My observations of note over the past six days included the following:
1 3rd-cycle LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, French Island Ledge, Casco Bay, 6/6 (with “Birds of Casco Bay” tour group). Photo below.
1 Roseate Tern, The Goslings, Harpswell, 6/6 (with “Birds of Casco Bay” tour group).
1 COMMON MURRE, 4 NORTHERN FULMARS, 5 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES (FOY), 103 Wilson’s Storm-Petrels (FOY), 1 Great Shearwater (FOY), etc, Boothbay Mini-Pelagic with Cap’n Fish Whale Watch, 6/7. Full trip list and tour report here.
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:
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
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:
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.
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).
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).