Tag Archives: Tricolored Heron x Snowy Egret x Snowy Egret hybrid

This Week’s Highlights, 1/29-2/6, 2022

While not the rarest bird this week, I have been thoroughly entertained by this Brown Creeper who has taken to picking up bits of seed from under a feeder at our home in Pownal. The horizontal position makes the bird look so different! Sorry for the lousy photos though…they were taken through a screen during the ice/snow storm on 2/4.

The Blizzard of 2022 provided some great opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing locally for the first time this winter, so I took full advantage of that, even if it did further limit my dedicated birding during this busy week plus.  Interestingly, my most “serious” birding was a half day (post-snowblowing and shoveling) on Sunday searching Portland through Cape Elizabeth for storm-related birds, but that effort turned up nothing at all of note! Here are my observations of note over the past 9 days:

  • 5 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, 2 COMMON REDPOLLS (FOY), 6 Pine Siskins (FOY), and 1 Purple Finch, Long Falls Dam Road area of Carrying Place Township, 1/31 (with Jeannette).
  • The Androscoggin River between the downtowns of Lewiston and Auburn remain a surprisingly productive mid-winter hotspot. On 2/1, Jeannette and I discovered an incredible (especially for the interior of Maine) five species of dabblers from the Auburn Riverwalk!  Amongst the Mallards and a couple of American Black Ducks, there were single female GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, and NORTHERN PINTAIL.  Making this even more interesting is the fact that it’s usually the drakes that we find overwintering in Maine.  Additionally, the drake RING-NECKED DUCK continues, and we had a single 1st-winter Iceland Gull. Two Bufflehead and 5 Hooded Mergansers joined the usual Common Goldeneyes and Common Mergansers for a goodly inland total of 10 species of waterfowl. A unusually conspicuous Beaver continues to amuse here as well.
  • 3 drake and 1 hen BARROW’S GOLDENEYES and 8 Dunlin (FOW here), Winslow Park, Freeport, 2/13.

Other Notes:

  • My article – a 13-page photo salon – on the Hybrid Herons of Scarborough Marsh (Patches!) has finally been published in the most recent issue of North American Birds. In it, I lay out the theory that at least 5 different individuals have been seen in Scarborough Marsh since I first found an odd juvenile heron in July of 2012 that we now believe is a hybrid between a Snowy Egret and a Tricolored Heron.

I made the case that the two current birds are backcrosses, one with a Snowy Egret (SNEG X TRHE X SNEG) and the other with a Little Egret (SNEG X TRHE X LIEG). I’ll be watching them carefully for the potential of a developing hybrid swarm.

Unfortunately, at this time, the journal is only available online to members of the ABA. However, digital e-memberships (with access to all of the ABA publications) are only $30 a year, and you can purchase issues of the magazine directly from the ABA by emailing info@aba.org. Also, if you wanted to take a peek at the article, I do have a couple of extra copies here at the store for you to peruse.

Believe it or not, a hybrid heron is much rarer than a Steller’s Sea-Eagle, at least from a world perspective…in fact, it’s possible these birds are one of a kind!

Derek’s Birding This Week: 8/28-9/3, 2021

In addition to the Sandy Point Morning Flight tallies posted to our store’s Facebook page – and elsewhere, my observations of note over the past seven days also included the following:

  • 1 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/29.
  • 1 Mourning Warbler, Essex Marsh, Bangor, 8/30 (with Jeannette).
  • 8 SPRUCE GROUSE, 1 Evening Grosbeak, etc, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument Loop Road, 8/30 (with Jeannette). Photo above.
  • 1 Mourning Warbler, Barnard Mountain Trail, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, 8/31 (with Jeannette).
  • 1 proposed TRICOLORED HERON X SNOWY EGRET X SNOWY EGRET HYBRID, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 9/3.

Although I didn’t hit many shorebird sites this week (since we were in the north woods on our days off), I had a few excellent counts of several species:

  • American Oystercatcher: 4 continuing (2 ad with 2 juv), Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/29.
  • Black-bellied Plover: 87, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • Killdeer: 53, Mayall Road, Gray/New Gloucester, 9/2.
  • Semipalmated Plover: 204, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • Sanderling: 2, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • Least Sandpiper: 34, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 9/3.
  • White-rumped Sandpiper: 2, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER: 1 juv, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • Semipalmated Sandpiper: 425, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • Short-billed Dowitcher: 14, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • Solitary Sandpiper: 1, single solitaries at several sites.
  • Lesser Yellowlegs: 132, Yarmouth Town Landing, 9/2 – highest count I have had anywhere locally in several years.
  • “Eastern” Willet: 8, Pine Point, 8/29.
  • Greater Yellowlegs: 11, Eastern Road Trail, 9/3.