apart if they are too far away to compare size and plumage.

Two egrets. A Great egret to the right of the image and in the forefront. A Snowy egret to the left and back about 30 feet. The Snowy egret is facing away from the camera, but you can make out its white, fluffy plumage and black bill. The Great egret is facing to the right of the image, clearly outlined in profile view. The bright yellow bill is visible along with its white coloring and dark legs.
A wading Great egret to the right and a Snowy egret to the left. Check out the differences in size, plumage, and bill color! Photograph by Henry Malec-Scott
An Osprey flying over head. Image is looking up at the Osprey. We can clearly see it's white underbelly and hooked beak. The Osprey has its wings stretched out wide to either side.
An Osprey flying overhead. Photograph by Henry Malec-Scott

As we were observing these two wading wonders, we were interrupted by the high-pitched,

consistent squealing of an Osprey who flew right over our heads and then continued to stick around as it hunted for food. Ospreys are the only raptor who has a diet entirely of fish. Occasionally, they will eat other food, but they will always go fishing when given the choice.

After much time spent observing the Great and Snowy egrets, it was time to zip back to the parking lot. We had a wonderful morning closely observing some of the beautiful nesters we don’t get to see all winter long.

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