Category Archives: Week Reports

This Week’s Highlights: November 26 – December 2, 2022

I found this rather cooperative, late Orange-crowned Warbler at Pond Cove in Cape Elizabeth – my 10th of the fall. Unfortunately, my camera was insisting it was the sticks I wanted a photo of, so this is the best I did.

Some of my highlights over the past seven days included the following. For the most part, my birds of note were decidedly more wintery than in the past weeks, although “late/lingering” oddities are making an appearance with the slow progression of the season and resultant concentration at seasonal hotspots.

  • 1 Red Crossbill, private property in Freeport, 11/24 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 Hermit Thrush, private property in Freeport, 11/25.
  • 1 light morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (FOS), Hinckley Road, Clinton, 11/28 (with Jeannette).
  • 59 Green-winged Teal (late, especially for such a large number), 1 Wood Duck, 6 Lesser Scaup, etc, Sebasticook Lake, 11/28 (with Jeannette).
  • 4 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYES (FOS), University of Maine – Orono Steam Plant Nature Trail, 11/28 (with Jeannette).
  • 1+ PINE GROSBEAK (FOS), Sunkhaze NWR, 11/29 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 immature Northern Shrike (FOS), Veazie Waterfront Park, 11/29 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 1st-winter Iceland Gull, Bangor Waterfront Park, 11/29 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Pond Cove, Cape Elizabeth, 12/2.
  • 1 FIELD SPARROW, 2 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, 1 imm. White-crowned Sparrow, and 1 Winter Wren, Private property in Cape Elizabeth, 12/2.
  • 4+ Red Crossbills, flying over the store, 12/2.

This Week’s Highlights: November 19 – November 25, 2022

I had a nice photo session with the late-season shorebirds at Biddeford Pool Beach on the 22nd, including this Dunlin – one of 54 present that day.

With the colder weather, we’re starting to see “late/lingering” migrants concentrating at the coast, and a smattering of rarities around the state. My observations of note over the past seven days included the following:

  •  1 Red Crossbill, Highland Road, Brunswick, 11/19 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 2 Rusty Blackbirds, our feeder in Durham, 11/19.
  • 391 Ruddy Ducks, 1 White-winged Scoter, 150 distant scaup, etc, Sabattus Pond, Sabattus, 11/21 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 1 Field Sparrow, 2 Wood Ducks, etc, Saco Riverwalk, 11/22.
  • 1 YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, South Point Preserve, Biddeford Pool, 11/22.
  • 1 Gray Catbird, 1 Chipping Sparrow, 1 Black-bellied Plover, 2 Ruddy Turnstones, etc, etc, Biddeford Pool environs, 11/22.
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, here at the store, 11/23.
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Wolfe’s Neck Center, 11/25.

This Week’s Highlights: November 11 – November 18, 2022

I found this presumptive BLACK-HEADED X RING-BILLED GULL HYBRID along Greely Road in Cumberland during steady rain in the late morning of the 13th. It looks very similar to the individual of this hybrid pair that wintered on the Falmouth waterfront for at least two years, 2019-20, and 2020-21. Could it be the same bird with a little more black on the head due to the earlier date?

Rarity season is upon us, but most of my birding this week was in and around our yard. Not that that wasn’t extremely enjoyable though!  A few forays afield did not produce those hoped-for November “Megas,” but I did see a few things of note over the past eight days including:

  • Evening Grosbeaks have been present daily at our feeders in Durham all week. 7 on 11/11 peaked at 32 on 11/12 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 Lapland Longspur (FOF), over our yard in Durham, 11/11.
  • 1 RUSTY BLACKBIRD, our feeders in Durham, 11/12 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 first-winter Iceland Gull (FOF), Thornhurst Farm, 11/13.
  • 1 PUTATIVE BLACK-HEADED X RING-BILLED GULL HYBIRD, Greely Road, Cumberland, 11/13. First distant observation in driving rain suggested a much, much darker head and mantle, but finally relocated closer to the road. Joined by Nick Lund and Reed and Laura Robinson. 
  • Red Crossbills have been regular fly-overs in our Durham yard this week, but 10 were feeding on Eastern Hemlocks on 11/17.
  • 3 continuing CANVASBACKS, 398 Ruddy Ducks, 320 mixed scaup (too far to reliably sort through, 1 Evening Grosbeak, 1 Winter Wren, etc, etc, Sabattus Pond, Sabattus, 11/17.

