Monthly Archives: January 2023

This Week’s Highlights: January 13-17, 2023.

A remarkable bird for Maine, let alone in under-birded (away from Sabattus Pond anyway) Androscoggin County, I was privileged to be able to visit this Harris’s Sparrow on private property in Turner on the 13th, the day after we returned from vacation. It was most cooperative, being constantly in view for the 35 minutes I was there. Unfortunately, it was a dark and dreary morning, so my photos leave something to be desired!

A few observations of note over the past five days as I tried to squeeze in as much birding as I could before I undergo shoulder surgery included the following. Even if I missed the Livermore Falls Townsend’s Solitaire twice (darn it), it was a very productive week, headlined by my second Harris’s Sparrow in Maine (and one of my favorite sparrows, too!).

  • 1 female Barrow’s Goldeneye, Bernard Lown Peace Bridge, Lewiston/Auburn, 1/13.
  • 1 adult Iceland Gull, North River Road boat launch, Auburn, 1/13.
  • 1 continuing HARRIS’S SPARROW (present since 1/11), private property in Turner, 1/13 (photo above).
  • 1 Pine Grosbeak (first of season), Hillman Ferry Road, Livermore Falls, 1/13 (did not find the Townsend’s Solitaire that day, unfortunately).
  • 2 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, between Winslow Park and the Harraseekett Yacht Club, South Freeport, 1/14 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 8 Black-legged Kittiwakes, Short Sands Beach, York, 1/15 (with Down East Adventures Winter Waterbirds Workshop group).
  • 1 adult Iceland Gull, The Nubble, York, 1/15 (with Down East Adventures Winter Waterbirds Workshop group).
  • 374!!! BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, Pearl Road, Turner, 1/16 (with Jeannette). Photo below.
  • 1 female Green-winged Teal and 1 1st-winter Iceland Gull, Mill Creek Cove and Park, South Portland, 1/17.

A very small portion of the 374 Bohemian Waxwings that Jeannette and I counted on Monday in Turner. It was a big week for Androscoggin County!

2023 Down East Adventures Birding Tours.

Freeport Wild Bird Supply is very excited to partner with Down East Magazine’s Down East Adventures for our third year. In 2023, we are expanding our offerings to include two exclusive overnight trips, along with our popular ½- and whole-day targeted workshops.  Focused on skill-builder rather than list-building, there will be plenty of “life birds,” but also more knowledge and education about birds, habitats, birding, and much more about the natural world.

The full list of upcoming tours can be found here.   At the conclusion of each tour, I’ll post the trip report here.

  • Winter Waterbirds Workshop, January 15.

Caption: This Purple Sandpiper was about as cooperative as it gets for us at Sohier Park in York.  Later, it was joined by its friends (photo below).  This is really a lovely shorebird when viewed as well and as close as we experienced.

Extremely strong winds and very high seas presented a challenge as we sought out wintering waterbirds along the southern York County Coast. We worked hard to find sheltered water where we could observe birds well, but when we did find that secluded cove, peninsula lee, or rivermouth, we were treated to incredible looks at many of the birds we had hoped for.

We looked down on Red-breasted Mergansers at Perkin’s Cove, and you’ll never be closer to a Common Loon than we were at the Ogunquit Rivermouth. We checked a few more locations than I usually need to on this tour, but our most productive spot was the southern shoreline of Sohier Park at The Nubble. There, we were treated to close views of Black and White-winged Scoters, Harlequin Ducks, and a most-cooperative flock of Purple Sandpipers.  We then ended the day at hidden Abbott’s Pond, where we enjoyed a break for the wind, close comparisons to study details between Mallards, American Black Ducks, and hybrids thereof. 

Meanwhile, a group of 8 or so Black-legged Kittiwakes were feeding off of Short Sands Beach, and a stunning adult Iceland Gull passed by at The Nubble. Unfortunately, the seas were just a little too rough to find any alcids today, but we knew they were out there!

  • Spring Migrant Songbirds Workshop, May 14.
  • Rangeley Birding Workshop, June 6-8.
  • Shorebirds Workshop, August 10.
  • Monhegan Birding Workshop, September 23-25.

And since these Down East Tours fill up fast, don’t forget we offer a wide range of other tours, as well as private guiding services.

This Week’s Highlights: December 31, 2022 to January 2, 2023.

It took over a month, but I finally made time to look for the Townsend’s Solitaire in Wells on the 2nd. Quality time with it was a worthy consolation for just missing the Northern Lapwing in Arundel that departed this morning.

A few observations of note over the past three days before we head off on vacation included the following:

  • 1 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYE (first of season locally) and 19 DUNLIN, Winslow Park, Freeport, 12/31 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 40 continuing American Coots, 6 Ring-necked Ducks, 14 Lesser Scaup, 10 Greater Scaup, etc, Chickawaukie Pond, Rockland (with Paul Dioron, Kristen Lindquist, and Jeannette).
  • 1 continuing Killdeer, Arundel Road, Kennebunkport, 1/2. I missed the Northern Lapwing by 28 minutes.
  • 1 continuing TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE, Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm, 1/2. After about 45 minutes, heard calling from marsh edge north of viewing platform on Laird-Norton Trail. Called as Eastern Bluebirds arrived, often chasing or at least following them. Followed them right through viewing platform and alighted in small tree only about 30 feet away. Unfortunately, it was backlit for photos, but great look. Vocal and conspicuous for 15-20 minutes until bluebirds flew out across marsh. Photo above.
  • And as the calendar changes, it’s time for my annual Predictions Blog where I attempt to forecast the next 25 birds to occur in Maine, and for my own list: