Tag Archives: Scarborough Marsh

Derek’s Birding This Week: 7/24-30, 2021

This fledgling Winter Wren on the trail at Burnt Mountain was not my rarest sighting of the week,
but it sure was the cutest!

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

  • 1-3 BICKNELL’S THRUSHES and 2 BOREAL CHICKADEES, Burnt Mountain, Carrabassett Valley, 7/26 (with Brian Bartlett).
  • 1 American Bittern, Carrabassett Valley Snowfluent Ponds, 7/26 (with Brian Bartlett).
  • 3 continuing female Black Scoters, Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 7/27 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 immature YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (FOY), Pine Point, Scarborough, 7/30: flew over the co-op pier from the direction of Stratton Island and landed in the Jones Creek Marsh on the am outgoing tide.
  • 3 adult Red-necked Grebes, Ocean Avenue, Biddeford Pool, 7/30.

And, with southbound shorebird migration now in full swing, my high counts this week were as follows (no upper marsh at high tide visits this week):

  • American Oystercatcher: 4 (2 ad and 2 juv), Pine Point, Scarborough, 7/30 plus 1, Ocean Avenue, Biddeford Pool, 7/30.
  • Black-bellied Plover: 5, Wharton Point, Brunswick, 7/27 (with Jeannette) and Pine Point, 7/30.
  • Killdeer: 11, Highland Road, Brunswick, 7/27 (with Jeannette).
  • Semipalmated Plover: 105, Pine Point, 7/30.
  • Piping Plover: 3, Pine Point, 7/30.
  • Whimbrel (FOY): 1, Pine Point, 7/30 followed by 3 in The Pool, Biddeford Pool, 7/30.
  • Ruddy Turnstone: 1, Pine Point, 7/30.
  • Sanderling: 33, Hill’s Beach, Biddeford, 7/30.
  • Least Sandpiper: 1, Highland Road, Brunswick, 7/27 (with Jeannette).
  • White-rumped Sandpiper (FOF): 1, Pine Point, 7/30 and Hill’s Beach, 7/30.
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper: 182, Pine Point, 7/30.
  • Short-billed Dowitcher: 8, The Pool, Biddeford Pool, 7/30.
  • Spotted Sandpiper: 3, Carrabassett Valley Snowfluent Ponds, 7/26 (with Brian Bartlett).
  • Solitary Sandpiper (FOF): 4, Carrabassett Valley Snowfluent Ponds, 7/26 (with Brian Bartlett).
  • Lesser Yellowlegs: 4, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 7/30.
  • “Eastern” Willet: 92, The Pool, 7/30.
  • Greater Yellowlegs: 7, Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 7/27 (with Jeannette).

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 6/19-25

This distantly phone-scoped image doesn’t do this bird justice, but here is a Snowy Owl…observed in June…in Maine…while wearing a t-shirt. This was a treat for both me and my clients visiting from Arizona on 6/25 (see below).

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

  • 1 immature male/ female pair of ORCHARD ORIOLES, Green Point WMA, 6/21 (with Jeannette). Clearly paired up but no breeding behaviors noted.
  • 1 immature male ORCHARD ORIOLE, 1 Yellow-throated Vireo (probably my first here), and 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Fort Foster, Kittery, 6/22.
  • 141 immature Bonaparte’s Gulls, Fort Foster, 6/22. The largest number of Bonies in the summer that I have seen in the south coast in a number of years.
  • 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Seapoint Beach, Kittery, 6/22.
  • 1 continuing SNOWY OWL, 6/25: Observed (with clients from AZ) from the Colony Beach parking lot in Kennebunkport, looking across the river to a house behind Gooch’s Beach, Kennebunk (new location; photos above).
  • 1 out of place male American Kestrel, atop a cell phone tower in downtown Biddeford from Palace Diner, 6/25 (with clients from AZ).
  • 1 continuing proposed TRICOLORED HERON X SNOWY EGRET X LITTLE EGRET HYBRID, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 6/25 (with clients from AZ).
  • 1 Greater Yellowlegs, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 6/25 (with clients from AZ).

One of the highlights for me this week, however, was non-bird: 20+ Gray Seals feeding very close to Fort Popham in Phippsburg on 6/20 (with client from CT). While Harbor Seals are frequent here in the summer, I don’t recall seeing so many Grays inshore in this or other nearby areas.

Derek’s Birding This 6/11-18

The Kennebago River from the Boy Scout Road with Rangeley Birding Festival tour group, 6/12.

My observations of note – in addition to many of the area’s breeding specialties – over the past eight days included the following:

  • 1 heard only CANADA JAY, 6/12, but two well-seen on 6/13, Boy Scout Road, Rangeley, (with Evan Obercian and Rangeley Birding Festival tour group)
  • 2 Red Crossbills, Wheeler Rd, Rangeley, 6/12 (with Evan Obercian).
  • 1 Cape May Warbler, Rangeley, 6/12 (with Evan Obercian. Could not relocate on 6/13).
  • 16++ occupied PURPLE MARTIN nests, Depot Road colony, Belgrade, 6/13 (with Evan Obercian).
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush, Morgan Meadow WMA, 6/15 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 proposed TRICOLORED HERON X SNOWY EGRET X LITTLE EGRET hybrid, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 6/16 (with clients from Colorado and Maine) and 6/17 (with clients from Minnesota).
  • 1 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, Pine Point, Scarborough, 6/16 (with clients from Colorado and Maine).
  • 1 Lesser Yellowlegs and 4 Greater Yellowlegs, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 6/17 (with clients from Minnesota).
  • 3 Sooty Shearwaters (FOY), 1 Greater Shearwater, 40+ Wilson’s Storm-Petrels, etc, Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch, Boothbay Harbor, 6/17 (with clients from Minnesota).

Derek’s Birding This Week, 5/22-27/2021

 

This pure-blood (presumably) Little Egret was a surprise in the Dunstan Creek Marsh section of Scarborough Marsh on the 25th. I don’t recall any reports of the Little Egret in Scarborough Marsh so far this season, and many of the identifiable photos that I have seen in Falmouth so far this year have been – or suggested – a continuing Snowy Egret x Little Egret hybrid, so seeing this bird was a treat for me and my clients.
1)The green-gray, darkish lores (not yellow-tinted like the presumed hybrid or bright yellow like a Snowy).
2) The two long neck plumes (not bushy like Snowy, or a combination of two, like the hybrid). I absolutely love the “plume swagger” when they’re blowing in the wind.

Additionally, the overall structure of a skinnier, longer neck, slightly longer legs, and a longer, slightly more tapering and pointed bill more like a “mini Great Egret” than the relatively-more compact Snowy.

My highlights over the past six days included the following:

  • 1 CLAY-COLORED SPARROW (Maguire Road), 2 Upland Sandpipers, 8 Grasshopper Sparrows, 14 Vesper Sparrows, etc, Kennebunk Plains, 5/24 (all personal FOY since it was my first visit here this season).
  • 1 LITTLE EGRET, as previously reported, Dunstan Creek Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 5/25 (with clients from Connecticut…see photos and captions above).
  • 1 drake NORTHERN SHOVELER and 1 pair Gadwalls, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 5/25  and 5/26 (with clients from Connecticut).
  • 2 Common Nighthawks, our yard in Pownal, 5/25.

My few other new spring arrivals included only the following:

  • 5 Semipalmated Sandpipers, Pine Point, Scarborough, 5/25 (with clients from Connecticut) and 14 there on 5/26 (with same clients).
  • 1 Willow Flycatcher, Runaround Pond Road, Durham, 5/27.

Derek’s Birding This Week, 5/15-21/2021

 

In an article to be published this fall in the journal North American Birds, I propose this bird as a Tricolored Heron x Snowy Egret hybrid backcrossed with a Little Egret (TRHE x SNEG x LIEG). This individual has been present since 2014 and seems to visit marshes between Hampton, NH and Cape Elizabeth. Note the two long neck plumes and the greenish lores.

My highlights over the past seven days included the following:

  • 58 White-winged Scoters, Bradbury Mountain Hawkwatch, 5/15.
  • 15 species of warblers led by 25+ Yellow-rumped and an incredible 15+ Cape May Warblers, Evergreen Cemetery, Portland, 5/16 (with Down East Adventures Songbird Workshop Group).
  • 12-15 Red Crossbills and 1 Evening Grosbeak, Evergreen Cemetery, 5/16 (with Down East Adventures Songbird Workshop Group).
  • 17 species of warblers, led by 17 Common Yellowthroats and 9 Ovenbirds, Florida Lake Park, 5/17 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Louisiana Waterthrush, Elmwood Trail, Pownal, 5/19.
  • 16 species of warblers led by 23 Common Yellowthroats and 8 Ovenbirds, Florida Lake Park, 5/20.
  • 1 continuing SNOWY OWL, Pennell Way, Brunswick, 5/21.
  • Proposed TRICOLORED HERON X SNOWY EGRET X LITTLE EGRET HYBRID, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 5/21. See caption above.
  • 2 drake and 1 hen NORTHERN SHOVELER, Eastern Road Trail, 5/21.
  • 3 continuing TRICOLORED HERONS and 1 drake NORTHERN SHOVELER, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 5/21.

My personal first-of-years and new spring arrivals included the following mix of on-time and early arrivals plus “catching up” on coastal birds:

  • 1 BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (early!), Old Town House Park, North Yarmouth, 5/15 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
  • 2 Scarlet Tanagers, Evergreen Cemetery, 5/16 (with Down East Adventures Songbird Workshop Group).
  • 1 Green Heron, Evergreen Cemetery, 5/16 (with Down East Adventures Songbird Workshop Group).
  • 1 Red-eyed Vireo, Evergreen Cemetery, 5/16 (with Down East Adventures Songbird Workshop Group).
  • 1 White-crowned Sparrow, feeders here at the store, 5/16.
  • 2 Laughing Gulls, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 5/17 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Indigo Bunting (late), Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 5/17 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee, Morgan Meadow WMA, 5/18 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 Common Nighthawk (early), our yard in Pownal, 5/19.
  • 1 Alder Flycatcher, Florida Lake Park, 5/20.
  • 1 Bay-breasted Warbler, Florida Lake Park, 5/20.
  • 3 Common Terns, Simpson’s Point, Brunswick, 5/20.
  • 1 GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, our yard in Pownal, 5/21.
  • 16 Saltmarsh Sparrows, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 5/21.
  • 3 Nelson’s Sparrows, Eastern Road Trail, 5/21.
  • 32 Short-billed Dowitchers, Pine Point, Scarborough, 5/21.
  • 50+ Ruddy Turnstones, Pine Point, 5/21.
  • 10+ Roseate Terns, Pine Point, 5/21.
  • 1 BLACK TERN – always a treat to catch one in migration – Pine Point, 5/21.
This Saltmarsh Sparrow posed for a quick photo this morning along the Eastern Road Trail. My first of the year were today, although at least a few have likely been present for a week to 10 days in and around Scarborough Marsh.

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.

The “Coastal Quick Hit” Van Tour report

I think it is safe to say that the inaugural “Coastal Quick Hit” van tour was a resounding success! We not only found all of the target species that we were after, but also a few surprises, and we saw all of our target species incredibly well! And we really lucked out with the weather, as the only rain we encountered was a brief downpour while we were driving. I have “no” doubt that all future tours will be this successful.

We receive numerous requests for guiding for several local breeding species that can be hard, if not impossible, to see elsewhere. While Bicknell’s Thrush is my number one request, there are a number of coastal species that are also sought. Folks travel from far and wide for our annual “Bicknell’s Thrushes of the White Mountains” van trip, and often I get requests for private guiding for many of the other species before and after that tour. Therefore, for efficiency and economy, we introduced the “Coastal Quick Hit” tour.

We had four visitors from California on board who were here to take part in the weekend’s thrush tour, plus three local birders out for the day. The eight of us met here at the store on Friday morning, and worked our way south.

Beginning in Scarborough Marsh, we had the opportunity to study Saltmarsh and Nelson’s Sparrows side-by-side, and ponder over some hybrids as well. We compared their songs and subtleties of identification – and learned how to simply leave many, likely hybrids and intergrades, as unidentified. Meanwhile, “Eastern” Willets and many other marsh denizens were numerous, and several sparrows and Willets posed for photos.
WILL

Walking the Eastern Road Trail, a Fish Crow was unexpected, and we enjoyed Little Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, and more. We then found this wading bird, which immediately brought to mind one of the ultra-rare Tricolored Heron x Snowy Egret (and now, possible a backcross there of) that calls Scarborough Marsh home.
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However, it soon became clear that this was a “pure” Little Blue Heron – nothing about its shape, size, structure, or behavior (a regular adult was nearby, and sometimes in the same field of view) was suggestive of anything else (or partly anything else), and so I hypothesized about a leucistic Little Blue Heron. Immature (1st through 2nd summer) little blues are piebald, but this was much, much paler than what I usually see, with more of a uniform “wash” of the purple-blue on the body and wings. What threw me off a bit were the essentially fully-developed head and back plumes (the “aigrettes”) that I did not think were present on a bird who’s plumage was this early in development. A little research showed those plumes were just fine for a 1st-summer bird, even one in which so little adult-like plumage had been obtained. Therefore, unless this bird looks exactly the same come fall, I think it’s just a paler-than-average 1st summer Little Blue Heron. Nevertheless, it was a fun bird to study and ponder – offering a lesson in comparing shape, structure, and behavior in two birds that didn’t look the same.

Also off Eastern Road, we noted Glossy Ibis, American Black Ducks, and a White-rumped Sandpiper in spiffy breeding plumage – a treat for folks from the West Coast, and not a bird we see many of in spring here in the Northeast. It was hanging out with 4 tardy Semipalmated Sandpipers.
GADW,MS
A drake Gadwall at the Pelreco marsh was a nice sight as well.

Four unseasonable Brant greeted us at Pine Point, where we soon spotted one of our most sought-after species, Roseate Tern. At least 8, and likely many times that, as birds were coming and going, were quickly picked out from the crowds of Common Terns, with plenty of Least Terns zipping around.
COTE,MS
Common Tern

LETE,MS
Least Tern

This tour was designed to have at least two chances at all of our target species, but we “cleaned up” in Scarborough, so we elected to brake up our upcoming drive with a stop in Webhannet Marsh near Moody Point for a visit with the King Rail that, for the second summer in a row, has occupied a small corner of the marsh. While waiting for it, we spotted more Willets, and had another great view of a Saltmarsh Sparrow or too.

The rail never called, but about 2/3rds of the group, myself NOT included, were able to spot the rail as it crossed two successive small openings in the marsh grass. The rest of us were just a little too far up the road, and it never made it to the third clearing we were stationed at. But still, a King Rail in the middle of the afternoon! A loafing Surf Scoter with Common Eiders offshore was also unexpected.

A delicious lunch fueled the rest of our drive south and the timing of the rainfall could not have been better. Traffic was relatively minimal as we fought our way through the outskirts of Boston, arriving at Revere Beach just as a thunderstorm passed to our south.
Revere_Beach2

While this is not exactly the most aesthetically-pleasing stop of the tour…
Revere_Beach1

…it was incredibly rewarding, as in short order, we picked up our last two target species, Piping Plover…
PIPL,MS

…and, believe it or not, Manx Shearwater…
MASH1,MS

MASH2,MS

…from land, in a city, and not very far offshore!

This incredible phenomena (they are clearly nesting locally, but where!? One of the Boston Harbor Islands?) was the icing on the cake to a most-successful trip. Based on these results, you can expect to see the “Coastal Quick Hit” van tour again in 2018 and beyond. Stay tuned to the Tours, Events, and Workshops Page of www.freeportwildbirdsupply.com for more information about this and all of our tours.

The Two “Shorebirds and Beer” Birds on Tap – Roadtrips of 2016

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“Shorebirds and Beer” was our first-ever “Birds on Tap – Roadtrip!” in partnership with our friends at The Maine Brew Bus last August. Now our 6th trip together, combining casual yet instructive birding in some of the state’s best seasonal hotspots with visits to two of our fantastic local breweries, we planned a return to Scarborough Marsh – where it all began!

And by popular demand, we added a second date. So this year, we had two “Shorebirds and Beer” departures, on August 7th and again on August 14th.  Both visited Scarborough Marsh, focusing our efforts on migratory shorebirds, but combined pairs of very different breweries.

