Fall Sparrows and Warblers

A quick post this weekend on what was a spectacular [tag]bird watching[/tag] adventure on Granite Point. The trees, bushes and shrubs were full of Sparrows and Warblers, thanks to a cold front sliding through the state Friday night.

One incident of note…. I has hit head on by a Merlin! As I sat on a small bank among the bushes photographing birds just off Granite Point Road, a Merlin came from out of nowhere and flew into my face knocking off my hat and nearly causing me to drop my camera rig. The Merlin was fine. I received some lacerations to my face and a pair of bent spectacles. I am sure the hawk was as freaked out as I was.

Enjoy the [tag]photographs[/tag] I took over the weekend, and as always, comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated.

Blue Jay - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Blue Jay - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Downy Woodpecker - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Downy Woodpecker - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Dragonfly - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Northern Mockingbird - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Northern Mockingbird - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Northern Mockingbird - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. White Crowned Sparrow - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
White Crowned Sparrow - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. White Throated Sparrow - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Yellow Rumped Warbler - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Yellow Warbler - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Yellow Warbler - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Yet again, I need some help identifying the sparrows in the [tag]photos[/tag] below. Please respond by commenting on this article.

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

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

First day of Autumn birds

What a beautiful morning along coastal [tag]Maine[/tag]! The first day of Autumn brought clear skies, light northwest winds and temperatures in the low 50’s. [tag]Birds[/tag] were everywhere, butterflies flitted and squirrels and chipmunks busied themselves with storing food for the long upcoming winter.

Saturday was dreary. Fog and clouds dominated the day, which led to some nap time at the homestead. Catching up on the old z’s is what it’s all about on a day like this. We tried watching a movie via OnDemand, but half way through it, we lost audio and no one was around at the cable company to rectify the problem. Today, the problem still exists, but worse yet, there is no audio on any of the HD channels. I WILL get some satisfaction from them Monday!

Back to the [tag]bird watching[/tag], Granite Point and Eastern Point in Biddeford Pool was our area of interest today. Bob Malbon, Sharon and I birded these areas from 6:30 a.m. through 10:00 a.m. The following is our tally from Granite Point.

Location:     Granite Point
Observation date:     9/23/07
Notes:     Clear skies, winds light NW, temp lower 50’s
Number of species:     25

Canada Goose     3
American Black Duck     4
Common Eider     6
Common Loon     1     In flight above Little River
Great Blue Heron     5
Great Egret     2
Snowy Egret     16
Northern Harrier     1
Semipalmated Plover     5
Willet     8
Lesser Yellowlegs     2
Whimbrel     2
Mourning Dove     4
Belted Kingfisher     3
Downy Woodpecker     1     Female on a telephone pole
American Crow     12
Tree Swallow     5
Black-capped Chickadee     2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     1
Gray Catbird     2
Northern Mockingbird     1
European Starling     30
Field Sparrow     1
American Goldfinch     2
House Sparrow     4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

Bumble Bee - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Double-Crested Cormorant Flock - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. American Crow - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Female Common Eider - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Male Common Eider - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Male Common Eider - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Great Blue Heron in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Great Blue Heron in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Lobster Buoy - Little River - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Monarch Butterfly - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Old Jeep - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Wild Aster - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Wild Aster - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Wood Island Lighthouse - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Location:     Eastern Point
Observation date:     9/23/07
Notes:     Light NW breezes, clear skies, temp upper 50’s
Number of species:     28

American Black Duck     12
Common Eider     30
Common Loon     1     In Flight
Double-crested Cormorant     100
Great Blue Heron     1
Great Egret     1
Snowy Egret     12
Osprey     1     Landed on sailboat mast
Solitary Sandpiper     1
Willet     2
Lesser Yellowlegs     3
Whimbrel     1
Mourning Dove     2
Belted Kingfisher     1
Northern Flicker     1
Blue Jay     4
American Crow     30
Common Raven     1
Black-capped Chickadee     6
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     2
Gray Catbird     6
Northern Mockingbird     1
Brown Thrasher     1
European Starling     16
Yellow Warbler     1
American Tree Sparrow     1
Song Sparrow     2
Dark-eyed Junco     1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

The following [tag]pictures[/tag] are what I believe to be a Solitary Sandpiper. These [tag]images[/tag] where taken on Eastern Point along the waters edge this morning. Please offer your input as to whether or not I have this [tag]bird[/tag] named correctly by commenting on this article.

Solitary Sandpiper - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Solitary Sandpiper - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Solitary Sandpiper - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Solitary Sandpiper - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

Change in Plans

Originally, Sharon and I were going to vacation on Campobello Island, NB next month. Those plans have changed. We will now be spending a week on [tag]Prince Edward Island[/tag] from October 6th through the 13th. We will be staying in a cottage on the east side of the island near the town of Brackley Beach. I won’t bore you with the “what for” in the change of plans.

From what I have found through research, October is the peak of [tag]bird[/tag] [tag]migration[/tag] on the island. And another plus is that there are plenty of [tag]lighthouses[/tag] to visit, which is another passion of ours. As I stated before, if I can get an internet connection, I will post reports during our time away.

