Migration is ramping up and we’re ready to show you all the amazing birds that are using Evergreen Cemetery in Portland as a stopover point on their northward journey, or to stay and breed. Each weekday, Monday through Friday, from May 9-20, I’ll be at Evergreen Cemetery (map) to lead a walk from 7-9 am to look for any birds or other wildlife. More event info here: maineaudubon.org/news/events/warbler-walks/
NO WALK ON MONDAY, MAY 16TH. We’re very sorry for the late notice, but due to a personnel shortage there will not be an Audubon guide at Evergreen on Monday, the 16th.
Curious as to how it is going and what we are seeing? Here are daily summaries, with some of our avian highlights and a link to an eBird checklist of all the birds seen each morning:
Monday, 9 May
Our first Warbler Walk of 2022! Great to see lots of familiar faces without the masks we were all wearing last year. It was a bit slow for birding, but nice to be able to ease into the flood of warblers that is to come. We still managed two track down seven species of warblers, comprising most of the early migrants. Palm Warbler, for example, is one of the earlier warblers to migrate back, and their numbers will already start to drop off while others are yet to arrive. Two male Wood Ducks at the large pond were stunning in the early morning light!
— Doug Hitchcox (@dhitchcox) May 10, 2022
Tuesday, 10 May
We had a similar species composition today as we did yesterday, though a Prairie Warbler was a new species for the day. Prairie Warblers tend to favor ‘edge’ habitats, and we can usually find one if we bird along the power line cut, but today we got up close views of a male foraging and singing right along the trail behind the pond. This is one of the fun things about migrant traps like Evergreen Cemetery, you’ll often see birds in different habitats and sometimes behaving differently than usual. There was also a push of Blue Jays migrating in the morning. Many jays appeared to move out of the state last fall, perhaps tied to a poor mast year, (though not as significant as their 2018-19 departure) so it was nice to see these high flying migrants coming back. A local pair was even seen gather nesting material by the brush pile; another point on the Maine Bird Atlas Blue Jay breeding map!
Wednesday, 11 May
Another slightly quiet day due to the poor nightly conditions for migrants. Once the low-pressure system in the mid-Atlantic shifts, we’ll hopefully get the southerly wind that will push the next wave of migrants up here. I highly recommend using BirdCast.info to see migration forecasts and pick the best times to go out. Friday night into Saturday is looking pretty good! We did have some new birds at Evergreen, with Chestnut-sided Warbler capturing our attention at the start of the walk. The little island in the main pond has been a warbler magnet each morning, and today a singing male Chestnut-sided Warbler spent 30+ minutes singing from that oasis. Wood Thrushes, which we’ve at least heard daily, also put on an amazing show today. On our way to the brush pile, one was spotted singing high in a tree, which seemed like good views until if flew down towards us and sang from a quarter of the distance and half the height!
Thursday, 12 May
We finally got an obvious push of migrants today, but you never would have known in the first ~40 minutes of birding. The morning was warm but misty and the birds were very quiet. We birded around the pond, up to the brush piles, and were on our way to check the power line cut when finally the mist burned off, the sun came out, and birds were everywhere! New species for the week included a difficult-to-see Blackburnian Warbler at the brush pile, and a vocal Fish Crow by the junk pond.
Friday, 13 May
Many thanks to my colleague, Nick Lund, for filling in today! I’m especially jealous, looking at their list from the morning, of the four(!) Green Herons, and the Winter Wren that they saw. A couple new warblers for the cumulative week’s list include: American Redstart and Magnolia Warbler. And nice to see that Chimney Swifts arrived as well!
LOOK HOW MUCH FUN WE HAD pic.twitter.com/c59bIfhH1x
— The Birdist (@TheBirdist) May 13, 2022
Monday, 16 May
Sorry again for the late notice that there was no Audubon guide present, but from what we’ve heard, you didn’t need anyone to help spot a bird. There was a massive push of migrants overnight that created “fallout” conditions across the northeast. A local student and exceptional birder, Matthew Gilbert, tallied 75 species, including 19 species of warblers, during his morning birding the cemetery. Here is a link to his impressive list:
Tuesday, 17 May
A huge thank you to Linda Woodard, Scarborough Marsh Audubon Director, for leading today’s bird walk. Many of yesterday’s migrants have dispersed but diversity was still high. Scarlet Tanagers really moved in to the Maine woods yesterday, and a highlight for many in Evergreen today was an Olive-sided Flycatcher seen by the southern edge of the large pond.
Thanks again to Nick and Linda for their help covering these walks. I’ll be back tomorrow and can’t wait to see how much has changed!
Wednesday, 18 May
Another beautiful day at Evergreen! We’ve lucked out with good weather, which may change tomorrow (the rain will hopefully hold until late morning) but it was great for spotting warblers flitting after insects in the tops of trees. It has been six days since my last walk, and amazing to see how quickly the leaves are popping out and obscuring otherwise bright a colorful birds. A singing Scarlet Tanager started off our morning, but despite standing almost right under it, we never got eyes on it! Fortunately, there was plenty else to see, including (a personal favorite) good showing of Canada Warblers by the pond. Here is our full list from the morning:
— Doug Hitchcox (@dhitchcox) May 18, 2022
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We’re happy to be able to offer these Warbler Walks, the weekly bird walk (every Thursday) at Gilsland Farm, and many of our online programs for free. If you enjoy the walks and programs and want to be sure to know about them, as well as our other work in conservation, advocacy, and education, please consider becoming a member, or making a donation at: maineaudubon.org/donate. Your support allows us to continue our work: to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat.