Yearly Archives: 2020

Aug 282020

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Today I told my boss that I would be retiring at the end of October. She was a bit upset but wished me well and I then promised to complete a couple vital projects for the company before I left in a couple months. That of course was before I learned there was a Buff-breasted […]

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Aug 162020

Shorebird Migration in Full Swing

When I first started getting interested in birds I was amazed that some birds start migrating south at the end of July. Here-to-fore I thought of fall migration as the V-shaped line of geese flying south on gloomy days in November. In actuality one can find migrating birds on the hot muggy dog days of […]

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Aug 102020

Clark’s Grebe

This morning was a hot, muggy, and lazy Sunday morning here on the coast of Maine. COVID-19 has limited the usual influx of summer visitors but we were joined by Ingrid’s daughter and her girlfriend on Saturday and looked forward to a day of boating and eating too much. I got up early and was […]

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Jul 272020

Common Murres but No Tropic Bird

On July 12, 2005 a strange bird was sighted off the cold ocean waters of Deer Isle, Maine . . . a Red-billed Tropicbird. This bird should have been nesting on the Galapagos Islands or moving through the warm waters of the Virgin Islands or Panama. For the next 15 this same Red-billed Tropicbird would […]

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Jul 252020

Corey’s Shearwater

Yesterday morning a friend took me out into Casco Bay for a little deep water birding off the Maine Coast. With Covid-19 cancelling many of the usual pelagic trips, I’ve had to fill my year list with different approaches to off shore birds. In years past Great and Manx Shearwaters are regular visitors to Casco […]

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Jul 242020

American Oystercatcher

The comical American Oystercatcher is a common sight all year long along the eastern seaboard from New Jersey to Mexico. During the summer they even nest along Long Island Sound. To the best of my knowledge, American Oystercatchers only breed in Maine on Stratton Island a few miles off Old Orchard Beach. During the summer […]

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Jul 162020

American Avocet

This is an American Avocet, a bird that should be nesting on the Great Plains right now . . . but this particular one recently showed up in Wells, Maine. This afternoon I skipped out of work a little early (actually a lot early) to try and find him. The problem with chasing a rare […]

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Jul 132020

My Quest for a Chuck-Will’s-Widow

A few days ago a Chuck-Will’s-Widow was heard on a nature preserve road in Orland, Maine . . . a rural town south of Bar Harbor. The Chuck-Will’s Widow is a Nightjar, similar to the the Eastern Whip-Poor-Will, a nocturnal bird that is rarely seen and generally only heard at night. In the case of […]

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Jul 92020

Piping Plover Nest Vandalism

Yesterday morning at an empty Popham Beach (5:15 am) I counted 24 Piping Plovers of various ages scurrying around on the sand.  Just a few decades ago, such counts would have been unimaginable.  This was a real thrill to see this once endangered bird thriving so well. Sadly I returned home and Ingrid told me […]

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Jun 262020

Sedge Wren in Maine

I like to photograph every species of bird we see and right now my count is at 557.   Four years ago Ingrid and I were birding in Texas and we briefly saw a Sedge Wren moving through the tall grass.  Unfortunately the bird quickly hid and we never saw it again . . . […]

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Jun 232020

Atlantic Puffins

COVID-19 and bad weather have worked together to limit the off shore birding in Maine this year.  Finally yesterday a Puffin and Whale cruise out of Boothbay Harbor was scheduled and actually held . . . and Ingrid and I were on it, with masks and hand sanitizer at the ready. The cruise was out […]

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Jun 232020

Canada jay

Every birder has a White Whale . . . a bird we waste countless hours trying to “get” and always end up disappointed. Ours is the Canada Jay (also called Gray Jay, Whiskey Jack, Camp Robber, Lumberjack, Meat Bird, Venison Hawk, Moose Bird, Gorby Bird and Gooney Bird). To add insult to injury, Alpine Skiers […]