This Week’s Highlights: October 29 – November 4, 2022

Evening Grosbeaks are predicted to head south in good numbers this fall and winter, and the first indications of that are appearing locally. Here’s one of the 8 that arrived at our
Durham feeders on the morning of the 3rd.

My observations of note over the past seven days included the following:

  • 2 Rusty Blackbirds, Wolfe’s Neck Center, 10/29 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 4+ Red Crossbills and 1 Eastern Phoebe, Morgan Meadow WMA, 10/31 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrow (FOF), 1 Semipalmated Plover, etc, Reid State Park, Georgetown, 11/1 (with Jeannette).
  • Sandy Point Morning Flight, 11/2: 154 individuals of 18 species in what was likely my last visit of the season. Complete count here.
  • Sabattus Pond, 11/3 (with Dan Nickerson): 469 Ruddy Ducks, 79 Greater Scaup, 55 Lesser Scaup, 2 Common Goldeneyes (FOF), etc.
  • 8 EVENING GROSBEAKS, our feeders in Durham, 11/3 (first of fall locally; photo above).

This Week’s Highlights: October 15 -21, 2022

I spent a lot of time looking at sparrows this week, as I love to do in October. This snappy immature White-crowned Sparrow was at Wolfe’s Neck Center on the 16th.

My observations of note over the past seven days included the following:

  • 1 continuing HUDSONIAN GODWIT, Wharton Point, Brunswick, 10/15 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group; the 247th all-time Saturday Morning Birdwalk species!). Observed at closer range later from the Maquoit Bay Conservation Land.
  • 1 Indigo Bunting, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 10/16.
  • Incredibly morning at Bailey Island, Harpswell with Jeannette on 10/17: 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 1 CAPE MAY WARBLER, 1 Blue-headed Vireo, 1 Red-eyed Vireo.  6 total species of warblers; 7 species of sparrows. 400+ Dark-eyed Juncos, 200+ Yellow-rumped Warblers, 150+ White-throated Sparrows, 150+ Song Sparrows, etc, etc.
  • 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, our yard in Durham, 10/17.
  • 1 Red Crossbill, our yard in Durham, 10/19.
  • 353 Ruddy Ducks, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 61 Lesser Scaup, 18 Greater Scaup, etc, Sabattus Pond, Sabattus, 10/20.
  • 2 EVENING GROSBEAKS, 1 Common Yellowthroat, 50+ Swamp Sparrows, etc, Old Town House Park, North Yarmouth, 10/21.
I whiffed on phone-binning an Orange-crowned Warbler at Bailey Island on the 17th as I apparently followed the wrong bird. Turned out the other bird was this tardy Blue-headed Vireo, however.

This Week’s Highlights: October 8 -14, 2022

Northern Fulmar on our ½ day Pelagic on Tuesday.

My birding levels were closer to par for me this week, albeit concentrated on building our new yard list! The last two group tours of the year – both by boat – were conducted this week, with overall great success. It was also nice to have a few mornings to get some casual birding in before work. This is my favorite time of the birding year, afterall!

  • 1 Marsh Wren (in a dry patch of burdock!), our yard in Durham, 10/8.
  • 1 Bobolink, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 10/8 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 Long-tailed Duck (first of fall), 3 Snowy Egrets, 115 Surf Scoters, etc, Birds of Casco Bay Boat Tour, 10/9.
  • 1 Indigo Bunting in a very light morning flight at Sandy Point, Cousin’s Island, Yarmouth, 10/10 (total – 87 migrants).
  • ½ Day Pelagic out of Boothbay Harbor on 10/11: 1 Common Murre, 1 Parasitic Jaeger, 1 Pomarine Jaeger, 3 Northern Fulmars, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, etc.  Full trip report with photos and annotated checklist, along with my Stercorariidae mea culpa can be seen here.
  • Sabattus Pond, Sabattus, 10/13: 158 RUDDY DUCKS, 84 Lesser Scaup, 56 Greater Scaup, 2 American Wigeon, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Ring-necked Duck, etc.

This Week’s Highlights: September 22- October 7, 2022.

