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Browsing posts tagged with: birding

Community Announcement: Maine Audubon’s Birdathon to Take Place May 17

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
Posted on:

COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT

For Immediate Release

May 7, 2014

Contact: Michelle Smith, Communications & Marketing Manager
msmith@maineaudubon.org
(207) 781-6180 x209
Mobile: (207) 838-0511 

Maine Audubon’s Birdathon to Take Place May 17

FALMOUTH – Maine Audubon’s annual statewide Birdathon will take place on Saturday, May 17. The Birdathon is a bird-watching event during spring migration in which participants try to identify as many bird species as possible in one day. The Birdathon is an annual fundraiser for Maine Audubon that supports our mission to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat. Whether you are a beginning or serious birder, you can join the fun!

Maine Audubon kicked off the Birdathon in 1999 as a friendly competition to encourage birders and nature enthusiasts to get outside and document how many bird species they can see in one day. Supporters make pledges per bird spotted or a one-time donation. 143 species were identified in the first year. “The Birdathon is a great way to get outside, support Maine Audubon and engage in some friendly competition,” said Maine Audubon staff naturalist, Doug Hitchcox. “We encourage everyone in the community to get involved, whether you want to form a team or pledge your support.”

Join the fun!

You can participate in three ways:

  1. Register your own team
  2. Pledge to support a team
  3. Submit a one-time donation to support a team

For more information, contact Doug Hitchcox, Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist, at (207) 781-2330 x237 or dhitchcox@maineaudubon.org.

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About Maine Audubon

Maine Audubon’s science-based approach to conservation, education and advocacy advances wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation in Maine. Our citizen science programs connect Maine people to engaging volunteer opportunities that make meaningful contributions to conservation research. The largest Maine-based wildlife conservation organization in the state, Maine Audubon has eight centers and wildlife sanctuaries and serves over 50,000 people annually, with 15,000 members and 2,000 volunteers.

Conserving Maine’s wildlife. For everyone.

Please visit www.maineaudubon.org for more information.
Facebook: & Twitter ID: Maine Audubon

 

 

 

 

Rare Bird Alert – February 1-7, 2014

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Posted on:

Reporting Period: February 1 – 7, 2014
Compilers: Doug Hitchcox

Noteworthy Species Mentioned:

  • Northern Pintail
  • Pacific Loon
  • Golden Eagle
  • Snowy Owl
  • Red-headed Woodpecker

York County
On the 1st, a SNOWY OWL was found at the Wells Beach ‘north’ parking area, perched on a chimney and best seen from the path leading toward the beach.

At least 4 SNOWY OWLS are still being seen regularly around Biddeford Pool this week.

A PACIFIC LOON was reported from the Cliff House in York on the 1st and again on the 2nd.

At least one SNOWY OWL was present at the Nubble Lighthouse in Cape Neddick on the 2nd.

Exact dates are unclear though a GOLDEN EAGLE was photographed in York, near the Scotland Bridge, and apparently was being seen fairly regularly.

Greater Portland
A SNOWY OWL continued to be seen at the Hook on Chebeague Island as of the 1st.

Lewiston-Auburn
In Minot, a SNOWY OWL was found along Pottle Hill Road on January 23rd was last reported on February 4th.

Midcoast
Continuing from January 2nd, an immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER is still being seen along Whiskeag Road in Bath. Most observations are near the Whiskeag Creek, near the address: 166 Whiskeag Road, Bath.

A GOLDEN EAGLE is still being seen at the Bath Landfill, located at the end of Detritus Drive through this week.

On the 2nd, two SNOWY OWLS were seen at Popham Beach State Park.

Penobscot Bay
On the 2nd, there was a report of 1-2 SNOWY OWLS at Clarry Hill in Union, one at the Samoset Resort Golf Course in Rockport, and one at the Owls Head Airport.

Northern Maine
The NORTHERN PINTAIL that was found in a small pond behind the Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle on January 24th continued to be seen there as of February 3rd.

SNOWY OWLS are still being seen regularly on the PT Barn in Presque Isle and at the intersection of the Connector and Route 1.

