Category Archives: Week Reports

This Week’s Highlights, April 2-8, 2022.

A distantly-phone-scoped photo of a drake Eurasian Wigeon does not do this spiffy bird justice!

A few “good” ducks, an increasing roster of new arrivals, and a successful tour were my sightings of note over the past seven days:

  • 12 NORTHERN SHOVELERS (one of my highest Maine counts), Maquoit Bay Conservation Land, Brunswick, 4/2 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 continuing drake EURASIAN WIGEON, Route 136, Durham, 4/7 (photo above). Originally found by N. Gibb on 4/3.

New Arrivals this week:

  • 2 Pied-billed Grebes (FOY), Florida Lake Park, Freeport, 4/3 (with Levi Burford and Katrina Fenton).
  • 5 Tree Swallows (FOY), Morgan Meadow WMA, 4/4 (with Jeannette).
  • 8 Great Egrets (FOY), Scarborough Marsh, 4/4 (with Levi Burford and Katrina Fenton).
  • 1 Snowy Egret (FOY), Scarborough Marsh, 4/4 (with Levi Burford and Katrina Fenton).
  • 1 Greater Yellowlegs (FOY), Scarborough Marsh, 4/4 (with Levi Burford and Katrina Fenton).
  • 1 Double-crested Cormorant (FOS), Scarborough Marsh, 4/4 (with Levi Burford and Katrina Fenton).
  • Big arrival of more Eastern Phoebes and Song Sparrows in particular night of 4/5-6.
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (FOY), private property in Durham, 4/7 (with Jeannette).

This Week’s Highlights, March 26-April 1, 2022.

Red-throated Loon, Race Point, Cape Cod.

Jeannette and I escaped for a long weekend in Cape Cod, Friday through Monday. We were mostly looking for North Atlantic Right Whales, but of course we did some birding too!  Jeannette’s whale and bird photos from the weekend are posted in this short blog about our trip:

Meanwhile, back in Maine, the strong northwesterly winds slowed the pace of migration. However, by week’s end, I had some time do a little local birding, producing the following highlights:

  • 1 Winter Wren (FOY), our yard in Pownal, 3/31.
  • 3+ American Wigeon, 2+ Northern Pintail, 30+ Wood Ducks, etc, Route 136 fields, Durham, 3/31.
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe (FOY), Thornhurst Farm, North Yarmouth, 3/31.
  • 1 Osprey (FOY), Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 4/1.

The weather is looking good for Saturday night for our annual “Woodcocks Gone Wild” evening.  If there’s any uncertainty about when the forecast winds will diminish, be sure to check the News Page of our website. More information about the tour, and last year’s trip report, can be found here.

This Week’s Highlights, March 19-24, 2022.

My personal highlights over the past six were as follows. Not surprisingly, it was mostly first-of-year new arrivals. The new bird for my Bradbury Mountain list, however, was definitely more of a surprise!

  • 3 male and 1 female NORTHERN SHOVELERS (FOY), 100+ Greater and 10+ Lesser Scaup, 1 drake American Wigeon, 1 Bonaparte’s Gull (FOY), etc, Wharton Point, Brunswick, 3/19 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 4 Horned Larks and 1 American Wigeon, Highland Road, Brunswick, 3/19 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 2 Eastern Meadowlarks (FOY) and 5 Brown-headed Cowbirds (FOY), Chesley Hill Road, Durham, 3/20.
  • 1 Great Blue Heron (FOS), Cousin’s River Marsh, 3/20.
  • 4 American Kestrels (FOY), Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 3/20.
  • 1 adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, fly-by at the Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 3/20 (with Zane Baker). This was my 142nd all-time Bradbury Mountain State Park species!
  • 20 Ring-necked Ducks (FOY), 2 American Wigeon, etc, Mouth of the Abagadasset River, Bowdoinham, 3/21 (with Jeannette).
  • 6 Fish Crows (FOY), Maine Mall Road, 3/22.
  • 6 Brant, Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, 3/22.
  • 7+ American Woodcocks, Pownal, 3/23 (with Jeannette).

And in case you missed it, I was one of the guests on Thursday’s Maine Calling, talking about spring migration, bird feeding, and bird health. You can listen to the replay of the episode here.

And finally, our spring tour season gets kicked off next Saturday with our annual “Woodcocks Gone Wild!” See the Tours page of our website for more info.

