Merlin, Osprey and Eagle

A cloudy start this morning gave way to partly sunny skies and much more comfortable conditions than yesterdays heat and humidity. The [tag]bird watching[/tag] was fabulous!

Quite a few Snowy Egrets were feeding in a panne at Goose Rocks Beach. It was not long until several Great Blue Herons and Eastern Willets joined the foray. Low tide on the mudflats this time of the year always ensures plenty of shorebirds to view, and this morning was no exception as seen in our report below.

As my wife and I sat on our beach chairs talking with Bob Malbon, a Merlin charged from the marsh and out across the mudflats in pursuit of a peep. The peeps smaller size gave it somewhat of an advantage as it could turn much quicker than the Merlin. Suddenly, the peep headed straight for us, made a right turn to avoid everyone and the Merlin nearly crashed head-on into me as I sat there with my mouth agape. The Merlin flew straight up and then banked right across the flats, still in pursuit of the peep. We lost sight of the action as they headed seaward.

I must say that the Merlin came awfully close to me before it shot skyward to avoid hitting me. So close in fact that I could hear the wings and feel the gush air as it flew by. You may ask, where are the pictures? The camera was sitting on my lap and I had no time to get a shot off. Even if I had time, the sun was behind the clouds, blah, blah, blah.

The Osprey we photographed was flying over the Little River at Granite Point, and Bob spotted the immature [tag]Bald Eagle[/tag] being chased by Crows near the small bridge on Granite Point Road.

Our observations are as follows:

Location:     Goose Rocks Beach/Granite Point
Observation date:     8/26/07
Notes:     Mostly cloudy skies with warm temps and moderate winds from S.E.
Number of species:     35
Observers:     John and Sharon Briggs      Bob Malbon

Canada Goose     31
American Black Duck     14
Common Eider     7
Great Blue Heron     4
Great Egret     9
Snowy Egret     40
Little Blue Heron     1     With flock of Snowy Egrets
Osprey     1     Flying over Little River
Bald Eagle     1     Granite Point/Bob Malbon
Merlin     1     Chasing peeps
Black-bellied Plover     1
Semipalmated Plover     100
Piping Plover     3
Greater Yellowlegs     1
Lesser Yellowlegs     3
Willet     5
Whimbrel     2
Semipalmated Sandpiper     25
Least Sandpiper     8
White-rumped Sandpiper     6
Short-billed Dowitcher     13
Mourning Dove     5
Belted Kingfisher     1
Common Raven     1
Tree Swallow     15
Barn Swallow     2
Black-capped Chickadee     3
Northern Mockingbird     1
Cedar Waxwing     22
Field Sparrow     5
Song Sparrow     4
Northern Cardinal     1
House Finch     6
American Goldfinch     10
House Sparrow     9

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

When the sun did shine, we took the following [tag]pictures[/tag] of [tag]birds[/tag], with a few landscape shots for fun. Enjoy!

From Above: Snowy Egrets in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egrets - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Great Blue Heron and Great Egret in Flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Short-Billed Dowitcher - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Lesser Yellowlegs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Osprey in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Osprey in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Red Evening Moon - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Sunrise at Goose Rocks Beach - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

Hazy bird watching

The three H’s are back with a vengeance! (Hazy, hot and humid) With a week of well below normal temps that only reached the upper sixties and frost at a few inland locations, the heat is back. As I write this article the temperature is nearing 90 F.

This mornings bird watching trip was to Goose Rocks Beach and Granite Point here along coastal [tag]Maine[/tag]. My wife and I arrived at GRB at sunrise, with the mud flats exposed on a rising tide. The flats were busy with [tag]shorebird[/tag] feeding activity, and we had very close looks at Snowy and Great Egrets near the public way to the beach.

The following tally of our morning [tag]bird watching[/tag] activity was generated by eBird.

Location:     Goose Rocks Beach
Observation date:     8/25/07
Notes:     Haze/fog very warm for early morning. Obs made during rising tide.
Number of species:     23

Canada Goose     18
American Black Duck     4
Mallard     3
Common Eider     17     (Males molting)
Great Blue Heron     2
Great Egret     11     (6 feeding on mud flats – 5 in flight)
Snowy Egret     16
Glossy Ibis     4
Black-bellied Plover     1     (feeding on mud flats)
Semipalmated Plover     100
Lesser Yellowlegs     6
Willet     12
Whimbrel     7
Semipalmated Sandpiper     32
White-rumped Sandpiper     9
Short-billed Dowitcher     8
Mourning Dove     3
American Crow     12
Tree Swallow     30
Barn Swallow     8
Gray Catbird     2
Northern Mockingbird     1
Cedar Waxwing     6

Not a bad morning. The haze did cut down on available light for [tag]bird[/tag] [tag]photography[/tag], but I made do. The following are [tag]pictures[/tag] we took this morning. As always, comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated!

Size Comparison: Short-Billed Dowitcher and Semipalmated Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Short-Billed Dowitcher - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Feeding Time - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Feeding Time - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Great Egret Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Great Egret and Snowy Egret - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Lesser Yellowlegs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Lesser Yellowlegs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Short-Billed Dowitcher - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Short-Billed Dowitcher - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Snowy Egret - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

And finally, profile [tag]images[/tag] of several species we observed this morning as well. Enjoy!

Profile: Great Egret - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Profile: Lesser Yellowlegs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Profile: Short-Billed Dowitcher - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Profile: Snowy Egret - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

Bird Feathers #2

The second in a series of weekly rundowns of what’s happening in the world of [tag]birds[/tag], [tag]birding[/tag] and bird blogging.

