Monday, July 25, 2011

Sachuest Salt Marsh

I have written about Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge in the past: <http://photobee1.blogspot.com/2011/01/sachuest-and-short-eared-owls.html>
<http://photobee1.blogspot.com/2011/02/day-of-birding-and-other-items.html>
http://photobee1.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-is-common.html.
Today I am going to discuss another important part of the refuge that is Sachuest Salt Marsh. The marsh is about 45 acres in size at present. In the past the marsh was used as a municipal dump and in 1989 a restoration project was started to restore and maintain the salt marsh into its original shape. Salt marshes do require frequent title flashings to help maintain their biological character.
The marsh is located in between Second and Third Beach in Middletown Rhode Island and is best viewed from the parking lot of Third Beach. In fact the day I was there, I was joined by at least a dozen birdwatchers that came down to view the migrating shorebirds. The marsh is a great resting area for shorebirds as they make their trip both northwards in the spring and southwards in late summer and early fall.
The Fish and Wildlife Service have built a blind at the far end of the marsh, but it isn't open to the public as yet. The splined will help viewing the birds that do congregate in the far corner.
In order to best view the birds, besides binoculars a spotting scope is extremely useful. For photography I find that a long lens of between 300 to 500 mm plus teleconverters is needed especially to obtain photographs of the small shorebirds.
There is always a moderate to large number of gulls present at low tide on the marsh. Wading birds feed in the marsh and I had four different species present today. The species present were Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and a Green Heron.GBH D7K_0557 July 24, 2011NIKON D7000Great Blue HeronGreat Egret D7K_0586 July 24, 2011NIKON D7000Great Egret
 Snowy EgretD7K_0673-Edit July 24, 2011NIKON D7000
                                                                                                                                                  Snowy Egret
Morning is a great time for viewing because the Sun is at your back, also, it is best at prior to low tide and just after low tide. This helps concentrate the birds into a smaller area. At full low tide there are large stretches of open mud and the birds are more spread out.DCC adult winds spread D7K_0576 July 24, 2011NIKON D7000Double Crested ComerantDCC-cu-headD7K_0751 July 24, 2011NIKON D7000

Savannah Sparrow   Savannah Sparrow-1
 
Semi-palmated Plover-D7K_0849 July 24, 2011NIKON D7000
Semipalmated Plover



Semipalmated  SandpiperSemipalmated Sandpiper-1
The refuge is located in Middletown, Rhode Island. Take route 1 South to route 138 East, over the Newport Bridge. Take the Newport exit and pass through downtown Newport on route 138A. Once through the downtown, you will pass First (or Newport) Beach. Just past First Beach, take a right onto Purgatory Road. Take a right onto Sachuest Point Drive and follow to the end, which will bring you directly into the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge parking lot. For your GPS coordinates use, 41.479652, -71.243998. In order to reach the salt marsh, just before the Middletown campground on Sachuest Point Drive, take your left onto Third Beach Road and follow the road to Third Beach the right side of the parking lot at third Beach abuts the marsh.
Green Heron Green Heron- juv- D7K_0637 July 24, 2011NIKON D7000