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Jun 142020

Yellow-breasted Chat

Today’s adventure in the Maine woods was a quest to find a Yellow-breasted Chat seen yesterday morning in Thomaston, Maine. The location, near the Thomaston Airport was familiar to us as Ingrid had sighted our first Northern Shrike there, some three years ago. Up at 4:30, I arrived an hour later just as Eddie Edwards, […]

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Jun 112020

Tricolored Heron

  Off and on this spring, a Tricolored Heron has been seen in the saltwater marshes south of Portland, Maine. Rarely seen north of the Carolinas, the TCN is a real catch. Unfortunately, this particular bird is not very cooperative. One day he’ll be in the Spurwink Marsh in Cape Elizabeth; the next day at […]

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Jun 112020

Virginia Rail

A couple days ago I thought I saw a couple Virginia Rails fly up out of some reeds at Great Salt Bay . . . a near by birding spot.  It was a brief glance, would have been a lifer and I decided not count them and try to confirm the sighting later. This morning […]

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Jun 42020

Piping Plover

What a week of birding I’ve had!!!  I took a few days off to enjoy the end of spring migration before all the birds are on their nests. On Thursday I saw a Saltmarsh Sparrow and its closely related cousin, the Nelson’s Sparrow in Scarborough, Maine. On Friday, I hiked to the top of Saddleback […]

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May 272020

Clay-colored Sparrow

If one goes to any Bird Field Guide . . . it’s clear that Clay-colored Sparrows don’t belong in Maine.  As a matter of fact, they are rarely seen south or east of Niagara Falls.  But each some a handful of them end up in a grass land preserve in Brunswick. They have a distinctive […]

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May 232020

Compressed Warbler Season Continues

Our Spring has been so cold and wet . . . plants and trees have been late to flower . . . and thus the caterpillars that warblers rely on for food have been late to emerge.  A couple weeks ago we had dozens of Yellow-rumped Warblers on our suet feeders as they were stressed […]

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May 192020

Black-billed Cuckoo

Most days when I head out birding, I’m on a mission to find one specific bird.  It may be a rarity that another birder had seen recently or a seasonal visitor that I’d found at particular location in previous years. Today I was looking for a Black-billed Cuckoo at Green Point Preserve in Dresden, Maine. […]

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May 182020

Summer Tanager

Two or three times a year rare birds show up on backyard feeders in Maine.  The protocol is to contact the owner and ask if you can visit, stand in their backyard and hope the bird arrives.  But that was before COVID-19. The last few days a Summer Tanager has been visiting the feeders at […]

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May 182020

Cape May Warbler

Late yesterday evening Ingrid and I began seeing reports of a Golden-winged Warbler being seen at a park in Portland.  A GWW is not unheard of in Maine, but is unusual and would be a lifer. So I set my alarm for 4:00 am and headed south bright and early. I was the first birder […]

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May 152020

An Incredible Week of Birding

May is the best month of the year to Bird and Ingrid and I try to get out as often as possible. May mornings can be cold and windy and we’re both working full time so one never gets out as much as one would like. Its also tough to find time to keep up […]

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May 122020

Marsh Wren

The Marsh Wren can often being be heard gurgling in the reeds but rarely does one get more than a fleeting glimpse of one.  At 6:00 this morning I was walking by a marshy pond photographing a Canada Goose family when Mr. Marsh Wren popped up, moving through the cattails looking at me. Also saw […]

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May 82020

Virginia Rail

    When Ingrid and I retire we plan to do a Big Year, but until that day its bird before or after work.  And in May and June I can bird before AND after work.  Now that is really great. Got five first of the year birds: Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Least […]

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May 82020

Second Wave of Warblers

Each Maine spring, the warblers seem to come in waves. The first wave is the the Palm, Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Wave two is the Common Yellowthroats, Black-and-White and Yellow Warblers The next wave (#3) are the really fun birds: Cape May, Blackburnian, Canada Magnolia and Wilsons And finally when you start seeing Blackpoll Warblers […]

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