Midwinter at Scarborough Marsh

As Saturday morning dawned, Sharon and I decided to take a break from packing our possessions for our mid-February move and head to the Scarborough Marsh for some [tag]birding[/tag]. The marsh was mostly quiet as it is this time of the year, but the Dunstan River held good numbers of Hooded Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, Canada Geese, Black Ducks, Mallards, Buffleheads and Red-Breasted Mergansers.

Bob Malbon and Karen D’Andrea were birding the marsh and we exchanged a few birding stories and reports of our tallies for the day. In the bushes along the parking lot for the Eastern Trail, American Tree Sparrows and Black-Capped Chickadees flitted about not more than 20 feet from where we were conversing.

The tally for the Scarborough Marsh:

Weather: Clear skies, light winds, temperature in the upper teens

Location:  Scarborough Marsh – Scarborough, Maine
Observers: John & Sharon Briggs
Observation date:     1/26/08
Number of species:     10

Canada Goose     9
American Black Duck     2
Mallard     2
Bufflehead     6
Common Goldeneye     13
Hooded Merganser     2
Common Merganser     2
Red-breasted Merganser     2
Black-capped Chickadee     6
American Tree Sparrow     4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 (http://ebird.org)

Today, a trip in the freshly fallen snow to Biddeford Pool was quite productive. An adult [tag]Bald Eagle[/tag] was seen soaring over the intersection of Fortunes Rock Road and Route 9. Curtis Cove, at the end of Granite Point Road, held several Goldeneyes, a Surf Scoter, and Common Eiders. A lone Red Fox was hunting the beach at Curtis Cove, and was seen later prowling for [tag]birds[/tag] along the edge of the Little River.

At Eastern Point, a raft of 44 Long-Tailed Ducks were seen in the rough surf. Our tally for Biddeford Pool:

Weather: Snow, winds East at 20 to 30 mph, temperature in the low 20’s

Location:  Eastern Point – Biddeford Pool, Maine
Observers: John & Sharon Briggs
Observation date:     1/27/08
Number of species:     14

American Black Duck     11
Mallard     2
Common Eider     15
Surf Scoter     1
White-winged Scoter     1
Long-tailed Duck     44
Common Goldeneye     16
Common Merganser     5
Red-breasted Merganser     6
Common Loon     1
Great Cormorant     1
Bald Eagle     1
American Crow     12
Common Raven     1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 (http://ebird.org)

These birding trips were a great way to relax from the hectic pace of getting ready to move to a new home. I would like to share a few [tag]bird photographs[/tag] from our birding trip to Scarborough Marsh yesterday. As always, comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated.

Canada Goose - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine. Hooded Merganser Pair - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine. Hooded Merganser Pair - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine.
Hooded Merganser pair in flight - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine. Hooded Merganser pair in flight - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine. Hooded Merganser pair in flight - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine.
Common Goldeneye - Male - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine. Hooded Merganser - Male - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine. Hooded Merganser - Male - Scarborough Marsh - Scarborough, Maine.

Happy birding!

Maine Audubon Rare Bird Alert: Jan. 18

Northern Mockingbird

Maine Audubon Rare Bird Alert
Reporting Period: January 12 – January 18, 2008
Area: State of Maine
Compilers: Eric Hynes and Stella Walsh

Of Special Note

 This winter appears to be taking a toll on the surplus of BARRED OWLS in the area as there were a number of fatalities reported this week, not all of which were roadkills.
BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS, PINE GROSBEAKS and COMMON REDPOLLS continue to be encountered with exceptional frequency and numbers.

York County

 A flock of 30 HORNED LARKS was at the end of the trolley track on the York side of Brave Boat Harbor in the Rachel Carson refuge.
A GREATER SCAUP was at East Point in Biddeford Pool.

Greater Portland

 A HOARY REDPOLL was picked out of a flock of ~150 COMMON REDPOLLS visiting a feeding station in Gray on January 18.
A NORTHERN SHRIKE and a CAROLINA WREN were found along the East End Trail in Portland on January 17.
A PEREGRINE FALCON was perched along Black Point Road in Scarborough.
A CAROLINA WREN and a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER continue sporadic visits to feeders at Pine Point in Scarborough.
A TURKEY VULTURE was soaring over Scarborough on January 17.
Single NORTHERN FLICKERS were reported this week at a feeder in Scarborough, at Falmouth High School and at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.
Four BRANT were at Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth, while RAZORBILL sightings continue at Dyer Point.
Three ICELAND GULLS continue at Union Wharf in Portland.
A single female HOARY REDPOLL was among a flock of 30 COMMON REDPOLLS at feeders in West Falmouth.
A flock of 20 DUNLIN has been foraging off Lower Flying Point in Freeport.


 Unusual for this inland site, a GREAT CORMORANT was reported in the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, while a PEREGRINE FALCON continues to roost atop the St. Mary’s church steeple.


 A BELTED KINGFISHER is fishing in a small patch of open water from the Bay Bridge Park in Brunswick, while a PEREGRINE FALCON continues to roost on the roof of Fort Andros Mill adjacent to the Topsham-Brunswick bridge over the Androscoggin River.
A RUSTY BLACKBIRD was seen at feeders in Phippsburg.
A NORTHERN FLICKER is coming to suet in West Boothbay.
A BLACK VULTURE was seen again on January 15 next to the turkey farm on Route 1 in Warren.
A NORTHERN SHRIKE and a flock of 45+ SNOW BUNTINGS were noted at Green Point Wildlife Management Area in Dresden on January 17.

