If someone asked what the next new bird species to Maine would be, I wouldn’t have guessed Surfbird. Probably not even with 100 guesses. But it happened. On March 20, a group from the Tin Mountain Bird Society spotted an unusual bird amongst some Ruddy Turnstones and Purple Sandpipers. That afternoon one of the group members, Sandra Mitchell, sent me a few photos and a great write up of the bird which sure enough was the first Surfbird to ever have been seen in Maine.
And not just Maine, the entire Atlantic Coast! There are a few records of Surfbird spottings in Texas and Florida, but those were within the Gulf of Mexico. Below is a map from eBird.org that shows the normal Eastern-Pacific range of this species (you can also see the tiny pink dot in Maine showing this sighting).
The bird has been seen along the rocky coastline of our East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford. This sanctuary has hosted a number of rare birds over the years, including a Chestnut-collared Longspur in June 2012 (only the second record for Maine), and the first ever sighting of Variegated Flycatcher in the entire US!
The Surfbird was seen all day on Sunday, March 22. Unfortunately, efforts to find the bird on the 23rd have been unsuccessful as of 3:30pm. If the bird is relocated, updates are likely to be posted here:
A Maine native, Doug grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. Throughout college Doug worked at Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center and was hired as Maine Audubon’s staff naturalist in the summer of 2013, a long time “dream job.” In his free time, Doug volunteers as one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, is the owner and moderator of the ‘Maine-birds’ listserv and serves as York County Audubon board member and Secretary of the Maine Bird Records Committee.