We began the August 7th visit to Scarborough Marsh at the Eastern Road Trail.  A nice variety of birds were observed, including a couple of very cooperative singing Nelson’s Sparrows. Unfortunately, we found our destination, the salt pannes on the northern side of the marsh to be completely bone-dry due to this year’s drought. Needless to say, the numbers of shorebirds were not what we were hoping for. In fact, other than a few small groups of Least Sandpipers popping in and out of the grass, the pannes – often the most productive place in the entire marsh at this season – were completely devoid of shorebirds!
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However, along the road, we had some good instructive lessons, including ultra-cooperative Least Sandpipers than began our introduction into shorebird identification. We learned how breaking shorebirds down into family by shape and size first narrows the choices, and allows you to focus on just a few species to identify. We even had a perfect example of this, when three members of the genus Tringa were standing side-by-side as a dainty Lesser Yellowlegs joined a couple of Greater Yellowlegs while a bulky Tringa-on-steroids, Willet (of the Eastern subspecies, for the record) looked on.

Heading over to Pine Point as the tide rapidly rolled in, various human disturbances in Jones Creek limited shorebird diversity, but we could not have asked for more cooperative Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers (about 200 and 100, respectively) that really allowed us to practice our plover vs. sandpiper feeding shape and style dichotomy.
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We then moved on to work on specific identification.
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The remainder of our birding time was spent scanning the last of the distance sandbars (adding Black-bellied Plover to the shorebird checklist), before one of the members of the group called me over to check out an odd bird she found in her scope. It was an American Avocet!

While distance and heat shimmer precluded documentation photos, everyone was treated to a look or two in the scope of this very rare-in-Maine bird that isn’t seen every year anywhere in the state. While the long, fine bill was barely discernable at the distance, the very long legs and overall tall size (compared to nearby gulls) coupled with the distinctive tri-colored appearance (buffy head and neck, white underparts, and black wing with a broad white stripe) looks like no other.

And then it was time for a celebratory beer!  After a celebratory hand-pie for lunch, of course.
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First up was Barreled Souls in Saco, the only brewery in the country that is producing 100% barrel fermented beer in their Burton-Union system. Producing a mere 400 barrels a year – yet still offering 10-12 brews on tap at all times! – this time-consuming process which included two stages of fermentation, allows for the creation of some very complex beers.

Our samples today began with Half-Shilling, a very-light-bodied and low-ABV Scotch Ale as an introduction. Rosalita followed, using agave nectar in the primary fermentation and then steeped with hibiscus flowers during secondary fermentation, making for a very floral and subtly-sweet brew.  Space Gose was next, a summer refresher made with Maine sea salt, lemon zest, and coriander. By request, we then did a complete beer-wise-180 and shifted over to a heavy Barrel-aged MCAM – a very unique breakfast porter made with cinnamon, French toast, and bacon!  The spice, sweet, and smokiness were evident, as were the hints of bourbon from the bourbon barrels it was aged in. It was a potent, and very tasty, beer and a good representation of Barreled Souls’ creativity.

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Kristi shows off her very-appropriate for a birding/beer tour tattoo.

Our final destination of the day was Lone Pine Brewing in Portland. We began with their flagship Portland Pale Ale, using 90% Aroostook County-grown malts. This is a really great pale, with lots of flavor but incredibly smooth and lacking bitterness. Pale ales are occasionally “boring” to those who like a lot of hops, but this exceedingly well-balanced beer could be a new go-to for quite a few of us on the tour.

Their new Brightside IPA was next on our agenda, and I would put this right up there with the best IPAs in the state. Bright and citrusy, yet without that overwhelming bitterness that often pervades stronger IPAs (this one clocks in at a potent 7% alcohol), it may be way too easy-drinking. It was also a very “accessible” IPA for the non-hopheads. One member of group in particular, who normally doesn’t like IPAs at all, was actually quite a fan of this also well-balanced beer. For me, a sign of a truly great beer is one that is so good is that it appeals to those who normally don’t like that particular style.
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The following weekend, we once again began our birding at Eastern Road. Despite some rain in the past few days, however, the salt pannes were still dry. But to and fro, we encountered a nice mix of shorebirds, including some unbelievable cooperative Least Sandpipers once again.
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This one was phone-binned (a photo taken with an iPhone through my binoculars)!