 

Rare Bird Alert – November 30 – December 6, 2013

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Posted on:

Area: State of Maine
Compilers: Doug Hitchcox

Noteworthy Species Mentioned:

  • Greater White-fronted Goose
  • King Eider
  • Sandhill Crane
  • Snowy Owl
  • Northern Hawk Owl
  • Black-backed Woodpecker
  • Hooded Warbler

York County
A SNOWY OWL was seen at Seapoint Beach in Kittery on the 5th.

On the 2nd, a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was photographed along Circuit Road in Berwick. The bird was seen again, just south of Circuit Road, on the 5th.

A drake KING EIDER was photographed from Marginal Way in Ogunquit on the morning of the 30th.

A SNOWY OWL was found on the rocks a couple hundred yards north of the Nubble Lighthouse in Cape Neddick on the 6th. South of here, another SNOWY OWL was found on the 6th along Long Sands Beach in York.

Two SNOWY OWLS were seen along the Wells Jetty, located at the end of Foster Lane in Wells, on the 4th.

Mount Agamenticus in York hosted a SNOWY OWL on the 4th.

A SNOWY OWL was seen on Strawberry Island, visible from the rock ledges off Great Hill Road in Kennebunk on the 30th. Two new SNOWY OWLS were seen here on the 4th.

Biddeford Pool was the top spot for SNOWY OWLS this week with: 3 on the 30th, 5 on the 1st, 6 on the 2nd, peaking at 10 on the 3rd, and down to 4 on the 6th. A female HOODED WARBLER was seen foraging in a thicket at the edge of the field that borders the corner of Orcutt Road and First Street on the 5th.

Greater Portland
Two SANDHILL CRANES were filmed in Scarborough this week. They were reported from a marsh off Highland Ave on the 5th and 6th.

Dyer Point in Cape Elizabeth hosted a SNOWY OWL on the 30th.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was found in the field off Cross and Winn Roads in Cumberland on the 4th.

Midcoast
Away from the coast, a SNOWY OWL was seen on the 1st along Route 220, approximately 0.3 miles south of Route 17, in Washington.

On the 30th, three SNOWY OWLS were seen from Small Point in Phippsburg.

Also on the 30th, a SNOWY OWL was on the Morse River side of Popham Beach State Park. At least five SNOWY OWLS were photographed at the park on the 1st. A new SNOWY OWL was seen here on the 6th.

Monhegan Island’s SNOWY OWL count reached three on the 1st.

Waldoboro also hosted a SNOWY OWL on the 5th. This one was just off Chapel Road in Waldoboro, midway between Feylers Corner Road and Route 235.

Central Maine
A SNOWY OWL was seen in an open field off Route 220, about 2 miles south of the junction with Route 9/202 on the 5th.

Unity Pond hosted a SNOWY OWL on the 5th.

Since November 12th, a NORTHERN HAWK OWL has been seen near the intersection of Route 116 (Penobscot Valley Ave / Route 95 Connector Road) and Route 2 (West Broadway). More recently, the bird has been seen further east on Penobscot Valley Ave, near the railroad tracks. The bird was still being reported there as of December 4th.

Downeast
A SNOWY OWL was seen along the road up Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor on the 3rd.

On the 4th, a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was seen on Sargent Mountain in Acadia Nation Park.

A SNOWY OWL was seen at the Navy base in Cutler on the 5th.

Northern Maine
Aroostook County got on the board with a SNOWY OWL just south of the intersection of the Madore Road and Route 1 in Cyr Plantation (near Van Buren) on the 5th.

 

Rare Bird Alert – November 23 – 29, 2013

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Posted on:

Area: State of Maine
Compilers: Doug Hitchcox

Noteworthy Species Mentioned:

  • King Eider
  • American Golden-Plover
  • Snowy Owl
  • Northern Hawk Owl
  • Lark Sparrow

York County
A hen KING EIDER was seen off Seapoint Beach in Kittery on the afternoon of the 23rd.

On the 25th, a LARK SPARROW was reported from the Old Orchard Beach Transfer Station.

Greater Portland
A SNOWY OWL was perched atop one of the hunting blinds in the Scarborough Marsh, visible from the end of Seavey’s Landing Road in Scarborough on the 23rd.

On the 24th, a deceased SNOWY OWL was found along the Cliff Walk at Prouts Neck in Scarborough.

Midcoast
A late AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was reported from Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg on the 23rd.

