Monthly Archives: May 2021

May 292021

One Warbler to Go

With spring migration pretty much over . . . I’ve picked up 27 warblers so far this year.  The only regularly occurring Maine warbler that I don’t have is a Mourning Warbler, a bird I have never seen.  During the summer it nests in northern Maine . . . looks like some summer road trips […]

Read More

May 282021

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Today I drove almost four hours north to pick up the rare Black-backed Woodpecker. A friend found this bird (on its nest last week) and I was very excited about chasing it. Unfortunately access to birds in the Maine north woods involves horrible dirt logging roads . . . far away from civilization (i.e. Dunkin […]

Read More

May 232021

Rushing Around

A Maine Big Year during migration season is chaotic as we rush from place to place looking for one rare bird at a time. I say we, because Ingrid is with me on many of my excursions (when she isn’t teaching her 4th grade cherubs). Most of the easy birds have been checked off but […]

Read More

May 202021

Six Vireos

It’s a hot summer day, there isn’t a breeze blowing and everything is still and oppressive . . . except for one bird that is singing over and over again . . . as many as 20,000 times in a day. We hear the Red-eyed Vireo sing so often, a whistling phrase “here-I-am, in-the-tree, look-up, […]

Read More

May 192021

Grassland Habitat

As Ingrid and I chase birds around the state of Maine trying to get to 318 . . . we are constantly shifting habitats. A bird that is very common on the beach . . . say a Piping Plover . . . is never found in woods, just a mile away. Next month I’ll […]

Read More

May 142021


One of the fun (and not so fun) parts of a Big Year is the constant change in plans. On a typical day, I’m up before dawn with a plan. I might be going to a particular beach, driving an hour to a marsh or hiking a preserve trying to add a new bird to […]

Read More

May 92021

Solitary Sandpiper

This is a Solitary Sandpiper . . . let’s call him Sam.  Last winter he was hanging out in the Amazon basin, chowing down on frogs and insects without a care in the world. Then around March 15, a chemical reaction occurred in his brain . . . maybe triggered by the length of the […]

Read More

May 52021

Blue-winged Warbler

Back in April of 2017, Ingrid and I were in High Island, Texas and we saw a beautiful bird called a Blue-winged Warbler. Its stunning yellow body, sharp black bill and grayish blue wings were breathtaking. Four years later we finally saw another one . . . well . . . actually two. A couple […]

Read More

May 12021

Yellow-headed Blackbird

If I should die during my Maine Big Year . . . chances are it won’t be because I fell off a mountain or got mauled by a bear.  Rather it will be my habit of driving slowly about around rural neighborhoods, early in the morning and scanning the yard and shrubbery with my binoculars. […]

Read More

May 12021

Chimney Swift

Today I hit a Maine Big Year milestone . . . Bird #200 . . . a Chimney Swift. Basically a flying cigar, this bird spends most of its life in the air, only landing to roost in chimneys.  They are incapable of perching in trees like other birds but have adapted to clinging to […]

Read More