Piping Plovers and Least Terns

A beautiful Father’s Day weekend graced the state of [tag]Maine[/tag] with warm temperatures and mostly blue skies. Here is hoping all dads out there had a great day with their children.

[tag]Birding[/tag] around the area was spectacular once again. Eastern Point Sanctuary and Goose Rocks Beach were the focus this weekend, with plenty of [tag]birds[/tag] to see and [tag]photograph[/tag].

Saturday and Sunday morning both began cloudy, but soon the clouds burned off and the [tag]bird watching[/tag] began. Eastern Point held large numbers of Cedar Waxwings and Yellow Warblers. Flights of Common Eider and Double-Crested Cormorant continually flew just off the point, while Catbirds, Robins and Song Sparrows sang their melodious tunes. A single Palm Warbler was seen on the trail that goes along the mouth of the Saco River. A large Red Fox was seen trotting across the golf course near the entrance to the trail.

We then went to “Hattie’s Beach”, and walked a trail off the parking area that leads to a small pond. A Brown Thrasher left us know that we were in his territory, more than likely trying to lead us away from an unseen, nearby nest. A single Green Heron was seen feeding in the small lily pad choked pond.

The first series of photos below are of common birds seen in the area of [tag]Biddeford Pool[/tag] this weekend.

Brown Thrasher - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Cedar Waxwing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing showing interest in a bug - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing Male - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Common Yellowthroat Singing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Yellowthroat - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Song Sparrow - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Yellow Warbler - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Yellow Warbler - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Our next adventure was Goose Rocks Beach, near [tag]Kennebunkport[/tag], Maine. Least Terns and Piping Plovers were plentiful in and around an area that is closed off with rope and has cages for the Piping Plovers to nest in. These cages protect the Plover eggs from predators, such as skunks, raccoons and foxes.

Fellow birder Bob Malbon and I photographed the activity from a distance, and I want to assure everyone that we stayed out of the roped off area and did not harass the [tag]wildlife[/tag]. We both were using powerful lenses, mine a 400mm and Bob’s a 500mm.  This is how we accomplished photographing the nesting activity.

A pair of Least Terns were trapped inside of a Plover cage, the poor creatures banging against the top of the cage trying to get out. I sent an email last evening to the Maine-Bird List alerting members of the list to contact Maine Audubon to rescue these two Terns. As of 11:00 a.m. this morning, I received several emails stating that the Terns were no longer trapped in the cage.

The following photos were taken at Goose Rocks Beach Saturday evening. I must admit that I had a great time, but ended up with tired and sore arms trying to photograph the Least Terns in flight. Comments and criticisms are always welcomed.

Least Tern - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Least Tern nest and eggs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern sitting on eggs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Male Least Tern offering fish to female - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Male Least Tern offering fish to female - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Piping Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Piping Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Piping Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Piping Plover Eggs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Piping Plover doing the broken wing display to lure off predators - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.

Happy birding!

Willets, Egrets and foxes oh my

Continuing from the previous article.

Late Sunday morning, my wife and I went to the Fuller Farm which is west of [tag]Scarborough[/tag], [tag]Maine[/tag]. We walked the trails looking for [tag]birds[/tag] and other [tag]wildlife[/tag]. The Bobolinks were absent, but a Chestnut-Sided Warbler was seen and others heard throughout the woods. The time of day kept our species count down, but we recorded a Pileated Woodpecker and an Indigo Bunting. We are going to revisit the farm this weekend and will start as soon as the sunrises, which should allow for more birds to be seen.

On First Avenue in [tag]Biddeford Pool[/tag] Saturday morning, we saw Tree Swallows exhibiting breeding behavior on a powerline. (photos below) A cooperative Eastern Willet allowed a few [tag]photographs[/tag] at Granite Point later in the day.