On the 28th, two SNOWY OWLS were seen on island in the mouth of the Kennebec River. One was atop North Sugarloaf Island and the other on South Sugarloaf Island.

Penobscot Bay
A SNOWY OWL was photographed along the runways of the Knox County Regional Airport in Owl’s Head on the 26th.

Central Maine
Since November 12th, a NORTHERN HAWK OWL has been seen near the intersection of Route 116 (Penobscot Valley Ave / Rte 95 Connector Road) and Route 2 (West Broadway). The bird does not seem to be entirely reliable at this location but was still being reported there as of November 26th.

Western Mountains
A SNOWY OWL was reported early in the week from the top of Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley.

 

Wildfire Episode 19 – Have you heard a Whippoorwill lately?

Thursday, October 24th, 2013
Posted on:

On this edition of Wildfire, Maine’s professional birding guide and author, Bob Duchesne, talks about birds, bats, habitat, and the state’s growing birding economy. Find out why Harry hates warblers, why turkey vultures have taken over the state, and whether or not it’s a good thing to feed birds.

 

Trip Report: 2013 Bar Harbor Pelagic

Friday, September 20th, 2013
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The basic description we have used for this trip humbly states “great boat, great camaraderie, and, of course, great sightings of birds and marine mammals” – this is an understatement on many counts! We were very pleased to have about 100 guests aboard this annual trip. Below you will find a short video from the boat including a short look at some dolphins we saw, an official species list compiled by Doug Hitchcox, links to the eBird checklists and a photo gallery from the trip.

If you have photos you would like to share from this trip please leave a link in the comments or send us an email.

The Friendship V of the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. is the “most luxurious and fastest active catamaran whale watcher in the USA” according to their website. No kidding, not only is she fast but stable and comfortable for our near 130 mile round trip on the open water. This video shows us cruising past Acadia and a bonus view of one of the pods of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins we watched.

Another great aspect of this trip is the camaraderie on the boat. It was great to have a strong group of experienced birders along to share identification tips, discreet differences and behaviors among the species we saw with those who were new to pelagic birds or birding in general.

As for the species list, well that’s always up to the birds and we were fortunate to see some significant birds. Even some of the most experienced birders on board saw at least one lifer!

Here are the compiled checklists as submitted by Doug Hitchcox to eBird. If you are new to eBird it is simply an online database of bird observations which helps provide scientists, researchers and amateur naturalists with data about bird distribution and abundance. All species are listed beneath the photos.

The checklists are split up by region – Maine Audubon Pelagic 2013:

Species list and approximate totals:

  • Mallard – 24
  • American Black Duck – 10
  • Blue-winged Teal – 9
  • Common Eider – 384
  • Surf Scoter – 2
  • Common Loon – 3
  • Northern Fulmar – 7
  • Great Shearwater – 370
  • Sooty Shearwater – 84
  • Manx Shearwater – 1
  • Wilson’s Storm-pretrel – 40
  • Leach’s Storm-petrel – 120
  • Northern Gannet – ~100
  • Double-crested Cormorant – 52
  • Great Cormorant – 8
  • Great Blue Heron – 1
  • Bald Eagle – 1
  • Black-bellied Plover – 1
  • Least Sandpiper – 1
  • Red-necked Phalarope – 110
  • Red Phalarope – 200
  • GREAT SKUA – 3
  • SOUTH POLAR SKUA – 2
  • Pomarine Jaeger – 21+
  • Parasitic Jaeger – 2
  • Razorbill – 16
  • Black Guillemot – 2+
  • Atlantic Puffin – 9
  • Bonaparte’s Gull – 1+
  • Laughing Gull – 7
  • Herring Gull – ~200
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull – 10
  • Great Black-backed Gull – ~250
  • Common Tern – 8
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird – 6-7
  • Merlin – 2
  • American Crow – 4+
  • Northern Parula – 1

Mammals:

  • Fin Whale
  • Humpback Whale
  • Atlantic White-sided Dolphin
  • Harbor Porpoise
  • Gray Seal
  • Harbor Seal
  • Red Bat

Odes:

  • Wandering Glider
 

Rare Bird Alert June 19 – 25, 2013

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Posted on:

Reporting Period: June 19 – 25, 2013
Area: State of Maine
Compilers: Doug Hitchcox

Noteworthy Species Mentioned:

