Monthly Archives: December 2021

This Week’s Highlights, 12/18-24, 2021

After receiving photos of what appeared to be an all-dark Euphagus blackbird reported as being “glossy” at times- and without the bill visible – a few of us went out to get better looks in the freezing rain on the 22nd. It wasn’t until the bird showed up at a feeder and we were able to photograph it at close range that we confirmed it was just a truant, exceptionally dark-for-the-season Rusty Blackbird (note the very subtle rufous fringes
on the head and breast and the thin, slightly downcurved bill).

Southern York County CBC, “Moody Sector” of Wells and Ogunquit, 12/20 (with Jeannette).

As usual, our incredibly productive territory produced a number of “good birds” and a decent 57 total species:

  • 144 Canada Geese
  • 232 Mallards
  • 2 Mallards x American Black Duck hybrid
  • 81 American Black Ducks
  • 3 NORTHERN PINTAIL (Beach Plum Farm)
  • 4 GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Furbush Avenue)
  • 64 Common Eider
  • 46 Surf Scoter
  • 31 White-winged Scoter
  • 287 Black Scoter
  • 39 Long-tailed Duck
  • 22 Bufflehead
  • 9 Common Goldeneye
  • 22 Red-breasted Merganser
  • 3 Red-throated Loon
  • 5 Common Loon
  • 9 Horned Grebe
  • 26 Red-necked Grebe
  • 1 Northern Gannet
  • 1 Great Blue Heron
  • 1 Bald Eagle
  • 78 American Crow
  • 1 Northern Harrier
  • 1 Cooper’s Hawk
  • 2 Red-tailed Hawks
  • 1 WILSON’S SNIPE (Wells sewerage. 5th count record.)
  • 22 Ring-billed Gull
  • 161 Herring Gull
  • 1 Great Black-backed Gull
  • 2 Razorbill
  • 67 Rock Pigeon
  • 2 Mourning Dove
  • 1 SNOWY OWL (Bourne Ave)
  • 1 Belted Kingfisher
  • 12 Downy Woodpecker
  • 6 Blue Jay
  • 19 Horned Lark
  • 65 Black-capped Chickadee
  • 16 Tufted Titmice
  • 11 White-breasted Nuthatch
  • 1 Brown Creeper
  • 4 Carolina Wren
  • 3 Golden-crowned Kinglet
  • 1 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Seaview Street).
  • 12 Eastern Bluebird
  • 1 HERMIT THRUSH (Wells sewerage)
  • 3 Northern Mockingbird
  • 97 European Starling
  • 1 AMERICAN PIPIT (Bourne Avenue)
  • 16 American Tree Sparrow
  • 1 CHIPPING SPARROW (Wells sewerage)
  • 17 Song Sparrow
  • 48 Dark-eyed Junco
  • 5 White-throated Sparrow
  • 25 Northern Cardinal
  • 48 House Finch
  • 22 American Goldfinch
  • 137 House Sparrow

8 hours: 13.3 miles by car; 9.5 miles by foot.

  • No Steller’s Sea-Eagle in Massachusetts, 12/21 (with Weston Barker, Michael Boardman, and Matthew Gilbert)…but we had to try!
  • 1 RUSTY BLACKBIRD, Cathance River Preserve, Topsham, 12/22 (with Weston Barker and John Berry. Photos above and below).
  • 1 continuing drake NORTHERN PINTAIL, Androscoggin River along Rte 136, Durham, 12/23.

This Week’s Highlights, 12/11-17

Despite taking photos of all four species of warblers along the Saco Riverwalk on 12/4, the only photo even marginally useful was this mediocre one of the continuing “Western” Palm Warbler. What I do like about it, however, is that it caught the “tail flick” in action.

It was a tough week in the Maine birding world with the loss of an icon, but she would have been upset with me if I didn’t get out to do any birding this week. My observations of note over the past seven days were as follows:

  • 1 Snowy Owl, Hill’s Beach, Biddeford, 12/11.
  • 1 Lapland Longspur with 12 Snow Buntings, Day’s Landing, Biddeford Pool, 12/12 (with client from Georgia).
  • 1 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (FOS), Wood Island, Biddeford Pool, 12/12 (with client from Georgia).
  • 16 Northern Pintails, The Pool, Biddeford Pool, 12/12 (with client from Georgia).
  • 2 Snowy Owls, Biddeford Pool neighborhood, Biddeford, 12/12 (with client from Georgia).
  • 1 Pine Warbler, Bailey Island, Harpswell, 12/13 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 continuing NASHVILLE WARBLER, 1 continuing ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 1 continuing “WESTERN” PALM WARBLER, and 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, Saco Riverwalk, 12/14.
  • Scattered single Turkey Vultures throughout the week.

This Week’s Highlights, 12/4-10, 2021

Maine’s third-ever GRAY KINGBIRD has been delighting birders since late last week,

My observations of note over the past seven days were as follows, almost all of which were from a tremendous Tuesday morning, as previously reported:

1 male COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, 1 “WESTERN” PALM WARBLER, and 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, Saco Riverwalk, Saco, 12/7 (with Jeannette).

1 continuing GRAY KINGBIRD and 24 Dunlin, Fortunes Rocks Beach, Biddeford, 12/7 (with Jeannette). Photo above.

2 SNOWY OWLS, Mile Stretch, Biddeford, 12/7 (with Jeannette). Photos below.

1 continuing male CAPE MAY WARBLER, Biddeford Pool neighborhood, Biddeford, 12/7 (with Jeannette).

1 Turkey Vulture, over downtown Biddeford, 12/7 (with Jeannette).

4 Red-winged Blackbirds were at the store on 12/9 (observed by Jeanne Farrell).

1 Snow Bunting, Pott’s Point, Harpswell, 12/10.

7 Horned Larks, Stover’s Point, Harpswell, 12/10.

With the exceptions of Tuesday and Friday mornings, my birding was limited, local, and exceptionally slow!  The complete lack of irruptives (other than an average number so far of Snowy Owls) south of the boreal transition belt, along with continued relatively-mild conditions that limit concentrations (including at feeders and of waterfowl) make for slim pickings on those short morning outings and dogwalks!

Good owl photos are of birds looking relaxed and ignoring you.
If it’s staring right at you with big open eyes, you are too close!

This Week’s Highlights, 11/27-12/3, 2021.

Four of the five dapper drake Barrow’s Goldeneyes that Jeannette and I saw in the Penobscot River from the University of Maine-Orono campus on 11/30. This was the largest group that I have seen
in several years in the state, sadly.

My observations of note over the past seven days were as follows:

  • 6 Dunlin, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 3 1st-cycle Iceland Gulls, Shawmut Dam from River Road, Fairfield, 11/29 (with Jeannette).
  • 5 Green-winged Teal, 8 Lesser Scaup, etc, Sebasticook Lake, 11/29 (with Jeannette).
  • 5 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Penobscot River at University of Maine campus, 11/29 (with Jeannette).
  • 2 Red Crossbills, Sunkhaze NWR, 11/30 (with Jeannette)
  • 4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS and 2 Red Crossbills, Stud Mill Road, 11/30 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 hen American Wigeon, random lone flyover over Saxl Park, Bangor, 11/30 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 drake Northern Pintail, Androscoggin River from Rte. 136, Durham, 12/3.