Kennebec Valley (Augusta-Waterville)

 A drake AMERICAN WIGEON was found in Messalonskee Stream in Waterville.
A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was in hot pursuit of birds at feeders in Benton.
A COMMON GRACKLE visited a feeding station in Gardiner on January 15.
A small flock of RUSTY BLACKBIRDS continues to be found along Hinckley Road in Clinton.

Central – Bangor

 A BARROW’S GOLDENEYE continues in the Stillwater River in Orono.
A flock of 20 to 40 EVENING GROSBEAKS are coming to a feeder in Dixmont.

Penobscot Bay

 A THICK-BILLED MURRE was in the channel between the wharf and Long Island in Blue Hill.
Eighty-eight RUDDY DUCKS were seen from Cape Jellison in Stockton Springs.
A flock of approximately 100 SNOW BUNTINGS was seen along Rt. 137 in Knox on January 17.


 A NORTHERN PINTAIL was in Ship Harbor on Mount Desert Island.

Northern Maine

 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were at Great Pond in Aurora.
AN AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER continues on Muscovic Road in Stockholm.
GRAY JAYS are visiting a suet feeder in Woodland.
An EASTERN TOWHEE continues in a yard in Sherman.  This is believed to be only the third winter record for this species in northern Maine.

Report provided by:
Eric Hynes
Staff Naturalist / Gilsland Farm Center Manager
Maine Audubon
20 Gilsland Farm Road
Falmouth, ME 04105
207-781-2330 ext. 237

Moving to Bath

The time has come to move on. My wife and I will be taking up residence in Bath, Maine next month. The situation here in Biddeford is deplorable at best. Since moving here two years ago, we have had no fewer than 4 thefts of our property. Drunks and young thugs decide that 2:00 a.m. is the best time to pound their fists on metal street signs, making enough noise to wake up the dead! The straw that broke the camels back was when we had a brand new stainless steel grill stolen from our porch in broad daylight while we were at work. We had the grill only 20 days before someone thought they needed it more than we did. Of course, no one saw anything…. whatever, good bye and good riddance Biddeford.

We had the good fortune of finding a home along the Kennebec River, with a marsh and the river in our lower back yard. Basically a dream home for us. The map shows the general location of where we will live.

Map of Bath, Maine

We will miss our regular birding loop, but I am absolutely sure we will discover a new one. Our back yard should be a haven for waterfowl, raptors and other birds. We noticed today that there is a crab apple tree in the back corner of the lot that looks as if it has yet to be discovered by Grosbeaks.

The back yard is terraced to the marsh/river edge and has the opportunity to be a great spot for a blind. During foul or bitter cold weather, a tripod with our scope attached, will be in the living room at the picture window looking out over the river towards Doubling Point Lighthouse. Several feeding stations and a water feature will be placed throughout the back and side yards. A new yard list will have to begin, with what I am sure will feature birds that have never graced any of our other yard lists.

I have even played around with the idea of a live bird cam pointed at one of the feeding stations.

This blog, of course, will continue. Until we get moved and settled in, the posts may be few and far between for about a month. Rest assured, we will continue as long as these fingers can type and click a shutter.

As a side note, BiddefordWeather.com will cease to exist sometime during the middle of February. My new weather site will be BathMaineWeather.com and should be up and operating before the end of February.

For those of you out there that have birded the Bath area and would like to share some favorite birding spots, please let me know via email or by commenting in this or future articles.

Happy birding!

Bird Feathers #4

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

New Years Landscape - Route 9 - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Etherington Pond - Fortunes Rock Beach - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

First pictures of the snowy New Year!

The last day of the year didn’t go quietly | Bird TLC admits it’s 502nd bird of 2007 for treatment, a Red-Tailed Hawk.

An outrage against hawks and falcons | Birder’s World Field of view reports that a pigeon breeder’s club in California, Oregon, and other states has been killing thousands of hawks and falcons a year in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act — and bragging about it.

Volunteers needed to join international bird-feeding study | People who feed birds in the United States and Canada are invited to participate in a study on the feeding habits of birds. Project Wildbird is a landmark $1 million study of seed and feeder preferences of wild birds in the United States and Canada.

School construction may relocate chimney swifts | A 60-foot-tall chimney is one of the few known roosting sites left in Maine for the chimney swift, a songbird that migrates here each May from the mountainous regions of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Footing the bill could become problem in woodpecker hunt | If an ivory-billed woodpecker is not found in 2008, John Arvin worries federal funding for the search, and the support of the scientific and birding communities, could become as elusive as his quarry.

Thousands of loons dying in Great Lakes area | The loon, an icon of the North Woods, is dying by the thousands across a growing swath of the Great Lakes, victims of a bacterial disease that works its way up from the lake floor.

Threatened Birds May Be Rarer Than Geographic Range Maps Suggest | Geographic range maps that allow conservationists to estimate the distribution of birds may vastly overestimate the actual population size of threatened species and those with specific habitats, according to a study published online in the journal Conservation Biology.

Female House Finch - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Female House Finch, first bird of 2008!

Happy birding!