Tag Archives: Freeport

This Week’s Highlights, 11/6-11/11

No shame in chasing a bird that is this stunningly gorgeous! And like the chase of the ATFL earlier this week, we put in the effort to find out own beforehand – and then rewarded ourselves with another exceptional rarity!
What a dapper goose.

Despite my best efforts, my “best” birds of the week were all chased and not found. Nonetheless, I had a great week of birding and birdfinding. My highlights over the past six days were as follows:

  • 1 continuing CATTLE EGRET, 2 Common Yellowthroats, 1 Pine Warbler, 4 Semipalmated Plovers, 8 Laughing Gulls, etc, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 11/6 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 2 Blackpoll Warblers, Saco Riverwalk, 11/7 (with Cameron Cox and Evan Obercian).
  • 3 Great Egrets, The Pool, Biddeford Pool, 11/7 (with Cameron Cox and Evan Obercian).
  • 1 continuing PRAIRIE WARBLER, 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 1 Indigo Bunting, 1 Great Horned Owl, 1 “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrow, etc, Biddeford Pool neighborhood, Biddeford, 11/7 (with Cameron Cox and Evan Obercian)
  • 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 2 Lincoln’s Sparrows, etc, Private property in Cape Elizabeth, 11/7 (with Cameron Cox and Evan Obercian).
  • 1 still-continuing late Fish Crow, Cook’s Corner, Brunswick, 11/9 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 continuing BARNACLE GOOSE, South Elementary School, Rockland, 11/9 (with Jeannette). Photos above and below.
  • 1 American Coot and 10 American Wigeon, The Samoset, Rockport, 11/9 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 American Woodcock, Rte 1, Thomaston, 11/9 (with Jeannette).
  • 2 American Wigeon and 1 Killdeer, Old Brunswick Road, Durham, 11/11.
I simply love the subtle beauty in the color and pattern of the wings and back of this species.

This Week’s Highlights, 10/30-11/5

This week’s Orange-crowned Warbler was “slightly” better photographed than the
individual I had here two weeks ago!

With “Rarity Season” now in full swing, my observations of note over the past seven days included the following:

  • 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, 10/31 (with clients from Maine and New Mexico).
  • 2 Indigo Buntings, Private property in Cape Elizabeth, 10/31 (with clients from Maine and New Mexico).
  • 1 Great Egret, Mill Creek Cove, South Portland, 10/31 (with clients from Maine and New Mexico).
  • 1 Indigo Bunting, Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 10/31 (with clients from Maine and New Mexico).
  • 1 WHITE-EYED VIREO and 4 “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrows (FOF), Reid State Park, Georgetown, 11/1 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and 1 RED-EYED VIREO, Sandy Point Beach, Cousin’s Island, Yarmouth, 11/3. My 9th-ever here and 2nd of the season. Photo above.
  • 3 Common Goldeneyes (FOF), Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 11/4.
  • 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (likely continuing from 11/3), 1 American Woodcock, 32 Snow Buntings, etc, Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, 11/5.
  • 2 “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrows, Crescent Beach State Park, Cape Elizabeth, 11/5.
These two Savannah Sparrows of the “Ipswich” subspecies were most obliging at Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth on Friday morning.

This Week’s Highlights, 10/23-29

Thanks to our annual note in our newsletter to keep hummingbird feeders up through early November – and to give us a call if one shows up after the first week of October – we received another call about a late October hummingbird this year. I raced over as soon as it returned to study it and get documentation photos. Unlike last year, however, this was “just” a Ruby-throated. I should have known it wasn’t another “mega” rarity as it was way too easy to photograph closely, and I only waited 5 minutes for its arrival!

