Horned Grebes and Long-tailed Ducks

by John Briggs on February 6, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Blog

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Making a trip to Saco, Maine yesterday for a doctor’s appointment , I decided to take my camera gear and binoculars along for the 110 mile round trip. My thoughts were to make a stop at the Pine Point Lobster Co-op  dock and see what was happening bird wise. Also, you never know what you may come across as you are driving and having a camera along puts to rest the statement, “I wish I had my camera with me”.

Pine Point is situated south of Scarborough, Maine off Route 9. The Scarborough,  Nonesuch and Libby Rivers and Jones Creek meet here before spilling into the Saco Bay. Prouts Neck and Ferry Beach State Park are on the opposite shore.

The map below shows the location of Pine Point. Map is interactive.

Bundling up against the cold, I walked out onto the upper dock and immediately saw Horned Grebes, Long-tailed Ducks, Common Loon and Common Eider. Although skies were clear, the temperature was in the single digits with a stiff NW wind. Beard icicles instantly began forming and I began to worry if the batteries in my Canon 40D would hold up against the frigid temps.

Female Long-tailed Duck (Old Squaw)

Female Long-tailed Duck (Old Squaw)

 I quietly made my way down the ramp to the water level dock and used a stack of lobster traps as cover. I flushed just one bird, a male Red-breasted Merganser, which took off with a large fish in its mouth.

The Merganser had trouble flying with such a large fish and it landed on a lobster boat in the harbor and began eating the fish. I watched with the binoculars as Gulls swooped in to torment the duck. He would have nothing of the commotion and went under a tarp and finished its meal in peace.

I watched Long-tailed Ducks feeding in the harbor, hoping a few would come close enough to be photographed. The Eiders seemed to know that I was hiding among the lobster traps and kept their distance. A single Horned Grebe got close enough and put on a wonderful show for me.

The biting wind was taking a toll on my bare face. But the batteries in the camera held up! I shot nearly 200 photos in the 1/2 hour that I stood on that cold, icy dock.

Enjoy the photos. The Titmouse, Red and White-breasted Nuthatch photos were taken at home. The rest at Pine Point. All thumbnails can be clicked upon for a larger view, or when viewing the larger sized image, use controls at bottom of photo to go to next photo. Comments and criticisms are encouraged and appreciated.

Camera: Canon 40D
Lens: Canon 100-400mm IS L
Handheld with BushHawk


Happy birding!


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