Harlequin Ducks and Other Maine Big Year Birds

Harlequin Ducks

Well I’m four days into my Maine Big Year and my total is 67 birds.  I’ve birded from sunup to sunset, with a break for the New England Patriots game on Sunday.

The biggest frustration has been the Rock Wren, a bird of the desert southwest that is inexplicably surviving a Maine winter. Ingrid and I looked for him twice on January 1; I looked again before the January 3rd football game; and twice more on Monday the 4th.  

Finally yesterday, I was standing by myself forlorn in Perkins Cove on my second visit of the day feeling pretty down as I just wasn’t able to get this mega-rarity . . . a terrible start to a big year . . . when I noticed some movement a few feed in front of me.   There was the Rock Wren, staring up at me.  

Rock Wren

He didn’t look much different than the first time I saw him, right after Thanksgiving.  How he is surviving in this cold wet environment is a mystery to me.  Stay warm my friend.

Other adventures included a trip to the Camden/Rockland/Rockport/Thomaston mid-coast area where I picked up several hard to find birds.

Yesterday began with a Northern Saw-whet bird calling before sunrise and a failed try to get a Short-eared Owl which fortunately gave me Bird #67 of the year . . . a Northern Shrike . . . our predator song bird. This petite charmer preys on mice and other birds, killing them with his hooked bill and often impaling them on thorns or barbwire to be consumed later.

Northern Shrike

Two of them moved by me today . . . perhaps one was hunting the other.

The sun will be up soon and I’ll be heading out for day #5.

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