  • Red-billed Tropicbird+
  • Swallow-tailed Kite+
  • Tricolored Heron
  • White-faced Ibis+
  • American Golden-Plover
  • Black-necked Stilt
  • American Three-toed Woodpecker
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Seaside Sparrow

(+ Details requested by Maine Bird Records Committee)

York County
A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW continues to be seen at the Kennebunk Plains on the north side of Route 99. Very uncommon in the summer, an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was photographed at Fortune’s Rocks Beach in Biddeford on the 18th. Presumably the same bird was seen at Hill’s Beach on the 25th. The BLACK-NECKED STILT (more below) made a brief appearance in York County when it spent the 20th on Stratton Island.

Greater Portland
The BLACK-NECKED STILT continued sporadically throughout this week: spending the 19th in the marsh off the Eastern Trail, the 20th on Stratton Island, and back in the Scarborough Marsh on the 22nd through the 24th. Two SEASIDE SPARROWS were also seen this week from the Eastern Trail. The WHITE-FACED IBIS and TRICOLORED HERON continue at various locations around the Scarborough Marsh. A probably SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was reported over Plainview Farm Perennials on Mountfort Road in North Yarmouth on the 24th.eee

Penobscot Bay
The RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD that has taken residence on Seal Island again this year was reported on the 23rd.

Central Maine
An AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER was seen at the Nesowadnehunk Campground in Baxter State Park on the 20th.

 

Recently at Gilsland Farm: Nesting Hairy Woodpecker

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
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One day in late April while taking a walk to the west meadow I was at the end of the parking area at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center when a flash flew by that could only be a woodpecker. It didn’t take long to find the bird – who it turned out had important nearby duties to attend to – and sure enough it was a female hairy woodpecker. An insistent and crowded peeping sound emanating from the woods signaled this woodpecker’s true mission – raising chicks!

I tracked and then lost the adult bird but the peeping of the chicks drew me to inspect a poplar tree where I discovered the nesting cavity entrance! An exquisitely placed entrance hole that had a natural roof was situated where a human (me) could stay for good looks and still not disturb the nesters from their duties.

So I setup a tripod and waited, and returned several days across the month. The results are below.

– Robert Denton
Communications, Maine Audubon

_MG_0715

This family was found on April 22. I learned a lot about the hairy woodpecker’s breeding and nesting habits in The Birders Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds [available in our store] by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryle Wheye. A hairy woodpecker pair will bond in the winter and the female often may tap at a potential nest site and perform flight antics to attract a male. The excavation of the nesting cavity takes 1-3 1/2 weeks. The male usually selects the site and the nesting cavity is typically lined with wood chips.

_MG_0678

The pair will have 3-6 eggs with an average of 4 which hatch within 15 days. The chicks typically fledge within 28-30 days but I last saw them in the nest on June 3 so that puts these chicks over the cited fledge range.

This was a wonderful thing to watch from the first days when the parents were going into the cavity to feed at regular intervals 15-18 minutes apart, until the day the first chick was caught peeking outside at the big world from the only home it knew. The pictures confirm a male and female chick and beyond looking into the nest or seeing them all fledge only the parents know how many young were set off into the world. The chicks apparently fledged sometime in the first week of June.

_MG_1504
May 30 – the first day I saw the chicks.

_MG_1781
June 3 – The male chick peeks out above, and the female chick below._MG_1655

 

Audubon Rare Bird Alert May 29 – June 4, 2013

Sunday, June 9th, 2013
Posted on:

Reporting Period: May 29 – June 4, 2013
Area: State of Maine
Compilers: Doug Hitchcox

Noteworthy Species Mentioned:

  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck+
  • Mute Swan
  • Tricolored Heron
  • White-faced Ibis+
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Swallow-tailed Kite+
  • Iceland Gull
  • Caspian Tern
  • White-winged Dove
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Summer Tanager
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Yellow-headed Blackbird

(+ Details requested by Maine Bird Records Committee)

York County
On the 29th, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was found at the Kennebunk Plains on the north side of Route 99. This bird continued to be reported here throughout the week. An impressive morning flight was observed from Biddeford Pool on the 30th, highlight by: 15 MOURNING WARBLERS, double digit CANADA WARBLERS and WILSON’S WARBLERS, 1000+ AMERICAN RESTARTS and MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, and 20+ YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS among 100+ Empidonax flycatchers.

