A chill in the air

by John Briggs on August 19, 2007

in Blog, Weekend Birding

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]!

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