This Week’s Highlights, March 12-18, 2022.

The 16th Annual Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch got off to a great – and mild – start this week. Not surprisingly, most of my birding time this week was spent on the mountain. For more information about the project, visit: https://www.freeportwildbirdsupply.com/post/the-bradbury-mountain-spring-hawkwatch-gets-underway-tuesday-3-15

My personal highlights over the past seven days were as follows, mostly new spring arrivals as expected for the middle of March:

  • 1 pair American Wigeon, Thornhurst Farm, North Yarmouth, 3/12 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 pair Northern Pintail, Riverbank Park, Westbrook, 3/14 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 NORTHERN GOSHAWK (FOY) and 4 Red-shouldered Hawks (FOY), Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, 3/15.
  • 1 Fox Sparrow (FOY) and 1 Northern Flicker (FOS), Bradbury-Pinelands Corridor Trail, Pownal, 3/18.

This Week’s Highlights, 3/5-11, 2022.

The photo of the week was this cute and cuddly Porcupine from Stud Mill Road on 3/6.

It was another busy week of birding for me! And it was another great week of birding, with the vanguard of spring migration coupled with lots of winter specialties still around – and a lot more finches! Turkey Vulture, Red-winged Blackbird, and Common Grackle numbers were slowly increasing by week’s end.  Scattered Pine Siskins are now reaching the coastal plain (from the north, west, or south?). My observations of note over the past seven days were as follows:

  • 1 drake Northern Pintail, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 3/5 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 3+ Lapland Longspurs with 100+ Snow Buntings and 40+ Horned Larks, Flood Farm, Clinton, 3/6 (with clients from Texas).
  • ~35 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, Stillwater Avenue, Orono, 3/7 (with clients from Texas).
  • Sunkhaze NWR/Stud Mill Road finch report (from a few hours in the pm on 3/6 and two hours in the early morning on 3/7 (with clients from Texas):

Pine Siskins: many hundreds, including numerous flocks of 50-75+

Purple Finches and American Goldfinch: scattered small numbers; groups up to 10-12.

WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS: Scattered individuals and small groups including one cluster of 4+ singing males.

Red Crossbills: Scattered individuals and one small group of 8. No recordings were successfully obtained.

Common Redpoll: One flock of 60-75; a few singles with other finches.

  • 1 first-winter Iceland Gull and 1 drake Lesser Scaup, Auburn Riverwalk, 3/10.

This Week’s Highlights, 2/26-3/4, 2022

There are few better places to photograph Wood Ducks in Maine than Abbott’s Pond (aka the “York Duck Pond”) in York. A quick stop here on Friday with clients visiting from Texas afforded some great photo ops!

It was a busy – and exceptionally productive – birding week for me! The extensive list of highlights – including two full days of private guiding which cleaned up on most of our regular wintering species in southern Maine – were as follows:

  • 7 BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Winslow Park, Freeport, 2/26 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk Group). Two days later, on 2/28, Allison Anholt, Cameron Cox, Jeannette, and I had an incredible EIGHT birds (4 pairs). This is my highest count here (or anywhere else in southern Maine) in nearly a decade.  At least 6 were still present on 3/3 (with clients from Texas). 
  • 1 first-winter Glaucous Gull, Winslow Park, Freeport, 2/26 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk Group).
  • 1 interesting, likely hybrid GLAUCOUS GULL X HERRING GULL, Bath Landfill, 3/1 (with Jeannette).  Showing characteristics consistent of this fairly-regular hybrid pair, the much darker primaries suggest the possibility of a second-generation hybrid – perhaps a backcross with a Herring Gull. Discussion on this bird continues but this is the current consensus. Unfortunately, the phone-scoped photos were further challenged by photographing through the debris netting.
  • 1 drake Northern Pintail, Falmouth Town Landing, 3/2.
  • 1 2nd winter Iceland Gull, Mill Creek Cove, South Portland, 3/3 (with clients from Texas).
  • 1 Killdeer (FOY), Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, 3/3 (with clients from Texas).
  • 4 Brant, Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, 3/3 (with clients from Texas).
  • 3 Green-winged Teal, Bayshore Road, Falmouth, 3/3 (with clients from Texas).
  • 1 first-winter Iceland Gull, Winslow Park, 3/3 (with clients from Texas).
  • 25 Horned Larks, 1 pair American Wigeon, 1 pair Northern Pintails, etc, The Pool, Biddeford Pool, 3/4 (with clients from Texas).
  • 1 continuing PACIFIC LOON, The Cliff House, York (with clients from Texas).
  • 1 continuing pair Wood Ducks and 1 female Green-winged Teal, Abbott’s Pond, York, (with clients from Texas). Photo above.

