Yellow, September!

If months had a color, September would be yellow, thanks to the sunflowers, yarrow, and especially the goldenrods growing along roadsides, unmowed fields, meadows, marshes, and beaches. There is more yellow to be found.

Shorebirds are migrating, and yellow bills and legs are distinguishing features of many, including, of course, Greater Yellowlegs, a relatively large shorebird seen this year at Bass Harbor Marsh, Wonderland, and Seawall. However, more people have seen the similar but smaller Lesser Yellowlegs, including at Bass Harbor, where Champlain Society member Charles Townsend found them common in August 1880. Migrating now are the young birds that hatched this year in boreal wetlands to the north.

Pectoral Sandpiper also has yellow legs, but is smaller than Lesser Yellowlegs. Pectoral Sandpiper was seen at Bass Harbor by Champlain Society member Henry Spelman in early September 1882. Writing in 1941, Carroll Tyson and James Bond described the Pectoral Sandpiper as a “Common transient often seen in late summer.” Recent observations in eBird affirm this, and sightings now extend into October.

Blending in with dried stalks of reeds and browning vegetation in marshes are the pale yellow streaks on the neck and bill of the American Bittern. The American Bittern breeds in Acadia, and migrates to the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America for the winter. One was seen at Bass Harbor by Henry Spelman in early September 1882. Tyson and Bond wrote, “This is a rare and local summer resident on Mt. Desert Island, nesting occasionally in Fresh Meadow, in the marshes bordering Aunt Betty’s and Seal Cove Ponds, and probably in other swamps on the island.” Observations submitted to eBird suggest this species remains uncommon.

Read more about yellow bees, moths, and more at

Publicado por schoodicscicomm schoodicscicomm, 14 de septiembre de 2021


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