The Steller’s Sea-Eagle is Back!!!!

For those of you that followed my 2021 Maine Big Year . . . you may remember the most improbable bird of the year (and my entire life) showed up on the last day of the adventure.  A Steller’s Sea-Eagle, a bird of the Russian ice was seen 10 miles from our house in Wiscasset, Maine.   Ingrid and I were joined by hundreds of birders from all over the northeast as this enormous bird,  33% larger than a Bald Eagle, put on a show.   It soaring over the icy Sheepscott River, moving from tree to tree and frankly impressing the hell out of all of us.

It was a great way to end the Maine Big Year, with an individual bird that had made national news (New York Times, CNN, Washington Post, Fox News, etc.) as it moved east from Russia to Alaska to Texas to the Canadian Maritimes to Massachusetts and finally to Maine.

For the next two months, “Stella” remained in Mid-coast Maine, moving up the coast to Boothbay Harbor region.  Birders from all over the country, poured into the region to see this amazing bird.  Inns that are normally closed during the winter, reopened to accommodate guests with binoculars.  Restaurants began to offer “Sea-eagle” specials (complete with very bad puns).  Our celebrity visitor was great for business.

2021-2022: The Stellar’s Sea Eagle, a bird of the Russian ice because a winter tourist attraction in Boothbay Harbor.

Ingrid and I saw the Steller’s Sea-eagle near Reid State Park, in Boothbay Harbor and at Fort Pemaquid as it moved around the our area.

The Steller’s Sea-eagle was last seen in Maine on March 5, much to our disappointment . . . but we were excited when it was re-found  in New Brunswick a few months later.   “Stella” moved around eastern Canada and the Maritimes through the summer and fall and was last seen in late November in Newfoundland.

We have all been hoping the Eagle would return to mid-coast Maine this winter and there has been at least one unconfirmed report.  But as the calendar progressed we became less and less optimistic.

Friday night was the coldest night in Maine in the last 50 year.  Wind chills of 50 and 60 degree below zero were reported throughout the state.  On Saturday morning as the mercury creeped up above zero this post came up on Facebook:

The Steller’s Sea-Eagle had been seen off a bridge in connecting Arrowsic and Georgetown Islands . . . a place it was seen last year.

In minutes, Ingrid and I bundled up and rushed out the door.  

We arrived at the spot (just ten miles from our home) and found one shivering birder on the bridge, “I just saw it fly in and land in those trees about a half a mile away”.  I set up our spotting scope and started scanning the area and after a couple minutes I saw a huge black/brown shape under the branch of a white pine.  It had a magnificent yellow bill and a white wing patch . . . unmistakably our Steller’s Sea-Eagle!!!

Within minutes other birders began to arrive, and we happily helped them get they binoculars and spotting scope on the quarry.  Unfortunately, too far for a photo but got dozens of positive IDs.

Today, birders have flooded into the area to see “Stella” and he or she has been very cooperative.

It’s Back!!!!!

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