This Week’s Highlights, 2/19-25, 2022.

This ultra-confiding Harlequin Duck wowed the crowd at Sohier Park (the Nubble) in York during my Winter Waterbird Workshop for Down East Magazine’s Down East Adventures tour group on the 20th. 

A handful of observations of note over the past seven days included both signs of spring and winter specialties.

  • 2 male, 1 female BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Winslow Park, Freeport, 2/19 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 male Red-winged Blackbird, wicked early FOY, feeders here at the store, 2/19-present. Four as of 2/23.
  • 1 THICK-BILLED MURRE, The Cliff House, Ogunquit, 2/20 (with Down East Adventures Winter Waterbird Workshop group).
  • 1 first-winter Iceland Gull, Auburn Riverwalk, 2/22 (with Jeannette).
  • 6 Common Grackles (FOY), Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 2/24.
  • 1 female Northern Pintail, Riverbank Park, Westbrook, 2/24.

This Week’s Highlights, 2/16-18, 2022.

This spiffy adult Black-headed Gull surprised me at Wharton Point on the 17th. The bird was so pink on the breast that I nearly had a heart-attack when this is the first thing that caught my eye.

Returning from vacation late on Tuesday night, it was right back to work. But a limited time out and about on Thursday morning followed by a full-day of private guiding on Friday produced several highlights:

  • 1 adult BLACK-HEADED GULL, Wharton Point, Brunswick, 2/17 (photo above).
  • THE STELLER’S SEA-EAGLE, Rte 127 bridge between Arrowsic and Georgetown, 2/18, 10:45 to 12:30pm (with clients from Delaware). While searching for it earlier – as well as while watching it  and birding elsewhere thereafter – the number of Bald Eagles in the air today was impressive. We had at least 25 over the course of the day. But many were pairs in courtship flight. It made we wonder if the recent unpredictable movements of the Steller’s was related to increased territoriality in our local, abundant Bald Eagles.  Here’s a distantly-phone-scoped-with-wind-driven-scope-shake-and-cold-hands for what it’s worth.
  • 1 drake and 2 hen BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Doughty Cove, Brunswick/Harpswell, 2/18 (with clients from Delaware).
  • 3 Turkey Vultures, over downtown Bath, 2/18 (with clients from Delaware).
  • 3 Turkey Vultures, over the store here in Freeport, 2/18.

This Week’s Highlights, 1/29-2/6, 2022

While not the rarest bird this week, I have been thoroughly entertained by this Brown Creeper who has taken to picking up bits of seed from under a feeder at our home in Pownal. The horizontal position makes the bird look so different! Sorry for the lousy photos though…they were taken through a screen during the ice/snow storm on 2/4.

The Blizzard of 2022 provided some great opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing locally for the first time this winter, so I took full advantage of that, even if it did further limit my dedicated birding during this busy week plus.  Interestingly, my most “serious” birding was a half day (post-snowblowing and shoveling) on Sunday searching Portland through Cape Elizabeth for storm-related birds, but that effort turned up nothing at all of note! Here are my observations of note over the past 9 days:

  • 5 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, 2 COMMON REDPOLLS (FOY), 6 Pine Siskins (FOY), and 1 Purple Finch, Long Falls Dam Road area of Carrying Place Township, 1/31 (with Jeannette).
  • The Androscoggin River between the downtowns of Lewiston and Auburn remain a surprisingly productive mid-winter hotspot. On 2/1, Jeannette and I discovered an incredible (especially for the interior of Maine) five species of dabblers from the Auburn Riverwalk!  Amongst the Mallards and a couple of American Black Ducks, there were single female GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, and NORTHERN PINTAIL.  Making this even more interesting is the fact that it’s usually the drakes that we find overwintering in Maine.  Additionally, the drake RING-NECKED DUCK continues, and we had a single 1st-winter Iceland Gull. Two Bufflehead and 5 Hooded Mergansers joined the usual Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers for a goodly inland total of 10 species of waterfowl. A unusually conspicuous Beaver continues to amuse here as well.
  • 3 drake and 1 hen BARROW’S GOLDENEYES and 8 Dunlin (FOW here), Winslow Park, Freeport, 2/13.