“Warblers on the ground” was the theme of this year’s Monhegan Fall Migration Weekend tour. While Blackpoll Warblers dominated the apple piles, this Cape May Warbler was my favorite photo subject.

It’s been a crazy two weeks! Other than two wonderful weekends on Monhegan – personal and professional – and an incredibly Sandy Point Morning Flight last week, my birding has been seriously limited. With the weather pattern and so many rarities around, this was frustrating, but as of today, we have (mostly) completed our move from Pownal to Durham. 

  • Monhegan Island, 9/22-9/26. Highlights included 1 LARK SPARROW, 6 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, 3 CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, 2 DICKCISSELS, 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 16 species of warblers, and an insane falcon show. Complete Tour Report and daily checklist here. 
  • Sandy Point Morning Flight, 9/29: 6,183 migrants of 69 species highlighted by 1 BLUE GROSBEAK, 20 species of warblers, and my 195th all-time patch bird in 2 high-flying Little Blue Herons!  It was a great enough day to deserve its own blog, which can be found here.
  • 1 Brown Thrasher, here at the store, 9/29. Our second ever in the garden here.
  • Pownal Morning Flight, 9/30: 289 individuals of 29 species. Complete list here. Our last morning flight at our old property, with a final yard list of 136.
  • Monhegan Island, 9/30-10/2 with Jeannette. We were here for a friends’ event, so birding was not always the priority. Nonetheless, we had some good birds included the continuing juvenile RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, at least one continuing CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and DICKCISSEL, 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker, our first coastal Pine Siskin of the fall, a late Veery, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in every apple tree, warblers on the ground, and a big Yellow-rumped Warbler morning flight on the 1st

This Week’s Highlights: September 10-16, 2022

Jeannette and I spent some quality time with “sharp-tailed sparrows” in Scarborough Marsh on Tuesday. It’s even more of a challenge this time of year with some birds still molting (such as the Saltmarsh Sparrow on the left) and other birds in fresh plumage, such as this apparent Nelson’s Sparrow on the right
(although a hybrid may be impossible to rule out).

Unlike last week, I was out birding plenty this week, including some of my favorite fall activities: Sandy Point and sorting through shorebirds.  Here are my observations of note over the past seven days:

  • Morning flight over our Pownal yard, 9/10: 6:15-7:30am: 250+ warblers of at least 10 species, led by 40++ Northern Parulas and including 1 Bay-breasted and 2++ Cape May Warbler.
  • “Zeiss Day” Hakwatch right here at the store, 9/10 (with Rich Moncrief): 95 individuals of 11 species of raptors led by 21 Ospreys and 18 Broad-winged Hawks.  Full count here.
  • 20-25 Common Nighthawks, over our yard in Pownal at dusk, 9/10, and 5-10 on 9/11.
  • 6 Northern Waterthrushes, 6 Swainson’s Thrushes, etc, Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 9/11 (with Down East Adventures Fall Songbird Workshop group).
  • 3 Saltmarsh Sparrows, 2 Nelson’s Sparrows, 15+ “sharp-tailed sparrow sp.,” 5 Pectoral Sandpipers, etc, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 9/13 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 3rd-cycle LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, Pine Point, Scarborough, 9/14 (with clients from CA and CO).
  • 1 juv. WESTERN SANDPIPER, Biddeford Pool Beach, Biddeford, 9/14 (with clients from CA and CO; Noah Gibb photo).
  • 1500-2000 Tree Swallows, Mile Stretch, Biddeford, 9/14 (with clients from CA and CO).
  • Sandy Point Morning Flight, 9/15: 2,115 migrants of 40 species including 15 species of wablers. Full count here.
  • Sandy Point Morning Flight, 9/16: 394 migrants of 33 species including 12 species of warblers. Full count here.

This Week’s Highlights: September 5-9, 2022

Incredibly, there are still White Ibis in the Webhannet Marsh of Wells. Present since 8/10, I had at least 7 birds on the 9th, including a group of 6 that was relatively close to Drake’s Island Road.

After returning from a weekend in Massachusetts, I was unfortunately unable to get in much birding over the past six days, other than our yard and morning dogwalks. However, our yard in particular has been very productive, including over a dozen species of warblers and three continuing juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.  Furthermore, since the storm pulled away, dead calm nights have precluded any drifting of migrants and therefore there wasn’t a single morning where I attempted a morning flight count at Sandy Point. Therefore, my observations of note over the past 5 days was limited to Friday, when I actually went birding. The highlights included:

  • 1 adult with 1 juvenile CASPIAN TERN and four Common Nighthawks, Seapoint Beach, Kittery, 9/9.
  • 1 immature Great Cormorant, The Nubble, Cape Neddick, 9/9.
  • 7 continuing WHITE IBIS, Webhannet Marsh, Wells, 9/9. 1 distant to the south of Harbor Road and 6 close to Drake’s Island Road in the early pm high tide.

Tomorrow (Saturday, 9/10) is our second Zeiss Day here at the store. We’ll have a full range of Zeiss products to test drive during our morning birdwalk, and day-long hawkwatch.  For more information, see this link on our website.

The weather conditions precluded time at Sandy Point this week, but I was also suffering from peep withdrawal. Luckily, I had 255 Semipalmated and 12 Least Sandpipers to sort through at Kittery’s Seapoint Beach on Friday morning. Couldn’t tease out a rarity though, but I tried.

This Week’s Highlights, August 24-September 2, 2022

The amazing run of ultra-rare raptors in Maine continued with the all-too-short visit of a Eurasian (Western) Marsh Harrier last week. First found on North Haven on 8/25, it was then relocated the next day in Weskeag Marsh. I finished a tour that morning and raced eastward to South Thomaston. After waiting only 20 minutes (others had been waiting nearly 5 hours), it appeared and put on a show for about 30-45 minutes.  After a reappearance the next morning, it has disappeared up birders up and down the East Coast are on high alert!

After returning from our summer vacation to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (see link)…

…my observations of note over the past seven days included:

  • EURASIAN (WESTERN) MARSH HARRIER, Weskeag Marsh, South Thomaston, 8/26 (with Evan Obercian and m.obs). Photo above.
  • 1 Olive-sided Flycatcher, Highland Road, Brunswick, 8/27 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 154 Snowy Egrets, 106 Green-winged Teal, etc, etc, Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/28.
  • 1 continuing proposed TRICOLORED HERON X SNOWY EGRET X SNOWY EGRET hybrid, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 8/28.
  • 7 continuing WHITE IBIS in non-exhaustive search, Harbor Road, Wells, 8/30 (with Jeannette).
  • 6 SANDHILL CRANES (two pairs with one juvenile each), Mayall Road, Gray/New Gloucester, 9/1.
  • SANDY POINT MORNING FLIGHT (FOY), 9/2: 482 total individuals including 2 DICKCISSELS and 20 species of warblers.  Complete tally here.

And my shorebird high counts over these past ten days included some fine tallies but much reduced diversity, mostly due to recent heavy rains filling the best high-marsh salt pannes:

  • AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER: 2 ad, Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/28.
  • Black-bellied Plover: 118, Wharton Point, Brunswick, 8/27 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • Killdeer: 14, Mayall Road, Gray/New Gloucester, 8/25.
  • Semipalmated Plover: 179, Pine Point, 8/28.
  • Sanderling: 2, Sebago Lake State Park (rare inland), 8/25.
  • Least Sandpiper: 66, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 8/28.
  • White-rumped Sandpiper: 8, Pine Point, 8/28.
  • Pectoral Sandpiper: 1, Eastern Road Trail, 8/28 and Walsh Preserve, Yarmouth, 8/30.
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper: 1,000++, Weskeag Marsh, South Thomaston, 8/26. Honorary mention of 45-500 at Wharton Point on 8/27 – my highest tally here in years (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • Short-billed Dowitcher: 24, Pine Point, 8/28.
  • Spotted Sandpiper: 2, Sebago Lake State Park, 8/25.
  • Solitary Sandpiper: 1, several locations this week.
  • Lesser Yellowlegs: 48, Walsh Preserve, Yarmouth, 8/30.
  • “Eastern” Willet: 16, Pine Point, 8/28.
  • Greater Yellowlegs: 15, Weskeag Marsh, South Thomaston, 8/26.
Just a very small part of an impressive feeding frenzy of Double-crested Cormorants and
Snowy Egrets that were at Pine Point in Scarborough on the 25th.