Derek’s Birding This Week, 4/17-23/2021

My Leica V-Lux camera went to the doctor, and it finally arrived after about two months. This Snowy Owl on our first Saturday Morning Birdwalk of the year was a great way to break it back in!

My highlights over the past seven days included the following:

  • 1 continuing immature SNOWY OWL, Pennell Way, Brunswick, 4/17 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 2 Evening Grosbeaks, Florida Lake Park, Freeport, 4/21.
  • Big push of White-throated Sparrows overnight 4/20-21 and perhaps another push later in the week. High count of 75+ at Capisic Pond Park and 100++ at Evergreen Cemetery (both 4/23 with client from Maine).
  • 1-2 Evening Grosbeaks, our yard in Pownal, 4/23.
  • 1 Peregrine Falcon and 1 Fish Crow, Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 4/23 (with client from Maine).

And my personal first-of-years and new spring arrivals this week were limited to just:

  • 1 Barn Swallow, Florida Lake Park, Freeport, 4/20.
  • 1 Blue-headed Vireo, Florida Lake Park, 4/21.

On Tuesday  – our biggest flight of the season at the Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch – we observed an extremely pale Red-tailed Hawk. I propose it as a “Krider’s” x “Eastern” Red-tailed Hawk. Here’s my short blog about it:

https://mebirdingfieldnotes.blog/2021/04/21/apparent-kriders-x-eastern-red-tailed-hawk-pownal-maine-4-20-21/

And don’t forget about Feathers Over Freeport this weekend! Self-guided walks for kids, take-home crafts, and live online programs featuring live birds of prey. Saturday’s keynote address “Digi-scoping Made Easy” by Jeff Bouton on Kowa Sporting Optics.  We arranged for this based on the frequency of questions we get asked here at the store about taking photos through a spotting scope using a digital camera or a smartphone. It’s free, but pre-registration is require

www.maine.gov/feathersoverfreeport

Apparent “Krider’s” x “Eastern” Red-tailed Hawk, Pownal, Maine, 4/20/21

This stunningly pale immature Red-tailed Hawk passed over the Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, sponsored by Freeport Wild Bird Supply, in Pownal, Maine on the afternoon of April 20, 2021.

Highly suggestive of the extremely pale “Krider’s” Red-tailed Hawk (a subspecies or quite possibly just a very pale color morph) from Central North America and with scattered vagrant records along the Eastern seaboard, we believe this individual shows features most consistent with an “intergrade” between the so-called Krider’s and our typical Eastern subspecies.

The very pale white head first brought my attention to this bird as it approached the summit from the north-northeast, and circled overhead and slightly behind the plethora of counters and observers on our biggest flight day of the season. Tova Mellen gets the award for the best photos – by far – and we appreciate her effort and willingness to share them. Thanks, Tova!

Andrew Sharp, Mathew Gilbert, and Charles Duncan also managed photos, and I was able to capture (poorly!) a few additional angles that show some helpful features.

The mostly-white head, very pale underparts, and lightly-marked underwings (especially the reduced patagium) all suggest Krider’s. However, the darker crown and fairly-dark spots on what would be the edges of the belly band are more suggestive of an intergrade.

The relatively bold white panel on the upperwings is also suggestive of Krider’s, but it’s not as bold and bright as many photos suggest. The back color is also brownish-gray. Both of these look to be more consistent with an intergrade.

The white uppertail coverts/lower rump area was more evident than this too-dark photo suggests, nonetheless, it does not seem white and broad enough to be a Krider’s. Unfortunately, the pattern of the uppertail was not decipherable.

The poor exposure of this photo makes the bird look much darker than it appeared in the field (looked more like Tova’s photos, above), but it does accentuate where the dark markings are and are not.

As for printed references, this bird looks to be a near-perfect match for the “Juv/1st Year Eastern x Krider’s Integrade on Page 66 of The Crossley ID Guide to Raptors.

We had limited views of the upperparts, but they did suggest the presence of fairly extensive white on the scapulars, the large pale window, and the narrow pale uppertail covert band as shown on page 293 of Raptors of Eastern North America by Brian K. Wheeler.

Therefore, we reached the tentative conclusion that this bird was an Eastern x Krider’s, but as with all subspecies and especially hybrid thereof, designations of Red-tailed Hawk, absolute identification is likely impossible. Fun bird though!

I’ll add any comments and feedback I receive here:

Derek’s Birding This Week, 4/10-16/2021

I didn’t get out and about much this week, so my highlights over the past seven days were limited to the following:

  • 2 Evening Grosbeaks, our yard in Pownal, 4/10.
  • 4 Red Crossbills, here at the store, 4/14.