Other Notes:

  • My article – a 13-page photo salon – on the Hybrid Herons of Scarborough Marsh (Patches!) has finally been published in the most recent issue of North American Birds. In it, I lay out the theory that at least 5 different individuals have been seen in Scarborough Marsh since I first found an odd juvenile heron in July of 2012 that we now believe is a hybrid between a Snowy Egret and a Tricolored Heron.

I made the case that the two current birds are backcrosses, one with a Snowy Egret (SNEG X TRHE X SNEG) and the other with a Little Egret (SNEG X TRHE X LIEG). I’ll be watching them carefully for the potential of a developing hybrid swarm.

Unfortunately, at this time, the journal is only available online to members of the ABA. However, digital e-memberships (with access to all of the ABA publications) are only $30 a year, and you can purchase issues of the magazine directly from the ABA by emailing info@aba.org. Also, if you wanted to take a peek at the article, I do have a couple of extra copies here at the store for you to peruse.

Believe it or not, a hybrid heron is much rarer than a Steller’s Sea-Eagle, at least from a world perspective…in fact, it’s possible these birds are one of a kind!

This Week’s Highlights, 1/22-28, 2022

While we didn’t see the Steller’s Sea-Eagle in two full days of searching this week, we did enjoy some great birds and photo ops during our search. I spotted this Barred Owl alongside a road on Southport Island as it emerged from a roosting cavity in the late afternoon on the 25th and Jeannette got some photos out the car window.

It was another great week of winter birding for me! Unfortunately, we had friends visiting for three days and the Steller’s Sea-Eagle was not seen on any of them. In fact, it has not been seen since Monday morning, 1/24 in the Boothbay area. I joined them for two days of searching, and we did have several birds of note as we scoured the area thoroughly. Meanwhile, with the deep freeze continuing, river ice is building up and so it was a great week to see Barrow’s Goldeneyes – one of my favorite winter birds in Maine.

  • 6 (!) BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Winslow Park, Freeport, 1/22 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group). This is my highest count in at least 4-5 years here.
  • 1 continuing adult female BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, Bernard Lown Peace Bridge, Auburn, 1/23.
  • 2 first-winter Iceland Gulls, Auburn Riverwalk, 1/23.
  • 1 adult Peregrine Falcon, Upper Street, Turner, 1/23 – I rarely see them away from downtown L-A in Androscoggin County, especially in winter. I would have assumed this was one of those Lewiston birds but I had just left the pair looking content in downtown. Not that I drive faster than a Peregrine, mind you.
  • 1 Turkey Vulture, Drake’s Island, Wells, 1/24 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Horned Lark, Parson’s Beach, Kennebunk, 1/24 (with Jeannette).
  • 18+ Razorbills, Spruce Point Inn, Boothbay, 1/25 (with Tom Reed, Emily Wilmoth, and Jeannette).
  • 1 pair BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Doughty Cove, Harpswell, 1/27 (with Tom Reed, Emily Wilmoth, and Jeannette).
  • 1 SNOWY OWL, Land’s End, Bailey Island, Harpswell, 1/27 (with Tom Reed). This was a really incredible and memorable sighting. In the desperate searching for the Steller’s Sea-Eagle, I was following a very distant eagle (it was a Bald) out over the bay to our east when I called out “I think I have an owl!” Materializing out of the distance and heat shimmer, it took a while for us to identify it as a Snowy Owl. We followed it for several minutes as it finally came closer and passed by, landing on the backside of Jaquish Island. This was only my second-ever Snowy Owl observed in apparent “visible migration,” or at the very least, making a long diurnal water crossing. 
  • 1 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYE and 1-2 Yellow-rumped Warblers, Bailey Island, 1/27 (with Tom Reed and Emily Wilmoth).
  • 21 Sanderlings, Reid State Park, 1/27 (with Tom Reed and Emily Wilmoth).

NOTES: Due to the posting of a blizzard warning for tomorrow, we are canceling the Saturday Morning Birdwalk and we expect to be closed for the day. Stay tuned to our store’s Facebook page for any updates.

Another good photo op while not seeing a sea-eagle was this cooperative Black Guillemot having lunch off the Maine State Aquarium on 1/25. Can anyone identify the fish?