Dead Swallows Found  The sight of birds is a common one along the banks of the Susquehanna River, but not like this.

Wind Turbine Has Switch To Move Clear Of Migrating Birds  A unique turbine was lowered from a height of 80 feet to test the ability to bring it down at the drop of a hat should foul weather set in or should the migratory songbirds and nesting seabirds that frequent this 95-acre island run afoul of the whirling blades.

Guano theory in bridge collapse  Inspectors searching for the causes of the collapse of a Minnesota bridge this month that killed at least 13 people have identified pigeon droppings as a possible factor.

I And The Bird #56 – “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”  is being hosted by Vern over at Big Spring Birds.

Bob Malbon has some more pictures posted on his site from his trip to Machias Seal Island last week.

Happy birding!

Hawk ID needed

*UPDATE*

The verdict is in! The first three pictures are a juvenile Peregrine Falcon, and the final four are of an adult Broad-Winged Hawk. Many thanks go out to those who offered their input via email and in the comments section of this article. Thank you all!!

These two species of [tag]Hawk[/tag] have me baffled, although I have my ideas on what they are. I put it to our readers to suggest what they think they are. Simply click “Comments” at the end of this article and submit your guess.

The pictures were taken at Granite Point near Biddeford Pool, [tag]Maine[/tag]. The area is a marsh/coastal habitat. The first 3 pictures of the Hawk in flight are one species and the final 4 of the perched Hawk is the second species.

Thank you for your help!

Hawk - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Hawk - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Hawk - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Hawk - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Hawk - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Hawk - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Hawk - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

A chill in the air

A cold front swept through [tag]Maine[/tag] Friday night and brought with it northwest winds and much cooler temperatures. Being out on the mud flats at Goose Rocks Beach just before sunrise this weekend required fall attire.

I love this time of the year! The skies are cobalt blue (when the clouds are not blocking it) and the winds bring with them that feeling you get deep inside that says its soon time to prepare for winter. The days are getting shorter, the crowds are thinning (tourists) and migration is in full swing.

Raptors were taking advantage of the NW winds as quite a few Hawks and Osprey were seen area wide over the weekend as their migration is beginning. Peeps beware…. Hawks were definitely having a feast out on the Scarborough Marsh. Several thousand peeps of every kind imaginable were fleeing in groups of hundreds every time a Hawk soared over the marsh. A Semipalmated Plover head was seen on a sandy islet as a reminder of the consequences of not being alert.

On the brighter side, we finally were able to see the Stilt Sandpiper that had been reported at the marsh, and watched two Northern Harriers collide in mid-air. Neither hawk was injured.

Sharon and I parked our sand chairs on the beach at Goose Rocks this morning waiting for the clouds to burn off and the sun to warm us up. It was a long wait. We shot some [tag]video[/tag] (see previous post) and watched in amazement as peeps, Dowitchers, Willets and Black-Bellied Plovers whizzed by our heads and landed not more than ten feet away from where we sat. At one point, with no sunlight to get a good picture, 24 Snowy Egrets flew directly overhead not more than 30 feet off the deck. And to add insult to injury, 13 more flew in front of us at the same height shortly thereafter.

It was surreal to quietly sit there, so close to these [tag]birds[/tag] as they go about their business, acting as if we were not there. All the while, quietly praying that the sun would come out from behind the clouds.

The results of our weekend [tag]bird watching[/tag] ritual are shown in the [tag]photos[/tag] below. Comments and criticisms are always appreciated.

Juvenile Cedar Waxwings - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Juvenile Cedar Waxwings - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Great Blue Heron - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine.
Osprey Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Eastern Willet flight - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine. Migration: Peeps in flight - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine.
Short-Billed Dowitcher - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Short-Billed Dowitcher bathing - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Size comparison: Short-Billed Dowitcher and Peep - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Semipalmated Plover in flight: Rear View - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Sunrise over the Saco River - Saco, Maine. Whimbrels - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

Video Birding

This post will be somewhat of a test for the video plugin I have for my [tag]birding blog[/tag].

The following [tag]videos[/tag] were taken this morning at Goose Rocks Beach near Kennebunkport, [tag]Maine[/tag]. File size will be beside the [tag]video[/tag] name heading, and all videos are in the .wmv format. If video does not auto-start, please click the play button on the player. You may also click the link below the video and Windows will open Windows Media Player to play the clip. Enjoy!

Shorebirds (2 mb.)

[coolplayer width=”380″ height=”280″ autoplay=”0″ loop=”0″ charset=”utf-8″ download=”1″ mediatype=””]
Shorebirds (2 mb. wmv format)
[/coolplayer]

 

Willet Eating Crab (2.7mb)

[coolplayer width=”380″ height=”280″ autoplay=”0″ loop=”0″ charset=”utf-8″ download=”1″ mediatype=””]
Willet Eating Crab (2.7 mb. wmv format)
[/coolplayer]

 

Short-Billed Dowitcher (5.2 mb)

[coolplayer width=”380″ height=”280″ autoplay=”0″ loop=”0″ charset=”utf-8″ download=”1″ mediatype=””]
Short Billed Dowitcher (5.2 mb wmv format)
[/coolplayer]

Let us know what you think of the videos and if you would like to continue to see them added to our articles. Later today, I will post my regular weekly article with photos of our birding adventures.

Happy birding!