Before and after the storm, it was a rather great week of birding for me. Rarity Season is now underway!  Here are my observations of note over the past seven days:

  • 1 Field Sparrow, 2 Common Yellowthroats, 7 Semipalmated Plovers, etc., Wolf’s Neck Center, Freeport, 10/24 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 1 “INTERIOR” (ssp alterus/nelson) NELSON’S SPARROW, Private Property in Cape Elizabeth, 10/24.
  • “First of seasons” from seawatching at Dyer Point, Cape Elizabeth, 10/28:

25 Long-tailed Ducks (mostly northbound)

2 drake Harlequin Ducks

2 Snow Buntings

1 1st winter Iceland Gull

1 Horned Grebe

  • 1-2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS, Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, 10/28.
  • 1 juv RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, private property in Freeport, 10/28. First seen on 10/26, but not on the 27th. See photo and caption above.
  • 1 DICKCISSEL (photo below; Abner Point Road), 1 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL (first of fall locally), 2 male BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS, and 2 American Tree Sparrows (first of fall), Bailey Island, Harpswell, 10/29.

Derek’s Birding This Week: 9/11-17, 2021

Philadelphia Vireos have been particularly conspicuous this week at Sandy Point, especially because of their propensity for stopping by the trees right next to “my office” as they contemplate crossing.

I didn’t get out birding much this week, other than at Sandy Point (see tallies here), and when I did, it was mostly just enjoying the local, regular passerine migrants.

In fact, my only observation of note was a good evening at the Walsh Preserve in Freeport on 9/14 with Jeannette, where a great late-season array of shorebirds included:
1 juv. LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, 1 juv Dunlin (FOF), 76 Lesser Yellowlegs, etc,

Meanwhile, limiting most of my outings to local dog-walking patches and our two yards (home and the store), afforded the opportunity to enjoy lots of up-close migrants this week, including a Nashville Warbler that has been frequenting our dripper at home. Unfortunately, the LARK SPARROW that Will and Jeanne had here at the store on Monday, 9/13, has not returned.

Comparing my notes to last year, the first stages of the “super flight” of irruptives over the winter was already prevalent in these parts with many more Red-breasted Nuthatches and Purple Finches than normal, and the first Pine Siskins of the season. This year, Purple Finches have been in short supply so far, Pine Siskins have been virtually non-existent, and migrant Red-breasted Nuthatches have been limited (although it seems we had a good breeding season locally).  Also at this  time last year, a massive early flight of Dark-eyed Juncos and well-above normal numbers of White-throated Sparrows were around, likely signaling a low year of seed productivity.  This year, those species are around in more seasonable numbers so far this season

Derek’s Birding This 6/26-7-2

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

  • 5 White-winged Scoters, Scott’s Landing Preserve, Deer Isle, 6/27 (with Marion Sprague).
  • “Fall” shorebird migration is underway!  7 Lesser Yellowlegs, 3 Greater Yellowlegs, and 2 Least Sandpipers (FOF) were off Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 7/1 (with clients from AZ).
  • 4 Gadwall, Eastern Road Trail, 7/1 (with clients from AZ).
  • 1-2 TRICOLORED HERONS, Scarborough Marsh, 7/1 (first at Eastern Road and then possibly same bird later at Pelreco Marsh; with clients from AZ).
  • The proposed continuing TRICOLORED HERON X SNOWY EGRET X LITTLE EGRET HYBRID, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 7/1 (with clients from AZ). Later spotted passing over Pine Point.

Derek’s Birding This Week, 5/1-7/2021

It was fun to watch two male Red Crossbills feeding earlier this week without even leaving the store!

My highlights over the past seven days included the following:

  • 2 Red Crossbills, feeding on Scots Pine here at the store, 5/1.
  • 1 continuing PROPOSED TRICOLORED HERON X SNOWY EGRET X LITTLE EGRET hybrid, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 5/2 (with clients from Maine.  Full explanation in an upcoming article in North American Birds slated to be published this fall).
  • 10 species of warblers (FOY; finally!) led by only 9 Pine Warblers and 7 Black-and-white Warblers but including 1 LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, Morgan Meadow WMA, Raymond, 5/7.
  • 1 Evening Grosbeak, Morgan Meadow WMA, 5/7.

