Birding in [tag]Maine[/tag] during the fall season has its strong points, some of these being the crystal blue skies and cooler temperatures. And most important of all, bug activity is very low!
Species of [tag]birds[/tag] are coming and going and squirrels and chipmunks are storing food for the long winter ahead.
This Columbus Day weekend was no exception. Mornings were frosty and the days were just cool enough for a light jacket.
We departed early Saturday morning for Lincolnville to take the ferry to Islesboro. Fog rose from rivers and inlets due to the October chill over the warmer waters, making one wonder what was lurking in the autumn mist.
We arrived at the ferry terminal in Lincolnville and drove aboard the ferry at 7:50 a.m. There was no more room, so I thought, but the crew had us work our car around until they could squeeze one more in.
The 20 minute ride across Penobscot Bay was uneventful, as the waters were nearly smooth, with a light northwest breeze.
Upon arriving on the island, we drove north, admiring the beauty of the spruce trees, inlets, coves and bays.
Our first stop was along the narrowest part of the island, with a cove on the west side, and the bay to the east.
We disembarked from our car, and immediately heard and seen sparrows flying in and around the triple spruce trees along the road.
This is the spot I photographed the Savannah Sparrow. At the time, I had an idea as to what this species of sparrow was, but was not quite sure, hence I ask for proper identification. Again, I would like to express my thanks to those of you who helped in the identification of this species of sparrow.
The sparrows would take flight from a small meadow, and visit the spruce trees, but trying to [tag]photograph[/tag] them was a chore.
I shot 24 pictures to get two good enough for identification purposes! These fellas would not sit still long enough, and if they did, they were deep in the spruce bows.
I was set-up with a good sturdy tripod, so when one finally came into view, I started firing off shots like there were no tomorrow.
I thanked the little fella and we continued on our way.
One point of note: not many waterfowl were encountered on this trip, as was the lack of shorebirds. We did manage to see a few Double-Crested Cormorants and some unidentifiable Shearwaters. Hawks were plenty, but the height at which they flew made identification somewhat a challenge.
We continued to drive around the island in a clock-wise fashion, my wife hoping to catch a glimpse of [tag]John Travolta[/tag] who has a summer home on the island. (We saw neither him nor [tag]Kirstie Alley[/tag] who also has a summer home here.)
On the east side of the island, just a half a mile north of the fire department, we saw a gentleman along the road taking a picture of something in a spruce tree. I asked what he saw and he proclaimed a Bald Eagle was there.
I retrieved my camera and tripod and set-up on a dirt lane about 150 feet from the spruce tree the eagle was perched on.
What was unbelievable was that this eagle did not seem to mind the commotion going on around it. Cars going by, a few people stopping with the oohing and ahhing and the distant hammering of an unseen carpenter.
The eagle sat there perched on the spruce for just over an hour looking around, preening, being harrassed, at a distance, by a Red-Tailed Hawk, and he even let out a sneeze that I just missed capturing on my camcorder. And as luck would have it, I missed his departure. I was taking the camcorder off of the tripod and replacing it with my camera.
You can view the Windows WMV format video of the [tag]Bald Eagle[/tag] in the Birding In Maine Photo Gallery. I have other [tag]videos[/tag] of this [tag]eagle[/tag] that I will upload in the next several days.
I recommend Islesboro as a day trip for those who want to get away from it all for the day. I plan to return in the spring, during migration, which I am sure will be a hot spot.
The rest of our trip was mostly uneventful. We caught the ferry back to the mainland and went to Rockland to walk the breakwater and visit the [tag]lighthouse[/tag] which sits at its end.
I will post larger versions of the pictures in this post in the Birding In Maine Photo Gallery in the next few days.
UPDATE: Larger versions of the eagle pictures in this post are now available in the Birding In Maine Photo Gallery. The direct link is here: Raptors