And my personal first-of-years and new spring arrivals included:

  • 1 Chipping Sparrow, our yard in Pownal, 4/10.
  • 3 Palm Warblers, our yard in Pownal, 4/10.
  • 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, our yard in Pownal, 4/10.
  • 2 Swamp Sparrows (FOS), Florida Lake Park, Freeport, 4/11.
  • 1 Pied-billed Grebe, Florida Lake Park, 4/14.

Derek’s Birding This Week, 4/3-9/2021

My highlights over the past seven days included the following:

  • 1 Red Crossbill, Runaround Pond, Durham, 4/3.
  • 1 drake “EURASIAN” GREEN-WINGED TEAL, Mouth of the Abagadasset River, Bowdoinham, 4/4 (with Jeannette).
  • 3 Red Crossbill, Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 4/8.
  • 1 probable WHITE-FACED IBIS (as previously reported; FOY), Rte 1/9 Salt Pannes, Scarborough MarSh, 4/9. However, it did not have particular bright bare parts or “face,” so it is either not yet in high breeding, or it could be a hybrid. My views were just a little too insufficient to be 100% sure.

And my personal first-of-years and new spring arrivals included (obviously I had not been to Scarborough Marsh in a while!):

  • 3 Wilson’s Snipe (FOS), Pineland Farms, 4/3 (with “Woodcocks Gone Wild!” tour group).
  • 1 Pine Warbler, Brown’s Point Road, Bowdoinham, 4/4 (with Jeannette)
  • 1 Double-crested Cormorant, Mouth of the Abby, Bowdoinham, 4/4 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Winter Wren, Florida Lake Park, Freeport, 4/7.
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (FOS), Florida Lake Park, 4/7.
  • 1 Purple Finch (FOS), feeders here at the store, 4/7.
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (FOS), Bradbury-Pinelands Corridor Trail, Pownal, 4/8.
  • 1 Osprey, Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 4/8.
  • 51 Glossy Ibis, Scarborough Marsh, 4/9.
  • 14 Great Egret, Scarborough Marsh, 4/9.
  • 3 Snowy Egrets, Scarborough Marsh, 4/9.
  • 1 pair GADWALL, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 4/9.
  • 3 Savannah Sparrows (FOS), Scarborough Masrsh, 4/9.

Derek’s Birding This Week, 3/27-4/2/2021

My highlights over the past seven days included the following:

  • 5 Fox Sparrows continue in our yard in Pownal.
  • 7 SANDHILL CRANES (FOY), Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, 3/27.
  • 2 Pine Siskins (FOS), feeders here at the store, 3/27 – present.
  • 5 RUDDY DUCKS (FOY) and 1 first-cycle Iceland Gull, Sabattus Pond, Sabattus, 3/28.
  • 1 Eastern Phoebe (FOY), Sebago Lake State Park, 3/29 (with Jeannette).
  • 8 EVENING GROSBEAKS (FOS), our yard in Pownal, 4/2.
  • 3 Red Crossbills, feeding in the yard here at the store, 4/2.

Derek’s Birding This Week, 3/20-26/2021

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

  • up to 6 Fox Sparrows now in our yard, through week’s end.
  • 1 Northern Saw-whet Owl (FOY), our yard in Pownal, 3/20.
  • 19 Northern Pintails (FOY), Mouth of the Abby, Bowdoinham, 3/22 (with Jeannette).
  • 4 Fish Crows (FOY), downtown Brunswick, 3/23 (with Andrew Sharp).
  • 1 Eastern Meadowlark (FOY), 1+ Snow Bunting, and 7 Horned Larks, Brunswick Landing, 3/23 (with Andrew Sharp).
  • 10 Ring-necked Ducks (FOS), Mouth of the Abby, Bowdoinham, 3/22 (with Andrew Sharp).
  • 6 American Woodcocks (FOY), Private Property in Pownal, 3/23 (with Andrew Sharp and Jeannette).

This Week in Finches:

  • Red Crossbill: 4 (Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 3/21).
  • Common Redpoll High Count This Week: ~15 (Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 3/20).

Derek’s Birding This Week, 3/13-19/2021.

With the Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch underway, not surprisingly, just about all of my time was spent up there, getting our new counter up to speed and prepared for the flights to come.  My observations of note over the past seven days included:

  • Good pulse of American Robins, Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Common Grackles into the area this week.
  • 4 Fox Sparrows (FOY), our yard in Pownal, 3/14. At least 3 continued through week’s end.
  • 2 Red-shouldered Hawks (FOS), Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, 3/16.
  • 2 Wood Ducks (FOY), Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, 3/16.
  • 3 Fox Sparrows, Runaround Pond Recreation Area, Durham, 3/18.