As the Neotropical migrant floodgates open, my personal first-of-years and new spring arrivals included:

  • 1 continuing TRICOLORED HERON, Spurwink Marsh, 5/2 (with clients from Maine).
  • 6 Piping Plovers, Western Beach, Scarbrough, 5/2 (with clients from Maine).
  • 1 Least Sandpiper, Dunstan Landing, Scarborough Marsh, 5/2 (with clients from Maine).
  • 3 Willets, Scarborough Marsh, 5/2 (with clients from Maine).
  • 1 Ovenbird, our yard in Pownal, 5/3.
  • 1 Northern Parula, our yard in Pownal, 5/3.
  • 1 Black-throated Green Warbler, our yard in Pownal, 5/3.
  • 1 Baltimore Oriole, feeders here at the store, 5/4.
  • 1 Northern Waterthrush, Florida Lake Park, Freeport, 5/5.
  • 1 Nashville Warbler, Florida Lake Park, 5/5.
  • 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler, Runaround Pond, Durham, 5/6.
  • 3 Black-throated Blue Warblers, Morgan Meadow WMA, 5/7.
  • 4 Common Yellowthroats, Morgan Meadow WMA, 5/7.
  • 1 Yellow Warbler, Morgan Meadow WMA, 5/7.
  • 1 Warbling Vireo, Morgan Meadow WMA, 5/7.
  • 1 Veery, Morgan Meadow WMA, 5/7.
  • 3 Chimney Swifts, Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, 5/7.
  • 1 Blackburnian Warbler, Bradbury Mountain Spring Hawkwatch, 5/7.
This Tricolored Heron was sitting pretty not far off into Spurwink Marsh when I visited the area with clients on Sunday the 2nd.

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, 2/6-12/2021

This distantly phone-scoped image of a Thick-billed Murre at Winslow Park on the 7th was one of two of these sought-after winter pelagics that I saw this week. Despite being so far from open ocean, this was incredible my 3rd ever in the Lower Harraseeket River in South Freeport!

My observations of note over the past seven chilly days including the following:

  • 1 THICK-BILLED MURRE and 1 female BARROW’S GOLDENEYE (first of winter in Harraseeket River, finally), Winslow Park, South Freeport, 2/7.
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, Bailey Island, Harpswell, 2/9 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 continuing immature female Snowy Owl, Brunswick Landing, 2/9 (with Jeannette).
  • The continuing REDWING, Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 2/11 – Although it was seen in its usual spot for much of the day, I had the bird fly over me at 3:25, about 2/3rds the way to the Machigonne Street entrance from Lucas Street. It landed in some taller trees in full sun, with a sizeable group of robins. When many of the robins took off, it joined them, flying just about tree level and exiting the park. It flew NNW over Congress Street, which I believe is roughly its behavior from the very first day. A Cooper’s Hawk passes through seconds later.
  • 1 THICK-BILLED MURRE, Dyer Point, Cape Elizabeth, 2/12 (with Pat Moynahan).

This Week in Finches:

  • EVENING GROSBEAK: 0
  • Red Crossbill: 10 (Merrill Road, Pownal, 2/11).
  • WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL: 32 Bailey Island, Harpswell, 2/9 (with Jeannette).
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 1 (Maine Street, Brunswick, 2/9; with Jeannette).
  • Purple Finch High Count This Week: 0
  • Common Redpoll High Count This Week: 0
  • Pine Siskin High Count This Week:  0

Brunswick-Freeport Christmas Bird Count: “West Freeport Sector,” 1/3/2021

On Sunday, Jeannette and spent the day participating in the annual Brunswick-Freeport Christmas Bird Count. For 14 out of the past 16 years, we have covered the “West Freeport” territory, which includes all of Freeport west of I295, with a corner of Yarmouth, a sliver of Pownal, and a notch of Durham.

As I have written about before, this suburban and exurban route covers a lot of ground. We walk miles upon miles of backroads, and we sample the public open spaces of Hedgehog Mountain Park, Florida Lake Park, and Hidden Pond Preserve. Our only waterfront is the Cousin’s River marsh complex, which was mostly open today – as were almost all flowing streams, woodland drainages, and the outlet channel at Florida Lake.  This was the most open water we have had in some time.

The weather was fantastic: after a chilly start, bright sunshine and virtually no wind made for a pleasant, temperate day, and aided detection. The lovely morning even led to singing from some of our resident species, especially White-breasted Nuthatch, and territorial drumming by Hairy Woodpeckers.

