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:
This snazzy, fresh adult male Red-winged Blackbird at a feeder in Wells was one of the few highlights in my usually-very-productive “Moody Sector” of the Southern York County CBC.
T’was the week before Christmas and all through Wild Bird Supply, no one was birding much, even this guy. Nonetheless, I found some great birds when I did get out this week:
1 incredibly late NELSON’S SPARROW, 1 Savannah Sparrow, 1 Northern Flicker, 4 Snow Buntings, etc, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 12/18. I was unaware that the Portland CBC was being conducted that day, but apparently, the Nelson’s was a first count record!
1 THICK-BILLED MURRE (FOS), Pine Point, Scarborough, 12/18. Not in great shape; I first saw it on land fighting off a crow on land before eventually waddling into the water.
“Moody Sector” of the Southern York County CBC, 12/19: 1538 individuals of 52 species (both quite low for me) with highlights including 4 American Wigeon (very surprisingly only a second count record!), 1 male Red-winged Blackbird, 2 Northern Harrier, and 18 Horned Larks.
1 Great Blue Heron (late for inland) and 1 1st-winted Iceland Gull, Auburn Riverwalk, 12/22.
1 SAGE THRASHER, Gilsland Farm, Falmouth, 12/22. 2nd State Record found earlier in the morning by Doug Hitchcox. I eventually had fantastic looks at it, including in flight, but I was on the wrong side of its favored tree for photographs, so this was the “best” I did!
Meanwhile, left off my weekly updates for the past four weeks has been my regular observation of one particular rarity right here in Freeport – Maine’s first ever Broad-tailed Hummingbird! Here’s the full story.
Jeannette and I enjoyed a summer roadtrip to the Atlantic Provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island from August 15th through 23rd. Shorebirds were our birding focus, because August, but our expectations were far surpassed! Here are a few photo highlights from the journey.
It’s hard for still photos to do the scene true justice however, so we posted a few videos to our store’s Facebook Page. They can be viewed here.
Another dandy week of summertime birding produced the following highlights for me. Shorebird numbers and diversity are growing rapidly now.
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Old Town House Park, North Yarmouth, 7/16 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group; few around locally this summer). One calling in our Pownal yard on 7/22.
2 continuing HENSLOW’S SPARROWS, Crystal Spring Farm, Brunswick, 7/20. Both birds singing, but the west bird continued long past the east bird went silent. I spent my time this morning attempting to observe the east bird, but never saw it once it stopped singing about 5 minutes after I arrived.
1 Fish Crow, Point Sebago (Private; with Point Sebago Birdwalk group) and 1 at Sebago Lake State Park, 7/21 (still wondering if these are from the Windham colony or not).
Least Sandpiper: 31, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 7/22.
Semipalmated Sandpiper: 140, Pine Point, 7/22.
WESTERN SANDPIPER: 1 rare adult, Hill’s Beach, Biddeford, 7/22 (photo above).
Short-billed Dowitcher: 165, The Pool, Biddeford Pool, 7/22.
Spotted Sandpiper: 2, Eastern Egg Rock, 7/16 (with Hardy Boat Evening Puffin Cruise group) and Sebago Lake State Park, 7/21.
Solitary Sandpiper (FOF): 1, Old Town House Park, North Yarmouth, 7/16 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group) and 1, Eastern Road Trail, 7/22.
Lesser Yellowlegs: 53, Eastern Road Trail, 7/22.
“Eastern” Willet: 96, The Pool, 7/22.
Greater Yellowlegs: 10, Eastern Road Trail, 7/22.
Beat the heat tomorrow, Saturday, July 23rd with a boat trip to Seal Island. No “Troppy” this year, but you know we’ll be looking hard for the Tufted Puffin! A limited amount of space on this extended charter is available.
It was a slow start to the week with just a trickle of migrants arriving from the weekend through the storm system on Wednesday. However, a successful twitch, and a couple of light flights overnight made for a great week of spring birding. Of course, there was also another successful Feathers Over Freeport: A Birdwatching Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Even though they didn’t produce any birds of note, it was a wonderful weekend full of birdwatching highlights. Photos will be posted soon, while the summary of our morning birdwalks is posted here.
My observations of note over the past seven days included:
1 SANDHILL CRANE (Finally, my FOY after missing a bunch of them at the watch this year), Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 5/1.
Persistent winds from unfavorable directions precluded a big push of migrants this week, but the season is slowly progressing. There were a couple of decent nights of migration this week, on Sunday and Monday nights. My observations of note over the past seven days included:
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (FOY), our yard in Pownal, 4/23.
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Cape Elizabeth Greenbelt Trail, 4/25 (with Jeannette).
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 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).
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 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.