Yearly Archives: 2021

Mar 142021

Fish Crow

If one looks at Maine eBird checklists . . . you’ll find 47% of them have at least one American Crow . . . and I believe that it’s actually closer to 95% as folks tend to ignore this omnipresent bird. When I go out birding, I almost immediately hear American Crows “caw” sounds and […]

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Mar 122021

Pine Warbler

After two weeks without a new bird, my Maine Big Year is back on track as I’ve been picked up five new birds in the last four days. Today I got a Hermit Thrush and a Pine Warbler, bringing the count to 138. The state record is 317, so there is a long way to […]

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Mar 92021

Great Horned Owl

When a birder hears a flock of Crows, Chickadees or Bluejays screaming and moving rapidly through the trees . . . we drop everything and begin searching for the target of their anger . . . generally a bird of prey. This is called mobbing, a defense mechanism where much smaller birds can drive away […]

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Mar 42021

Barred Owl

This morning another birder and I were standing along a wooded country road scanning a stream that was free of ice . . . hoping to spy the Pied-billed Grebe reported to be lurking along the edge. I glanced across the road and noticed one of those plastic owls that folks place on their roofs […]

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Feb 272021

American Kestrel

When we began planning my Maine Big Year, we always knew there would be quiet times . . . weeks where there were no new birds being seen.  As expected, the end of February has been one such time.  It’s been 5 days since I identified my last new bird and the woods and meadows […]

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Feb 232021

Birding the Maine South Coast

Spent the day birding the State’s south coast starting in Kittery where I could see New Hampshire across the river.  It was windy and overcast which drove birds close to shore and I got some nice photos.   The first advance scout of spring migration arrived today as I saw two Red-winged Blackbirds sitting on […]

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Feb 222021

Winter Birds and then a Surprise

Today was Ingrid’s last day of vacation before she returns to pandemic hybrid teaching . . . so we spent the day birding . . . I’m sure she wishes we could bird for another week. We saw amazing birds . . . dozens of incredible birds . . . but nothing we didn’t expect […]

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Feb 202021

Savannah Sparrows wintering over

Every winter about mid-February the birding slows down here in Maine.  It’s cold, one has seen most of the seasonal birds and reports of rarities seem to stop (cause even the birds are hunkering down to stay warm).  Species that winter in Maine haven’t begun their migration north to their breeding grounds in the Arctic […]

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Feb 162021

Finch Irruption 2020-2021

When Ingrid and I began discussing the my Maine Big Year we realized we should control what we could control: bird knowledge, technology, contacts and accept what we couldn’t control: weather, our health and rarities. Little did we know, but the winter of 2020-2021 would be a “Superflight Year”, he biggest irruption of northern finches and […]

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Feb 132021

Cooper’s Hawk

I tend to post stories about successful birding ventures . . . but to be honest, I fail as often as I succeed. Yesterday was a case in point. An Eastern Screech Owl has been reported a handful of times in a tree on Peaks Island. Peaks Island could have been painted by Norman Rockwell […]

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Feb 72021

Yellow-throated Warbler

The rareties continue . . . it appears I picked the right year to do a Maine Big Year (at least so far).  In the last month I’ve managed to twitch the following birds that have no reason to be in Maine during the winter. Western Tanager – Should be wintering in Mexico Rock Wren […]

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Feb 72021

Northern Shoveler

When I tell my friends about my Maine Big Year and they look at the photos . . . there is a certain romanticism about the whole thing.  What they don’t know is how much effort goes into getting some birds. For instance a Black-headed Grosbeak that has been visiting a park in Portland took […]

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Feb 22021

Hoary Redpoll

Three years ago when Ingrid and I decide I would do my Maine Big Year in 2021 . . . we had no way to know that this would be a Finch Irruption Year . . . but it’s better to be lucky than smart. The poor spruce cone crop in Canada has pushed Crossbills […]

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Jan 302021


According to Woody Allen, “80% of success is showing up”.  I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about birding . . . but the axiom carries over. Through most of January, there has been a Black-headed Grosbeak being seen in a Capisic Park in Portland, Maine.  I have made eight trips and spent dozens of hours […]

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Jan 292021

Barrow’s Goldeneye

Today I got to bird #120 in my Maine Big Year . . . which I’m very happy about.  My original goal was to get to 111 in January, when unusually warm weather helped me reach that number on January 18 I adjusted and shot for 120. Sadly this bird was female Brown-headed Cowbird (no […]

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Jan 262021

Wood Duck

I got a couple Wood Ducks today at a cemetery in South Portland . . . Maine Big Year Bird #119.  And it’s the most embarrassing bird of the year. I came upon a large flock of Mallards feeding and socializing in a tiny corner of a pond that hadn’t frozen over.  Experience has told […]

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Jan 242021


Yesterday morning I got up at 1:00 am and headed to Fort Foster a beautiful park on the southern most tip of the State of Maine for a little nocturnal birding. Eastern Screech-Owl are pretty common through much of the eastern United States, but only its in the very southern part of Maine. I arrived […]

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Jan 212021


  Ingrid, a teacher, had her usual full day and I had a virtual meeting this afternoon . . . not to mention a certain inauguration taking place . . . and after all of that, we needed to get out and do some birding. After getting Ingrid the Snow Goose in the Wells Marsh, […]

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Jan 192021

Snow Goose

  Today I got a Snow Goose in the marsh behind Wells Beach . . . bird #112 of my Maine Big Year. While a handful of Snow Geese show up in Maine each year, it is a far cry from the hundreds of thousands that can be found at times along the Platte River […]

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Jan 182021

Snow Buntings

Ingrid joined me on a whirlwind day of Maine Big Year Birding which took us to six stops and helped me add three more birds to my year. Our first top was in Waldoboro where Kathie Brown, one of the state’s more active birders, has had a Fox Sparrow visiting for several weeks.  I contacted […]

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Jan 132021


When I decided to do a Maine Big Year, I knew I’d have to make at least one winter off shore trip to pick up some of the pelagic species.  I talked to a couple lobstermen about riding out with them . . . but they really didn’t seem too excited about a “birder” getting […]

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Jan 122021


The finch eruption of 2020-2021 continues with reports of Red-breasted Nuthatches showing up in Florida and Evening Grosbeaks in New Mexico.  This been good and bad for my Maine Big Year.  Purple Finches and Pine Siskins have blown south of the State (bad), while Crossbills and Redpolls are in southern Maine and easier to find. […]

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Jan 92021

Rough-legged Hawk

Stopping your car in front of the State Prison, scanning the area with binoculars and then taking photographs with a telephoto lens . . . is a whole new kind of stupid . . . but that’s what I did today to get this Rough-legged Hawk. It’s been a very rewarding few days of birding […]

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Jan 72021

Orange-crowned Warbler

Before beginning my Maine Big Year, I read everything I could on the subject and talked to people that had done one and they all say “Chase the Rarities”. So when I heard an Orange-crowned Warbler was being seen at a residential feeder north of Portland . . . I asked the owner if I […]

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Jan 52021

Harlequin Ducks and Other Maine Big Year Birds

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 […]

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