Three Spotted Sandpipers – our first shorebirds of the day, actually – were encountered as we began our walk, and a decent number of Semipalmated Sandpipers were in the dried pannes. Both Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs were seen together for instructive studies. A distant hunting Northern Harrier, more singing (but this week, not seen) Nelson’s Sparrows, and lots of Cedar Waxwings and Song Sparrows foraging in the trailside scrub were among the highlights. We also took the time to watch Common Wood-Nymph butterflies, Great and Snowy Egrets, and stopped to enjoy the magnificently beautiful color of the eyes of Double-crested Cormorants.
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Great Egret posing.

On the walk back, with the tide just starting to recede, we had the opportunity to check out a few Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a Least Sandpiper all side-by-side, just about 20 feet away.
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A quick stop at the Pelreco marsh produced yet more Least Sandpipers, a better view of the details of Greater Yellowlegs, two spiffy adult Little Blue Herons, and most importantly: Patches! Arguably one of the rarest birds in the world, this Tricolored Heron x Snowy Egret hybrid that has been frequenting the marsh for the past 3 years put on quite a show for us. It could – hypothetically – be the only one of its kind!
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Thanks to a change in brewery itinerary for this second run of “Shorebirds and Beer,” I was able to stall at the marsh long enough to allow enough water to flow out that mud was rapidly being exposed at Pine Point. And with it, excellent numbers of all of the expected shorebirds began to appear: 400+ Semipalmated Sandpipers, 300+ Semipalmated Plovers, 150+ Black-bellied Plovers, 22 Short-billed Dowitchers, 8 “Eastern” Willets, 6 White-rumped Sandpipers, 4 Ruddy Turnstones, a few Least Sandpipers, and 2 Greater Yellowlegs.

No American Avocet though, but a hunting Peregrine Falcon zipped through, causing quite the ruckus.

And then it was once again beer o’clock, and today we began our beer-ing tour with a visit to South Portland’s Foulmouthed Brewing. Only open for 7 weeks, it was a new destination for everyone on today’s tour – myself included – and we learned all about the owners, the fledgling (see what I did there?) brewpub (yup, they opened a restaurant too), and their wide range of beers.  We even enjoyed a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time sample of their new “Blue Balls,” a Belgian dark, strong beer with blueberries. Still a week or two from being finished, it was a great introduction to their creative brewing side.
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Inside at the brewpub, we sat at the big kids’ table and sampled four of their current offerings. Beginning with Brat, a German-style session with its bright and clean Noble hop finish, we moved onto Half Wit, a “hybrid” (not of heron and egret, mind you) of a Belgian Wit and an American Pale. A favorite of many on today’s visit, it was smooth and accessible, with enough body and flavor to hold its own. Kaizen Saison was up next, with its rotating hops producing a different flavor and aroma profile with each batch. We finished up with Rhubarb de Garde, a strong amber aged on rhubarb. I found a little extra sweetness and especially just the hint of tart from the rhubarb complimented each other nicely.
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Our final beer stop of the day was a return trip to Lone Pine Brewing. Tom once again took us through their methods and philosophy, and shared with us their Portland Pale Ale and Brightside IPA. The more I drink the Portland Pale, the more I love this perfectly balanced beer.
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And Abby was dressed in our honor today.

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While Don, always attentive, looked like he had just spotted a Blue-footed Booby.

With our final sips of Brightside, the second installment of Shorebirds and Beer came to a close and it was time to head back home. Every day is different during the window of shorebird migration, and these two visits to Scarborough Marsh exemplified that. A wide range of shorebirds were studied, as we started to expand our identification – and appreciation – toolbox. And between Barreled Souls, Lone Pine, and Foulmouthed, we were exposed to a wide range of beer styles and methodologies.
30. brewbus_at_LonePine_edited-1

And both are the goals of our Birds on Tap – Roadtrip! series: exposure to some of our seasonal birding highlights and our vast array of fantastic local breweries. We hope you’ll join us for our next roadtrip, on October 9th, when we head to the deep south to visit Kittery’s Fort Foster and Seapoint Beach for our birding, and Tributary and Hidden Cove Brewing for our beering. Hope to see you then!