Yearly Archives: 2022

Sep 292022

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

For the last few days, the Maine Birding Community has been treated with a very compliant Buff-breasted Sandpiper that has been touring Cape Elizabeth’s agricultural fields. This two ounce bird is migrating from its nesting grounds in the arctic to Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil where it winters.   Normally “Buffys” move through the Great Plains […]

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Sep 52022

Maine Audubon Talk

To my Maine friends (both of you), I’m giving a talk at Maine Audubon on September 21st . . . complete with photos, videos and “how I saw the bird” stories.   If you’re free that evening, I’d love to see you.   You can register at: https://maineaudubon.org/news/events/author-talk-ethan-whitaker/

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Aug 272022

Eurasian Marsh-Harrier

On Thursday morning, Washington DC resident Byron Smith left his summer home on Maine’s North Haven Island to look for birds.  Smith is a life-long birder whose formative years were spent in England and Iran.  He has birded in Russia, China, Australia, India, South Africa and many places in-between.  Smith knows his birds. While walking […]

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Aug 122022

Patagonia Picnic Table Effect

Among birders, there is a phenomena known as the “Patagonia Picnic Table Effect.” When a rare bird is discovered . . . other rare birds are soon found near the original sighting. Named after a rest area in Patagonia, Arizona where a rare Rose-throated Becard was found.  In the following days dozens of birders descended upon […]

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Aug 102022

Least Bittern

In May of 2019, Ingrid and I spent a delightful few days in Louisiana, watching our son Bradley receive his MBA from LSU, experience the subtleness of the New Orleans French Quarter and to do a little birding.  The later gave us a handful of new life birds and we can’t wait to go back […]

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Aug 22022

Long-tailed Jaeger

“Jaeger” is the German and Dutch word for hunter and when it comes to birds . . . a Jaeger is a ferocious hunter of the oceans. There are two types of Jaegers often found in Maine waters, the Pomarine Jaeger and the Parasitic Jaeger.  Each of these birds roams the Gulf of Maine, attacking […]

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Jul 302022

Bald Eagles Competing for a Fish

This morning Ingrid and I were awakened to the sound of two Bald Eagles arguing over a fish that one of them had caught. Moving about and quarreling just below our bedroom window, we watched them for almost a half hour. These appeared to second year birds . . . Bald Eagles take five years […]

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Jul 302022

Red-winged Blackbird vs Red-tailed Hawk

Every once in a while, birders see something special . . . something unexpected. Yesterday Ingrid and I were at a salt marsh observing the first wave of shorebird moving south.  It always amazes me that fall migration begins in July. Suddenly we heard the unmistakable call of a Red-tailed Hawk, the same call that […]

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Jul 182022

Little Gull in Maine

Several years ago I went to a Gull seminar.  The speaker walked the audience through the various Gulls found in Maine and how to tell them apart.  But in his lecture he made subtle, references to “Gull People”. No, he wasn’t talking about a bad 1950’s science fiction movie . . . “Gull People” are […]

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Jul 162022

Still no Tufted Puffin

For the last month a Tufted Puffin, a common west coast bird, but almost unheard of on the east coast has been popping up along the coast of Maine for the last month.  On June 22 and 23 it was seen on Petit Manan Island, near Bar Harbor.   Then on July 1, it appeared […]

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Jul 102022

Black Skimmers

Ingrid and I promised each other a quiet evening at home tonight.  We’ve been busy with work (her’s not mine), home improvement projects, visitors and road trips.  We are both a little worn down and looked forward to steak on the grill and a little Red Sox vs. Yankees Baseball. Then about 3:00 pm a […]

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Jul 72022

Sudden Influx of Rarities

Yesterday morning around 11 am, an area birder, Gordon Smith was driving through rural Brunswick, Maine with his windows open.  Stopping at a four way intersection, he heard a bird singing “tsillik, tsillik.”  The song was an insect-like, feeble hiccup that he had heard before. Racing home, Gordon returned with recording gear and after analysis […]

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Jun 302022

Shearwaters and Friends

On a June 28, 2022, Ingrid and I took a whale watch out of Provincetown, Massachusetts  we observed four different types of Shearwaters (Great, Manx, Sooty and Cory’s), Whales (Humpback and Fin), Gray Seals and other sea birds. Here is a compilation.

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Jun 272022

The Cape Cod Bobwhite

When Ingrid was young, some of her favorite memories were made on Cape Cod with her family.  They spent their summers and many a weekend at a vacation home a short distance from the beach.  She loves to tell me about riding bikes to the beach, ice cream, mini-golf and other family adventures. I, on […]

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Jun 242022

Puffins

——- A couple days ago (Wednesday) I received an incredible photo from a friend who manages Maine’s offshore islands for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  It was of two Puffins . . . one Maine’s adorable Atlantic Puffin and the other . . . a Tufted Puffin!!!! The Tufted Puffin is a west coast […]

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Jun 142022

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron’s nest in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Late summer a few appear in Maine after their young have fledged. Yesterday (June 13, 2022), Ingrid observed this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron feeding in the marsh grass around a grocery store in South Portland, Maine. Very unusual to see one so early in the year.

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Jun 12022

Blue Grosbeak

Brunswick is thriving community about 10 miles south of our home in Wiscasset.  It has a thriving industrial park and Executive Airport (both of which sprung from installations at a now defunct Naval Air Station); one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges (Bowdoin College); and a charming, quintessential New England downtown. And for the […]

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May 302022

“Troppy” is Late this Year

On July 11, 2005, or perhaps July 5 (the records conflict), a tourist boat, skippered by Captain Andy Patterson, left Cutler, Maine to see Puffins.  While there are many Atlantic Puffin cruises along the Maine Coast, Patterson’s is unique as it offers clientel the opportunity to land on a Puffin breeding Island and walk among […]

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May 232022

Black-crowned Night Heron

Filmed May 22, 2022 at Hinckley Park in South Portland, Maine. The Black-crowned Night Heron is one of our favorite birds. Not particularly shy, they freeze in one place for hours at a time and become practically invisible.

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May 172022

Spring Migration Explodes

Maine winters are long and miserable, so Ingrid and I can’t wait for spring migration . . . where thousands of beautiful tiny warblers begin to move through the State. But Spring 2022 has been slow. Weather fronts and cold weather have delayed the warblers.  The early arriving species have come and gone, but not […]

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May 152022

Mid-Coast Maine Big Day

Our Mid-Coast Maine Big Day is over and I’m exhausted.  My “much much” younger wife doesn’t seem to be at all weary from 18 straight hours of birding. We ended up identifying 102 species which exceeded our goal of 100 bird . . . but fell short of the 108 we got on a California […]

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