Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dec 12022

Thanksgiving in Texas

Ingrid and I spent Thanksgiving in Jourdanton, Texas with our son Bradley and his wife Tanner.  In January, they bought a beautiful home outside of San Antonio and this was our first opportunity to truly visit and learn the area (we had briefly stopped by in February when we were looking for Whooping Cranes). While […]

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Nov 212022

Townsend’s Solitaire

On September 12, about two months ago, I was birding at Laudholm Farm in Wells, Maine, an amazing forest, meadow, salt marsh and ocean preserve. A robin sized bird flew in front of me.  Grayish/black with a white ring around the eye . . . it disappeared into a thicket and I could not find […]

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Nov 182022

Ross’s Goose

It’s now been six weeks since my fall which precipitated four painful shoulder separations and things continue to improve.   I can now use my right arm to do most daily activities, unfortunately many of them still hurt like the dickens. For instance, I pick and choose when to raise my binoculars up to my […]

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Nov 122022

Canada Jay – the Clown of the Boreal Forest

Yesterday (11/11/22), Ingrid and I travelled up to Rangeley, Maine to walk the length of Boy Scout Road, a three mile stretch through spruce trees, bogs and streams. Boy Scout Woods is a great place to find species that live in the Boreal Forests of the north that one never sees outside of this habitat. […]

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Nov 62022

Canvasbacks and Friends

One or two Canvasback ducks usually show up in Maine during each fall or winter.  But last year during my Maine Big Year I scoured all the likely locations hoping to find one . . . but to no avail. Then yesterday, there were eight Canvasbacks on Cobbosseecontee Lake in Monmouth, Maine. This is a […]

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Nov 42022

A Lucky Gallinule

So Ingrid and I are at our condo in Cape Elizabeth (just south of Portland, Maine) and a rare Common Gallinule is reported on a pond in Belfast … a bird rarely seen this side of the Mississippi.  My birding has been limited for the last four weeks by my shoulder injury, but yesterday I […]

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Oct 302022

Birding with One Hand

About three weeks ago I tripped over a root while following a woodpecker through the trees . . . in other words I was looking up when I should have been looking down.  The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground with a dislocated shoulder and what used to be a very […]

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Oct 152022

Horned Larks in their Usual Place

Brunswick Landing and Executive Airport is a thriving, commercial park that emerged after the Cold War era Brunswick Naval Air Station was decommissioned. In a grass field located in a few hundred yards from the runways, more often than not, one car find Horned Larks foraging.

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Oct 112022

Off the Birding Bench

With my birding temporarily on hold as I wait for an MRI to determine why my shoulder keeps dislocating . . . sometimes serendipity steps in. This Barred Owl was sitting a few feet from where we park our cars at our condo. Listen to the angry Tufted Titmice and Red-breasted Nuthatches trying to drive […]

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Oct 72022

Birding for the Complete Klutz

Yesterday, as I was watching a Red-bellied Woodpecker moving through the trees tops at Robinson’s Woods in Cape Elizabeth, I was attacked by an aggressive root.  I fell on my shoulder and dislocated it … the Emergency Care PA popped it in three times before it stayed. Not fun! Ingrid pointed out that I broke […]

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Oct 42022

Say’s Phoebe in Maine

It was late September in 2020, I was a month away from retiring, trying to be professional and finish up several projects before riding off into the sunset. On the 24th a report of Say’s Phoebe in central Maine came through in my e-mail.  A common bird in the west, Ingrid and I had seen […]

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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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