Birding Fox Island

by John Briggs on August 27, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Blog, Landscapes, Wildlife

Tuesday morning dawned crisp and clear and I was not about to let the day pass by without doing some birding. Just after sunrise, I drove to Popham Beach. The tide was falling and the way was clear for a walk out to Fox Island. The island is accessible by foot only during low tide by walking several hundreds yards out from the mainland beach. If you decide to walk out to the island you better be watching the tide. When the tide comes up, you will be stranded and the currents are too strong to swim back to the mainland.

The walk out to the island featured shorebirds feeding along the surf line and hundreds of Gulls on a sandbar between two of the smaller islands. Upon reaching the island, I climbed the rocky shore and made my way to the peak. A breath-taking panoramic view lie before me. Small, rocky islands dotted the sea to my south. To my north, I could see where the Morse River (near Morse Mountain) and the Kennebec River (at Fort Popham) empties into the Atlantic Ocean. I was alone on the island, or so I thought.

Fox Island is bare of vegetation except at it’s highest point with maybe a quarter of an acre of scrub brush. It was in this brush that I spied a Nelson’s Sparrow and Savannah Sparrows. As I slowly walked through the brush to get into a better position to photograph the Nelson’s Sparrow, a Red Fox yelped and jumped up directly in front of me. We stood there looking at each other for a few seconds wondering how in the world we got so close to each other. The fox finally bolted away from me and down off of the island, ran across the sand flats and onto the mainland beach. This incident happened so fast and shocked me so much that once I composed myself I only got photos of the fox running away from me. WOW, what an experience!

It was a wonderful morning of bird watching. It was a treat to explore the island and investigate it’s tide pools and the wildlife that inhabited it. The following list of birds were sighted on Fox Island, Popham Beach and Atkins Bay.

Location: Fox Island, Maine
Observer: John Briggs
Observation date: 8/25/09
Notes: Clear skies. Winds 10-15 mph NW
Number of species: 50

Canada Goose 15
American Black Duck 6
Common Eider 30
Surf Scoter 1
White-winged Scoter 3
Common Loon 3
Double-crested Cormorant 55
Great Blue Heron 1
Snowy Egret 11
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 6 Fishing over mouth of Morse River
Bald Eagle 2 1 adult, 1 second year
Northern Harrier 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Merlin 1
Black-bellied Plover 3
Semipalmated Plover 10
Greater Yellowlegs 5
Lesser Yellowlegs 8
Semipalmated Sandpiper 23
White-rumped Sandpiper 5
Short-billed Dowitcher 2
Bonaparte’s Gull 6
Laughing Gull 6
Herring Gull (American) 6
Great Black-backed Gull 12
Least Tern 3
Common Tern 10 3 juveniles
Black Guillemot 3 mouth of Kennebec River
Mourning Dove 5
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 17
Tree Swallow 11
Barn Swallow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 Popham Beach State Park near guard shack
American Robin 4
Gray Catbird 2
Brown Thrasher 1
Savannah Sparrow 8
Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow 1 On Fox Island
Song Sparrow 3
Northern Cardinal 2
Baltimore Oriole 1
Purple Finch 2
American Goldfinch 5

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

Clicking a thumbnail will open a shadowbox with a larger view. At the bottom right of the shadowbox, you may navigate through the photos by clicking the arrow. Comments and criticisms are encouraged!

Happy birding!

 

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