By doing this route consistently year in and year out, Jeannette and I can use it to compare winter seasons. We like to compare the tallies to test our preconceived notions of the season, and we can even use it as a sample to gauge seed sales at the store for the coming months! 2019 was a good example of that.

Yesterday, we did confirm several recent trends and hypotheses that we have seen so far this winter. Native sparrows including Dark-eyed Juncos are very low, woodpeckers are above average, and “winter finches” have really cleared out. Even Pine Grosbeaks are now diminishing, but the bulk of other nomadic species have either moved through (Pine Siskin; Evening Grosbeak) or are just not around in large numbers (Common Redpoll).

Meanwhile, the very mild fall and early winter has helped “half-hardies,” like our first sector records of Hermit Thrush and – finally a – Carolina Wren survive.  The minimal snow cover and mild temperatures usually keeps a lot of ground-feeding sparrows around through the winter, but this is not the case this year – low “weed” seed crops due to our summer-long drought continues to be my hypothesis. 

Fruit crops, especially crabapples, are being rapidly depleted as Pine Grosbeaks and American Robins have moved through en masse of late. It will be slim pickings for Bohemian Waxwings if they arrive.

But perhaps most relevant was the fantastic numbers of birds that make up our “mixed-species foraging flocks.”  I was surprised to tally only our average number of Black-capped Chickadees (310 compared to an average of 307.9), but Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Downy Woodpeckers were well above average (see below). Blue Jays were a little above average (but that number fluctuates widely based on acorn crops), as were Northern Cardinals.  Cardinals, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and especially Eastern Bluebirds reflected their continuing steady increase as wintering species in the region.

These are also many of the most common and conspicuous visitors to feeding stations, and our survey correlated with what we have been hearing at the store all season. We also noted that neighborhoods with well-stocked feeders had far more birds than wooded parks, neighborhoods with few or no feeders, or other less developed stretches. Clearly, feeders and their supplemental food are important to our resident birds this year. And our bird seed sales, even after the massive finch flight of the fall has moved on, reflect that as well.

But yeah, our first-ever Hermit Thrush, Carolina Wren, and Pine Siskins, plus our first Ruffed Grouse in 11 years, and yeah, Pine Grosbeaks, were all nice, too!

Here is our full, annotated checklist:

  • Begin: 7:19am. 20F, clear, calm.
  • End: 3:45pm. 30F (high of 31F), mostly cloudy, calm.
  • Party Miles/foot: 22.5
  • Party Miles/car: 23.5

American Black Duck: 2

Mallard: 2

Ruffed Grouse: 1

Wild Turkey: 0

Rock Pigeon: 20

Mourning Dove: 46

Herring Gull: 11

Cooper’s Hawk: 2

Red-tailed Hawk: 3 (*tied highest count)

Red-bellied Woodpecker: 3

Downy Woodpecker: 30

Hairy Woodpecker: 13

Pileated Woodpecker: 5

Blue Jay: 94

American Crow: 115 (*new record high)

Common Raven: 2

Black-capped Chickadee: 310

Tufted Titmouse: 53

Red-breasted Nuthatch: 28

White-breasted Nuthatch: 47 (* 2nd highest)

Brown Creeper: 3

Carolina Wren: 1 (*1st sector record, finally!)

Golden-crowned Kinglet: 3

Eastern Bluebird: 31 (* New record high count…old record was 10!)

HERMIT THRUSH: 1 (Hunter Road, Freeport; 1st sector record).

American Robin: 13

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD: 1

European Starling: 28 (*new record high count)

Cedar Waxwing: 1

House Sparrow: 2

PINE GROSBEAK: 8 (4, Tidal Brook Rd, Yarmouth; 2. Eider Pt Road, Yarmouth; 1 Hunter Road, Freeport; 1 Murch Road, Freeport; first since 2008).

House Finch: 22

Common Redpoll: 2

Pine Siskin: 2 (* 1st sector record, surprisingly).

American Goldfinch: 53

American Tree Sparrow: 4

Dark-eyed Junco: 18

White-throated Sparrow: 1

Song Sparrow: 2

Northern Cardinal: 18

  • 39 total species (*new record)
  • 1,001 total individuals.