This Week in Finches. I guess the “return flight” of most species moved northward to our west so far.

  • Red Crossbill: 1, Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, 3/16.

Derek’s Birding This Week, 3/6-12/2021

Lingering winter birds and arriving spring migrants. Here are my highlights over the past seven days:

  • 1 Red-winged Blackbird (FOY), feeders here at the store, 3/6. Small flocks around the area by week’s end.
  • 1 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, River Road, Benton, 3/8 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 light morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK and 10 Horned Larks, Wyman Road, Benton, 3/8 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Northern Shrike, Sunkhaze Meadows NWR, 3/9 (with Jeannette).
  • 3 continuing WILSON’S SNIPE, U of Maine-Orono Steam Plant, 3/9 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Common Grackle (FOY), Veazie, 3/9 (with Jeannette…sure didn’t expect my FOY in Penobscot County, but numbers increased in southern Maine by week’s end).
  • 1 Killdeer (FOY), Highland Road, Brunswick, 3/11.
  • 2 Lesser Scaup, Mill Creek Cove, South Portland, 3/12.
  • 4 Brown-headed Cowbirds (FOY), feeders here at the store, 3/12.

This Week in Finches:

  • EVENING GROSBEAK: 0
  • Red Crossbill: 9 (Type 10 fide Matt Young at FiRN, Viles Arboreteum, Augusta, 3/8 with Jeannette).
  • WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL:
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 1 (Viles Arboretum, Augusta, 3/8 with Jeannette).
  • Purple Finch High Count This Week: 0
  • Common Redpoll High Count This Week: 7 (continuing at Back Cove, Portland, 3/7 with Ian Doherty and Ilsa Tucker).
  • HOARY REDPOLL: 1 (continuing at Back Cove, Portland, 3/7 with Ian Doherty and Ilsa Tucker).
  • Pine Siskin High Count This Week:  1 (Cumberland Town Landing, 3/7).

Derek’s Birding This Week, 2/20-26/2021.

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

  • 19 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, Runaround Pond Road, Durham, 2/20.
  • 1 pair BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Winslow Park, Freeport, 2/21.
  • 1 continuing Hermit Thrush, Maquoit Bay Conservation Land, Brunswick, 2/22.
  • 68 scaup spp, Mere Point Boat Launch, Brunswick, 2/22.
  • 1 continuing female RUDDY DUCK, ~450 total scaup, 1 Belted Kingfisher, etc, Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 2/22.
  • 1 Turkey Vulture, Cook’s Corner, Brunswick, 2/22.
  • 1 Northern Shrike, Foothills Land Conservancy, Wilton, 2/23 (with Jeannette).
  • 32 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, White Granite Park, Jay, 2/23 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 continuing DICKCISSEL and 1 Northern Flicker, Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 2/24 (with Robby Lambert); Dickcissel still present on 2/26.

This Week in Finches:

  • Red Crossbill: 4 (Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 2/24 with Robby Lambert and continuing on 2/26).
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 13 (Downtown Brunswick, 2/15); 2 (Paul Street, Brunswick, 2/15).

Derek’s Birding This Week, 2/13-19/2021.

This putative BLACK-HEADED X RING-BILLED GULL HYBRID has returned for its second winter to the Falmouth Town Landing.

It was a very good week of birding for me! My observations of note over the past seven days included the following:

  • 1 female KING EIDER, The Nubble, Cape Neddick, 2/14.
  • 1 continuing pair Green-winged Teal, Abbott’s Pond, York, 2/14.
  • 1 Northern Flicker, US Route 1, Kittery, 2/14.
  • 1 Hermit Thrush, Maquoit Bay Conservation Land, 2/15.
  • 175-200 distant scaup spp, Mere Point Boat Launch, Brunswick, 2/15.
  • 26 Lesser Scaup and 420 Greater Scaup in careful count of birds closer than they have been, Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 2/15.
  • 4 BARROW’S GOLDENEYES (2 pairs), Winslow Park, Freeport, 2/18 (with Beth Edmonds and Dan Nickerson; this is my highest count in three years here).
  • 1 putative BLACK-HEADED X RING-BILLED GULL HYBRID, Falmouth Town Landing, 2/18 (with Beth Edmonds and Dan Nickerson). Was present in February of 2020; this was the first report for this winter that I am aware of. Video at: https://fb.watch/3KpP3olnTd/

This Week in Finches:

  • Red Crossbill: 15 (neighborhood behind Marginal Way, Ognuquit, 2/14).
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 9 (Downtown Brunswick, 2/15); 2 (Paul Street, Brunswick, 2/15).
This poorly phone-scoped female King Eider off of The Nubble was my first of the winter.