Greater Portland
An AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER was observed at Pine Point in Scarborough on the 31st. A pair was seen here on the 3rd. A TRICOLORED HERON continued in the Scarborough Marsh on the 3rd behind the Pelreco building; a WHITE-FACED IBIS was also reported here throughout the week. An apparent SNOWY EGRET X TRICOLORED HERON hybrid was well documented in the salt pannes along Route 1 through the marsh on the 3rd. Two MUTE SWANS were reported from Black Point Road in Scarborough on the 30th. Over the weekend, two AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS and a PIPING PLOVER were photographed on the sand bar between Chebeague and Little Chebeague Islands.

Midcoast
On the 31st, three ‘dark-billed’ swans (TUNDRA/TRUMPETER SWAN) were seen flying over Seawall Beach in Phippsburg. Highlights from Monhegan Island this week included: ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, and BLUE GROSBEAK. A SUMMER TANAGER was photographed on Metinic Island on the 31st.

Penobscot Bay
Three MUTE SWANS were reported at Laite Beach in Camden Harbor on the 30th.

Central Maine
A SWALLOW-TAILED KITE was observed flying over Milo on the 1st.

On the 3rd, a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was photographed on a feeder along Swetts Pond Road in Orrington.

Downeast
After one was found deceased on the 28th, five of the BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS continued at the ponds at the Mount Desert Island High School and were last seen on the 30th. A late ICELAND GULL was seen around Thompson Island near Mount Desert Island from the 30th through the 2nd. On the 2nd, a CASPIAN TERN was photographed at Seal Cove on Mount Desert Island. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen here on the 31st.

 

Audubon Rare Bird Alert May 21 – 28, 2013

Thursday, May 30th, 2013
Posted on:

Clay-colored Sparrow

Reporting Period: May 21 – 28, 2013
Area: State of Maine
Compilers: Doug Hitchcox

Noteworthy Species Mentioned:

  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck+
  • Pink-footed Goose+
  • Red-billed Tropicbird+
  • Tricolored Heron
  • White-faced Ibis+
  • American Golden-Plover
  • Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove+
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Blue-winged Warbler
  • Hooded Warbler
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Clay-colored Sparrow
  • Summer Tanager
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Dickcissel
  • Orchard Oriole

(+ Details requested by Maine Bird Records Committee)

York County
An ACADIAN FLYCATCHER was well documented at Fort Foster in Kittery on the 21st. On the 26th, a BLACK TERN was seen from the beach at Biddeford Pool. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, first reported on the 20th, was seen again on the 27th in a Hollis yard.

Greater Portland
A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was present in a Pownal yard beginning on the 22nd and continuing until at least the 24th. Rare in the spring, an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER and a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER were reported in the Scarborough Marsh on the 26th, the plover continued on the 27th. A TRICOLORED HERON and possibly two WHITE-FACED IBIS continue to be seen around the marsh. Maine’s first EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE spent the 28th at 51 Carroll Street in Falmouth. The bird was seen visiting the feeders here then spent the day roosting in trees around the yard.

Kennebec River Valley (Augusta-Waterville)
A BLUE-WINGED WARBLER continued at the Bond Brook Recreation Area in Augusta on the 23rd.

Midcoast
On the 23rd, an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was reported from Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg. A SUMMER TANAGER was seen here on the 25th. A PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was photographed at the Great Salt Bay Wildlife Preserve in Damariscotta on the 25th.

Highlights from Monhegan Island this week included: a late AMERICAN TREE SPARROW and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW on the 23rd, a HOODED WARBLER on the 25th, an ACADIAN FLYCATCHER on the 25th and 26th, a WHITE-EYED VIREO on the 27th and an ORCHARD ORIOLE seen almost daily.

Penobscot Bay
Returning for the 9th year, a RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD has returned to Seal Island as of May 14th.

Downeast
Six BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS were found at the ponds at the Mount Desert Island High School on the 28th. This could represent only the second documented occurrence of this species in Maine. These birds may have been present the day before at Echo Lake in Mount Desert.

Western Mountains
A DICKCISSEL was seen off Harbor Road in Fryeburg on the morning of the 24th.