This Great-crested Flycatcher seemed a little out of place at the shore. I'm used to seeing them in more wooded areas. They were nesting and made sure that we knew it.
The best way to tell Empidonax flycatchers apart is to listen to their call. I'm guessing that this might be a Willow Flycatcher because it had a sort of orangish bill and not much of an eye-ring. But that's just a guess.
It was near the nature center that I saw my first Purple Martins. What struck me most about this species was just how large they were! They are only about 8" long with a wingspan of 18" but compared to other swallow species they seem like giants! They way about 3 times as much as a Tree Swallow. As we worked our way along the first path at Willard Island Trail, we saw several Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows. They have a nice orange color in a triangular pattern on the side of their face and crisply streaked underparts. Also, their heads have a little bit of a flat shape compared to other sparrows. Along the same area, we heard a Marsh Wren singing. I was able to get a brief look at one but they ike to stay dwon in cover.
I was also rewarded with my first sightings of Little Blue Herons. We actually saw several of them flying around the area. This photo shows it as a kind of bland looking adult bird in non-breeding plumage. I did have a nice view of one that showed a nice iridescence as the sun reflected off of its feathers. Juvenile Little Blue Herons are white and easily confused with immature snowy egrets. The juvenile Little Blue Heron is distinguished from the snowy by its two-toned bill which is thick and at the base and dark at the tip.
My first birding trip to Hammonasset in July turned out to be a good decision! I'm looking forward to making more visits to the shoreline before the summer is over.