We’ve waited, we’ve debated, and now we know: The Steller’s Sea-Eagle is back! You’re probably well aware of the Amazing Saga of the Steller’s Sea-Eagle (video link) but if not, this is an incredibly rare eagle from Eastern Siberia that after moving across North America in 2021, spent the winter from 30 Dec 2021 – 5 Mar 2022 around mid-coast Maine. It moved north, spending summer 2022 in Newfoundland, then started wandering south in the fall. The last sighting had been in northeast New Brunswick in November, until showing back up in Maine on 4 Feb 2023!
We kept a blog updated with daily sightings last year, and will post all 2023 updates here. Last year’s blog, with much more background information and all the locations it has been seen in the past, is available here: maineaudubon.org/news/rare-bird-alert-stellers-sea-eagle/
If you are going to look for the Sea-Eagle, please read the advisories carefully. The viewing locations are in small towns with narrow roads, so please respect local communities and their needs.
FLYING POINT ROAD IS CLOSED. (Official announcement here) On 15 February, the Town of Georgetown announced that Flying Point Road needed to be closed to vehicles because of the mud and ruts that have been formed on it. Since this is a town-maintained road, please consider donating to Georgetown to help fund repairs. Donations can be made at the Georgetown Town Office (open 9 am-5 pm, Monday through Thursday) 50 Bay Point Road; mailed to PO Box 436, Georgetown, ME 04548; or you can call this number to place the donation: 207-371-2820.
The road commissioner has said it is okay to walk along Flying Point Road, but beware it is ~1 mile before you’ll reach the preserve. Robinhood Road is the connection to Flying Point Road, and has an even smaller shoulder than Route 127, and really not suitable for parking on. Remember, it is important to park beyond the white line on the shoulder on Route 127 to not inhibit the flow of traffic.
UPDATE: No confirmed sightings of the Steller’s Sea-Eagle since 15 Feb 2023.
UPDATE: 14 Feb 2023 – The first report today was at 8:40AM, the Steller’s Sea-Eagle was sitting in a tree across the Back River from Flying Point Preserve, about “150 yards north of the view point” (see map below). Please be advised that Flying Point Road is a very narrow dirt road that is currently deeply rutted, and parking is extremely limited. Please drive with excessive caution, respect local residents, be prepared for a long walk to viewing locations, and carpool if possible.
UPDATE: 13 Feb 2023 – The Steller’s Sea-Eagle was first reported today at Flying Point Preserve at 8:00AM. Around 9:17AM it flew south from Flying Point, past the Back River bridge, then was reported almost an hour later, perched in a tall pine on the south side of the bridge (https://goo.gl/maps/MzF8SVMB3iCkGZ2C9). Last sighting of the day was around 10:40AM.
UPDATE: 12 Feb 2023 – Despite many people out looking, the only confirmed sighting from today was in the afternoon (2:25-3:08PM) from the private property down river of the Back River bridge, where it had also been seen from on 9 Feb. Please be respectful of the locals and all property in the area. Make sure you are parking off the road and only going on public land or where you have permission to be.
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UPDATE: 11 Feb 2023 – First sighting of the day was at 8:45AM, when the Steller’s Sea-Eagle was seen flying with Bald Eagle. It settled in a tree, reportedly visible from both the Route 127-Back River bridge and Flying Point Preserve. Around 10AM the sea-eagle left its perch and eventually flew “east and out of sight.” There were no sightings through the remainder of the day.
PARKING NOTE: Viewing from the Rt 127 bridge presents major safety issues (both for viewers and for drivers). Police have had to remind people to park completely off the road, and stay out of the road. Be sure to keep to one side of the bridge, park inside the white lines, and make safety the number one priority.
UPDATE: 10 Feb 2023 – At ~9:40AM, the Steller’s Sea-Eagle was perched north of the north of the Route 127-Back River bridge. Just before 10AM it flew, and was found at 10:27AM on the marsh, visible from Flying Point Preserve, where it stayed for a couple hours, eventually moving back to the trees north of the Back River bridge. Last seen at 5:02PM, flying north.
UPDATE: 9 Feb 2023 – One person spotted the Steller’s Sea-Eagle early today, visible only from private property (DO NOT TRESPASS) on the Back River, but south of the Route 127-Back River bridge. At 7:36AM is was seen flying south, towards Popham. Despite many people looking across the area, no additional sightings have come in as of 3:45PM.
UPDATE: 8 Feb 2023 – First report of the day was at 7:30AM perched north of the Route 127-Back River bridge. See the map below for key points around the area. Around 11:00AM, it was spotted on an ice flow in the Back River, seen from Flying Point Preserve (parking here: https://goo.gl/maps/p8tfMvJWAbuUJvn66). By 12:30 it had flown back to the trees by the bridge, with the last report of the day was as it flew off, heading east, at 2:13PM.
UPDATE: 7 Feb 2023 – A late arrival today, the Steller’s Sea-Eagle made its first appearance flying past Flying Point Preserve at 10:40AM, then perched near the Route 127-Back River bridge. At 2:15PM it flew north, no longer visible from the bridge and reportedly landed somewhere across the Back River from Flying Point Preserve. There was one more sighting later in the day, around 4:00PM, of it flying north, upriver, apparently heading to roost.
UPDATE: 6 Feb 2023 – The Steller’s Sea-Eagle first appeared at 7:47AM, flying back to the area it has been in the past two days –see “sightings area” on the map below. Most reports this morning are from the Route 127-Back River bridge: https://goo.gl/maps/MzF8SVMB3iCkGZ2C9. The bird dropped, and was on the ice for awhile (feeding?) then around 11:30AM fly north, and out of sight from the bridge. It was found again from Flying Point Preserve (parking here: https://goo.gl/maps/p8tfMvJWAbuUJvn66) but sitting further up the Back River than any it had been yesterday (at the dropped pin). It was still being seen as late as 5:02PM, when it flushed with two Bald Eagles, but was dark enough at that point to not be tracked (perhaps going to roost up river like yesterday).
UPDATE: 5 Feb 2023 – The Steller’s Sea-Eagle apparently roosted in the pines off the north side of the Back River bridge, and is being seeing “by a ton of people” this morning. This is the bridge on Route 127 between Arrowsic and Georgetown, map: https://goo.gl/maps/MzF8SVMB3iCkGZ2C9. The bird stayed perched there until it was reportedly flushed by someone trespassing (DO NOT TRESPASS!) and moved across the Back River. It was then found from a viewpoint off a trail at Flying Point Preserve. Parking for the preserve is here: https://goo.gl/maps/p8tfMvJWAbuUJvn66 but note that people reported needing to walk over a mile today because of all the cars. All of these locations are labelled on the map below.
UPDATE: 4 Feb 2023 – The Steller’s Sea-Eagle has been found today (at 12:45PM) by Stacy Hildreth (photo), seen from the bridge on Route 127 between Arrowsic and Georgetown (map: https://goo.gl/maps/MzF8SVMB3iCkGZ2C9).
Rare Bird Alerts: There are two groups on the messaging app GroupMe where people are posting updates about this bird. One group, called the East Coast Steller’s Sea-Eagle Discussion Group, is dedicated to this sea-eagle but includes all topics and ‘discussion’. You can join that group here: https://groupme.com/join_group/84280481/MagFLJZ3. There is also a Maine Rare Bird Alert, where other rarities like the Common Ringed Plover in Biddeford are also discussed, but has stricter rules to keep the group concise and effective for people interested in just updates on those rarities. Rules and ‘how to join’ the Maine Rare Bird Alert are here: https://tinyurl.com/MaineRBAGroupMeRules