This is the final installment of the series of articles which highlighted our [tag]birding[/tag] adventures this past weekend. The photos below are also highlights mentioned in this and the other two articles. Simply click a thumbnail for a larger view. Comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler - Fuller Farm - Scarborough, Maine. Dragonfly - Fuller Farm - Scarborough, Maine. Great Egret - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Mallards in flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Red Fox with prey - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Red Fox with prey - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Red Fox with prey - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Snowy Egret - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret Flight - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret Flight - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Snowy Egret Flight - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret Trio - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Tree Swallows breeding behavior - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Tree Swallows breeding behavior - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Eastern Willet - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Eastern Willet - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Eastern Willet - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Eastern Willet - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Eastern Willet - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Happy birding!

Terns and Gulls

Continuing from the previous article, Sunday morning brought a pleasant surprise when we arrived at Vines Landing in [tag]Biddeford Pool[/tag].

At slack tide, hundreds of [tag]fish[/tag] were surfacing in the Gut and Common Terns along with Bonaparte Gulls were having their fill of the tasty treats. We stood in amazement as the Terns hovered and then dove to capture their prey. The Gulls were no less acrobatic, plunging into the water and re-emerging with a mouth full of fish.

Double-Crested Cormorants and Snowy Egrets also participated in the feeding frenzy. A lone Black-Crowned Night Heron made his way along the opposite shore, becoming angered when seagulls and Egrets came near.

It is quite difficult to [tag]photograph[/tag] the action when these [tag]birds[/tag] are swooping and diving, especially with a background that includes rocks and a grassy hillside. Gaining focus was troublesome, but it was fun none-the-less.

Please enjoy the action as we saw it Sunday morning at the Gut.

Bonaparte Gull - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Bonaparte Gull - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Bonaparte Gull - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Bonaparte Gull - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Bonaparte Gull - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Bonaparte Gull - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Common Tern - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Tern - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Tern - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Common Tern - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Tern - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Tern - Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Tomorrow: Egrets and the rest of the action.

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

A Sunday to remember

I am going to do things a little different this week. Because of the spectacular [tag]birding[/tag] adventure we had today, I am going to post several articles daily so I don’t overwhelm this site with a bunch of [tag]bird[/tag] [tag]pictures[/tag] in one article.

This first installment will focus on the very cooperative Semipalmated Sandpipers we encountered on Curtis Cove near [tag]Biddeford Pool[/tag].

Saturday was a dreary and a very cool day that was good for nothing but sleeping, and maybe shopping if that is your forte. We did bird our regular loop early in the morning, but nothing much was going on. (Those who knows us can attest to the fact that we have not missed a Saturday or Sunday morning of birding in over a year.)

Watching the news Saturday evening, we anxiously waited for the weatherman to give us a sliver of hope that the sun may shine on Sunday. He said it would, but as always, we doubted him.

Sunday morning rolls around and I roll out of bed at 5:15 a.m. Slipping on my glasses, I looked out the stairway window. BLUE SKIES!! Honey, let’s go, the sun is up and shinning!

Grabbing a quick coffee at a local haunt, we then headed to Granite Point. Upon arriving at our favorite birding site, we were greeted with multitudes of Tree and Barn Swallows. Looking across the marsh, Canada Geese, Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Willets busied themselves with their prey. Song Sparrows sang from perches. Red-Winged Blackbirds blessed our ears with their melodious tunes. Goldfinches flitted about the trees and shrubs. A Red Fox scurried across the marsh with an unidentified animal in its mouth, soon disappearing into the woods to consume its bounty.

Arriving at Curtis Cove, we spied a large group of Semipalmated Sandpipers on the beach. Carefully and slowly I approached the group to within 50 yards, and waited for what I knew would be little time before they would come my way. And come my way they did!

The following series of pictures are the Semipalmated Sandpiper. A beautiful and delicate creature that flies with grace and cadence, and also can be comical while feeding along the surf line. Simply click a thumbnail for a larger view. Comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated!

Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Semipalmated Sandpiper Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Semipalmated Sandpiper Pair - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Tomorrows installment: Terns and Bonaparte Gulls.

Happy birding!

Addressing bandwidth issues

During the month of June, I will be transferring this site to a new server that will be better able to handle the bandwidth issues I have been having. There may be frequent outages of Birding In Maine, but I ask that you please bear with me in this endeavor.