For those readers that have been to PEI, if you can offer any birding tips or some “must see” areas of the island, please feel free to respond by commenting on this article. It would be greatly appreciated!

Our birding weekend was short. Rain dominated the daylight hours Saturday and Sunday was uneventful. We did get good close looks at a Juvenile Great Blue Heron, and watched a Belted Kingfisher fishing for a meal.

Enjoy our photos by clicking a thumbnail for a full sized view. As always, comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated.

Belted Kingfisher with Fish - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Belted Kingfisher with Fish - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Profile: Juvenile Great Blue Heron - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Profile: Juvenile Great Blue Heron - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Juvenile Great Blue Heron - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Juvenile Great Blue Heron - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Juvenile Great Blue Heron - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Juvenile Great Blue Heron - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Juvenile Great Blue Heron - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Whimbrel - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Whimbrel - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Whimbrel in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Whimbrel in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!

Preparing for Campobello Island

John Briggs

In less than a month, Sharon and I will be vacationing on Campobello Island, N.B. A solid nine days of [tag]birding[/tag] the former summer home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, DownEast [tag]Maine[/tag] and the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge.

Our schedule includes: October 6-10 at Campobello Island and October 11-14 at Mount Desert Island. Hopefully the [tag]weather[/tag] will be prime, but you always risk having mother nature throw a few surprises your way when vacationing.

I would love to do daily blog entries while on our trip, but the cabin we are staying in on Campobello does not have internet service. If I do get a wireless signal while driving around the area, I will be sure to post on our [tag]birdwatching[/tag] progress.

Here at the home front, I have busy installing a new computer system and have not had much time to go birding. My old reliable PC took a fit and could not be fixed. A new one was procured with all the bells and whistles, but more importantly, plenty of RAM and hard drive space with a Quad processor was the selling point for me. My workflow in Photoshop CS2 is a lot faster now, with no waiting for tasks to be performed. My [tag]weather station[/tag] is back on the air at BiddefordWeather.com after being down for 2 weeks because of the computer issues. Finally, as of the time I wrote this article, I have read and answered all of my email that had been piling up. With a very busy week at work and the computer issues, this has been one week that I am glad to see go into oblivion.

We did get a chance to [tag]bird[/tag] Granite Point this morning. Cloudy skies with intermittent showers did not allow for any photography. Thunderstorms could be heard in the distance somewhere over Saco Bay. During a break in the rain, a Broad-Winged Hawk buzzed a large flock of Whimbrels on the banks of the Little River. A few Snowy Egrets flew above the river, fighting a strong northeast wind. A stray Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, a few peeps and a bunch of Crows winds up our sightings at Granite Point.

Our next stop was Biddeford Pool, where we spotted approximately 80 Snowy Egrets and 9 Great Egrets feeding in the nearly empty Pool, along Mile Stretch Road about 200 yards before Hattie’s Restaurant. A very large number of unidentified [tag]shorebirds[/tag] were also present. Further along, near Eastern Point, several hundred Double-Crested Cormorants were on the islands just off shore more than likely staging for southerly [tag]migration[/tag].

It is a good day to curl up at home, watch some TV, and make some Country Style Ribs in the crock pot. Bon Appétit!

Happy birding!

Labor Day Weekend Birding

What a great weekend to go [tag]birdwatching[/tag]! A cold front came across [tag]Maine[/tag] Friday night bringing northwest winds, much cooler temperatures and plenty of migrating [tag]birds[/tag]. Granite Point was our observation area.

Raptors stole the three day weekend, as they took advantage of the wind direction on their journey south. [tag]Shorebirds[/tag] also took to the skies on a northwest wind to help them along on their long journey. Today, with winds from the southwest, birds seemed to lay low while conserving energy for the next cold front which is to cross the state tonight.

Sharon and I, along with Bob Malbon, birded the same location at Granite Point each morning of this three day weekend. There was so much action, that it was hard to keep up with what was going on around us.

White-Tailed Deer were present each and every day, with a group of them coming within 30 feet of us Saturday morning. The deer were looking to cross the Little River, and finally did after the close encounter with us. 4 to 6 were present each day.

When [tag]bird[/tag] watching and photographing [tag]wildlife[/tag] with action around you nearly constantly, you always miss something that comes out of nowhere. As Bob and I stood looking across the marsh at a pair of Horned Grebes in flight, a Northern Harrier flew very low across the river behind us. I turned and saw the hawk not more that 30 feet away coming our way. I said “LOOK!”, not giving Bob any direction nor what it was, and quickly fired a few frames. Bob only got a rear shot, my fault. We agreed to say “hawk” and what direction in the future.

Comical things always seem to happen when we go birdwatching. This morning, Bob was squatting along the rivers edge about 40 yards from Sharon and I, photographing a Great Blue Heron preening on a rock.  A flight of Whimbrels flew near Bob and one of them peeled off from the others, glided across a stretch of the marsh and nearly landed on the man’s head. The bird briefly touched down about ten feet from Bob and immediately took off. I just stood there with my rig in my hand, jaw dropped, looking at what was going on. What a wonderful picture I just missed! Just goes to show how wearing camo helps with blending yourself into the surroundings.

Belted Kingfishers were chasing each other all over the place everyday we were on Granite Point. I watched one Kingfisher chase off a group of five Whimbrels that were feeding on a sandbar. Hawks flew up and down the river, causing shorebirds to fly for their lives. A few Merlins perched in the trees along the river, and Osprey hovered over the river and the pannes in the marsh looking for fish.

I will line the weekend sightings up in the following manner: A checklist and then [tag]pictures[/tag] from that day. There are no pictures for today.

Location:     Granite Point
Observation date:     9/1/07   Observers: John and Sharon Briggs   Bob Malbon
Notes:     NW winds moderate and gusty. Temps in the low 50’s. Birdwatching done during falling tide.
Number of species:     35

Canada Goose     11
American Black Duck     4
Green-winged Teal     5
Common Eider     12
Horned Grebe     2     Flying close-by in marsh
Double-crested Cormorant     25
Great Blue Heron     2
Great Egret     4
Snowy Egret     40
Little Blue Heron     2
Osprey     1
Northern Harrier     4
Broad-winged Hawk     1
Merlin     2
Black-bellied Plover     1
Greater Yellowlegs     1
Lesser Yellowlegs     2
Willet     3
Whimbrel     5
White-rumped Sandpiper     6
Short-billed Dowitcher     2
Mourning Dove     12
Belted Kingfisher     4     Fighting with each other constantly
Blue Jay     1
American Crow     12
Common Raven     1
Black-capped Chickadee     2
American Robin     3
Gray Catbird     1
Northern Mockingbird     2
European Starling     21
Cedar Waxwing     4
American Tree Sparrow     2
Song Sparrow     1
American Goldfinch     6

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

White-Tailed Deer - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. White-Tailed Deer - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. White-Tailed Deer - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Belted Kingfisher - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Belted Kingfisher - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Migration: Belted Kingfisher - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Belted Kingfisher - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Lesser Yellowlegs - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Lesser Yellowlegs - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Lesser Yellowlegs - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Lesser Yellowlegs - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret Landing - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Location:     Granite Point
Observation date:     9/2/07   Observers: John and Sharon Briggs   Bob Malbon
Notes:     NW winds moderate and gusty. Temps in the mid 40’s. Birdwatching on a falling tide.
Number of species:     32

Canada Goose     11
American Black Duck     3
Green-winged Teal     3
Common Loon     1
Horned Grebe     2     Close flyby on marsh
Double-crested Cormorant     23
Great Blue Heron     2
Great Egret     2
Snowy Egret     28
Osprey     1
Northern Harrier     3
Broad-winged Hawk     1
Merlin     1
Black-bellied Plover     1
Semipalmated Plover     13
Lesser Yellowlegs     6
Willet     4
Whimbrel     6
White-rumped Sandpiper     5
Mourning Dove     7
Belted Kingfisher     4     Fighting each other constantly
American Crow     10
American Robin     1
Gray Catbird     1
European Starling     7
Cedar Waxwing     9
American Tree Sparrow     2
Field Sparrow     1
Song Sparrow     4
Northern Cardinal     1
House Finch     1
House Sparrow     6

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

White-Tailed Deer Family - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. White-Tailed Deer Family - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. White-Tailed Deer Family - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
White-Tailed Deer Family - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. White-Tailed Deer Family - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Sunrise Light - Snowy Egrets in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Great Blue Heron in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Northern Harrier in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Northern Harrier in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Northern Harrier in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Osprey in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Osprey in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Osprey in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Osprey in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Peeps in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Snowy Egret in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Snowy Egret in Flight - Granite Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Location:     Granite Point
Observation date:     9/3/07   Observers: John and Sharon Briggs   Bob Malbon
Notes:     SW moderate winds, gusty at times. Temps mid 50’s. Birdwatching during slack to falling tide.
Number of species:     27

Canada Goose     11
American Black Duck     4
Green-winged Teal     6
Common Eider     6
Red-breasted Merganser     1     Feeding in Curtis Cove
Common Loon     1     Feeding in Curtis Cove
Horned Grebe     1     Feeding in the Little River
Double-crested Cormorant     125     Very large flock flying into SW winds toward Timber Island
Great Blue Heron     2
Snowy Egret     7
Northern Harrier     1
Broad-winged Hawk     1
Merlin     3
Semipalmated Plover     7
Lesser Yellowlegs     2
Willet     4
Whimbrel     3
White-rumped Sandpiper     5
Mourning Dove     4
Belted Kingfisher     8     Fighting constantly with each other
American Crow     10
Tree Swallow     25
Barn Swallow     20     With tree Swallows. Probably fallouts
Cedar Waxwing     3
House Finch     2
American Goldfinch     4
House Sparrow     3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

Happy [tag]birding[/tag]!