Tag Archives: Pine Grosbeak

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.

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

Derek’s Birding This Week, 1/30-2/5,2021

The bird of the week – and an early-contender for bird of the year – was this Redwing discovered at Capisic Pond Park in the afternoon of 1/29. My camera went in for repair this week, so my phone-scoped photos didn’t do this “mega” justice, so John Lorenc let me use his photo from the day.

With two mornings spent at Capisic Pond Park this week (REDWING, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, and 1 DICKCISSEL on 1/30 and “just” the REDWING on 2/1 with Phil McCormack), my other birding was rather limited. I think that’s OK though…because Redwing!

  • 1 drake RING-NECKED DUCK, Anniversary Park, Auburn, 2/3.
  • 1 THICK-BILLED MURRE, Cumberland Town Landing, 2/4.
  • 2 continuing NORTHERN SHOVELERS and 200+ distant scaup, Maquoit Bay Conservation Land, Brunswick, 2/5.
  • 1 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYE and 350-400 scaup (just a little too far to sort through accurately, but there is still a fair number of Lesser Scaup present), Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 2/5.
  • 1 immature female Snowy Owl, Brunswick Landing, 2/5.

This Week in Finches, aka “This Week in Pine Grosbeaks:”

  • PINE GROSBEAK: 3 continued daily at the store through 1/31; 3 (Cumberland Town Landing, 2/4); 11 (downtown Brunswick, 2/5).

Meanwhile, we have just announced our 2021 tour slate, including several pelagic trips, two searches for “Troppy,” the Red-billed Tropicbird, and much more, here, on our revamped Tours page:

https://www.freeportwildbirdsupply.com/tours-events-and-workshops

Derek’s Birding This Week, 1/23-29,2021

I like Rough-legged Hawks!

I stayed local this week, but that still yielded some fun winter birds. My observations of note over the past seven days included the following:

  • 300-400 distant Scaup, Maquoit Bay Conservation Land, Brunswick, 1/25.
  • 1 first-cycle ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, Pennell Way, Brunswick, 1/25.
  • 1 continuing RUDDY DUCK, 11 Lesser and 6 Greater Scaup (in close small group in flight) and 250+ distant scaup. I am sure the ratio of species in that close group of 17 does not reflect the makeup of the large group which will be mostly (at least) Greater. Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 1/25.
  • 2 Turkey Vultures (FOY), Cook’s Corner, Brunswick, 1/25.
  • 1 female BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, Anniversary Park, Auburn, 1/26.
  • 1 Northern Shrike, Highland Road, Brunswick, 1/28

This Week in Finches, at least for the sake of continuing to organize mostly negative data, with the exception of another wave of Pine Grosbeaks hitting the immediate area:

  • EVENING GROSBEAK: 0
  • Red Crossbill: 6-8 continue on Merrill Road in Pownal.
  • WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL: 0
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 3-5 near-daily at the store through week’s end; 3(Route One, Brunswick, 1/25); 2 (Route One/Pleasant Street, Brunswick, 1/25); 25+ (Maine Street, Brunswick, 1/29), 16 (Topsham Fair Mall, Topsham, 1/29).
  • Purple Finch High Count This Week: 0
  • Common Redpoll High Count This Week: 0
  • Pine Siskin High Count This Week:  0

Derek’s Birding This Week, 1/16-22/2021.

White-winged Crossbills always make for a successful day in the woods.

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

  • 1 pair Green-winged Teal, Abbott’s Pond, York, 1/17 (with Terez Fraser and John Lorenc).
  • 1 Northern Shrike, Route 201, Norridgewock, 1/19 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Canada Jay, Long Falls Dam Road, Carrying Place Township, 1/19 (with Jeannette).
  • 5 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, Private property in Durham, 1/21.
  • 1 drake Green-winged Teal and 1 1st cycle Iceland Gull, Mill Creek Cove, South Portland, 1/22.
  • 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Mill Creek Park, South Portland, 1/22.

This Week in Finches, at least for the sake of continuing to organize mostly negative data:

  • EVENING GROSBEAK: 0
  • Red Crossbill:
  • WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL: total of 11 (Long Falls Dam Road between North New Portland and Flagstaff Lake, 1/19; with Jeannette).
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 3 (here at the store, 1/17-present); 11 (Yarmouth Town Hall, 2/21); 7 (Cumberland Town Landing, 2/21).
  • Purple Finch High Count This Week: 0
  • Common Redpoll High Count This Week: 0
  • Pine Siskin High Count This Week:  0

Derek’s Birding This Week, 1/9-15, 2021

There’s an interesting pattern of molt on this presumed immature male Green-winged Teal that Evan Obercian and I saw in the marsh behind Lincolnville Beach this week.

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

  • 2 continuing immature male NORTHERN SHOVELERS, +/- 177 Greater Scaup, 8+ Lesser Scaup, etc, Maquoit Bay Conservation Land, Brunswick, 1/10.
  • 3 continuing RUDDY DUCKS and 350-400 distant scaup, Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 1/10.
  • 1 continuing Green-winged Teal, Lincolnville Beach, 1/11 (with Evan Obercian).
  • 1 adult Red-shouldered Hawk, Ducktrap Harbor, Lincolnville, 1/11 (with Evan Obercian).
  • 2 drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYES, Stockton Harbor, 1/11 (with Evan Obercian).
  • 8 Lesser Scaup, Fort Point State Park, 1/11 (with Evan Obercian).
  • 1 American Kestrel, Upper Street, Turner, 1/12 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pond Cove, Cape Elizabeth, 1/15. Declining in Maine as a wintering species, there are even fewer this year due to the failure of the Northern Bayberry crop.
  • 1 Northern Flicker, Village Crossings/Cape Elizabeth Greenbelt Trail, 1/15.

This Week in Finches. A query on our store’s Facebook page suggested there is another wave of redpolls and Evening Grosbeaks arriving in yards, and more siskins, etc, still widely scattered here and there. But for me:

  • EVENING GROSBEAK: 0
  • Red Crossbill: ~20 (Merrill Road, Pownal, 1/9, with Beth Edmonds and Dan Nickerson).
  • WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL:  0
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 14 (here at the store, 1/9); 4 (Woodside Road, Brunswick, 1/10); 5 (Route 1, Wiscasset, 1/11); 9 (Belfast City Park, 1/11 with Evan Obercian); 5 (Stockton Harbor, 1/11 with Evan Obercian); 15 (Cumberland Town Landing, 1/13); 1 (Eastern Promendade, Portland, 1/15).
  • Purple Finch: 0
  • Common Redpoll High Count This Week: 0
  • Pine Siskin High Count This Week:  1 (Belfast, 1/11, with Evan Obercian).

And finally, my annual Predictions Blog for the next 25 species to appear in Maine – and my own next 25 state birds – is posted here.

Derek’s Birding This Week, 1/2-1/8/2021

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

  • 1 Hermit Thrush, several record high counts including White-breasted Nuthatch and Eastern Bluebird, Pine Grosbeaks and Common Redpolls, etc, Brunswick-Freeport CBC “West Freeport Sector,” 1/3 (with Jeannette).  Full list and analysis here.
  • 2 SNOWY OWLS, Biddeford, 1/5 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK and 5 Horned Larks, East Point, Biddeford Pool, 1/5 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 1st winter Iceland Gull, Portland Harbor, 1/8.

This Week in Finches. Although finch numbers are greatly reduced now, I’ll continue to post this section if only to organize my own notes, track any mid-winter waves, and perhaps be ready for a northbound flight in the late winter and early spring.

  • EVENING GROSBEAK: 0
  • Red Crossbill: 0
  • WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL:  0
  • PINE GROSBEAK: 8 Brunswick-Freeport CBC “West Freeport Sector,” 1/3 (with Jeannette); 2 (Memak Preserve, North Yarmouth, 1/7).
  • Purple Finch: 0
  • Common Redpoll High Count This Week: 3 singletons (Brunswick-Freeport CBC “West Freeport Sector,” 1/3; with Jeannette).
  • Pine Siskin High Count This Week:  2 (Webster Road, Freeport, Brunswick-Freeport CBC “West Freeport Sector,” 1/3; with Jeannette).

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.