As many of you have noticed, during the last 3 days of May the site was not available due to reaching a bandwidth quota. When I first started this blog, I never dreamed that it would become so popular.

Here are some stats for the month of May:

  • 139,527 hits
  • Visitors from 33 different countries
  • Searches in Google and Yahoo for relevant content coming in the top ten search results, frequently number 1 or 2
  • 2959 new visitors bookmarking this site
  • Bandwidth: 10 gb (that’s gigabytes)

As you can see, I need to expand so that our visitors can be assured of trouble free viewing of Birding In Maine.

Please bear with me as I begin to transfer my files to a new server. Any outages will be very brief, and I will continue to post articles. I will announce when the move is finished. The web site address will remain the same.

Thank you for your patience!

Happy birding!

Birding in Pennsylvania

Maybe the heading of this article is misleading, as the weather played a role in the lack of [tag]birds[/tag] we saw while in [tag]Pennsylvania[/tag] over the Memorial Day weekend. The weather was hot, with a high of 92 F. and humidity in the 70 percent range on both Saturday and Sunday. Mornings started out foggy, and by afternoon, heavy thunderstorms pounded the area.

We stayed in Mifflintown, PA. with my brother and his family. Situated along the Juniata River in central Pennsylvania, the area is normally a [tag]birding[/tag] hot spot. But with the weather conditions, birds were keeping to the deep woods to stay cool. The photo below of a Tree Swallow shows how hot the weather was. This little fella was not scolding me for being near, but actually panting to keep cool, such a dog does.

Trying to stay cool ourselves and dodging thunderstorms, we stayed indoors most of the time. Maybe when we visit again in the fall, the weather will be more inviting. The first few [tag]pictures[/tag] below are from our trip to the Keystone State.

Locally, this weekend featured some heavy thunderstorms, haze and fog. But the birds did not seem to mind. At least it was not sweltering!

Sharon and I recorded and photographed two life birds this weekend in the Biddeford Pool area. A male Black-Bellied Plover and a male and female Ruddy Turnstone. And yet another life bird at the Kennebunk Plains: a male Prairie Warbler. Other birds seen this weekend:

  • Black-Bellied Plover*
  • Ruddy Turnstone* 
  • Prairie Warbler*
  • Double-Crested Cormorant
  • Least Terns
  • Willets
  • Lesser Yellowlegs
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Common Eider
  • Eastern Kingbirds
  • Yellow  Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Red-Winged Blackbirds
  • Turkey Vultures
  • Blue Herons
  • Great Egrets
  • Snowy Egrets
  • Canada Geese
  • Mallards
  • Black Ducks
  • Song Sparrows
  • Tree Sparrows
  • American Goldfinch
  • House Finch
  • European Starlings
  • House Sparrows
  • American Robins
  • Cedar Waxwings

A note about the Blue Herons. After several weeks of not seeing Blue Herons in the area, a flight of 5 flew over Etherington Pond in Biddeford Pool Saturday morning. Another 2 were seen on Granite Point. A large group of Eastern Kingbirds also arrived on Granite point this weekend. They seemed to be everywhere.

Enjoy the photos of birds and other creatures we photographed during the last two weeks. Simply click a thumbnail for a full-sized view. Comments and criticisms are appreciated.

Carolina Wren - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Chipping Sparrow - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Eastern Cottontail - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.
Amish Horse and Buggy - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Northern Cardinal - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Tree Swallow in nest box - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania.
Tree Swallow in nest box - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Wildflowers along the Juniata River - Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. Male Black-Bellied Plover - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Male Black-Bellied Plover - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Grasshopper - Kennebunk Plains, Maine. Eastern Kingbird - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Prairie Warbler - Kennebunk Plains, Maine. Prairie Warbler - Kennebunk Plains, Maine. Male and Female Ruddy Turnstone - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Ruddy Turnstone in flight - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Turtle - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Vines Landing - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Hoping for blue skies. Happy birding!