Photos added to the Birding Gallery

The Birding Gallery has been updated with pictures. One of the latest images uploaded is shown below.

[[Image:Common Birds/brown_thrasher.jpg|center|300|300|A Brown Thrasher looksout from a wire at the Rachael Carson national Wildlife Refuge near Biddeford Pool, Maine.]]

Check back often for more gallery updates!

Birding Software

Yesterday, I purchased some birding software online called Aves Bird Watcher. Check the site out and read all about it. Cost is $29.99 and includes free upgrades for life.

I needed a journal type software to keep a record of birds I have seen, and with parameters such as adding pictures, weather conditions, location, habitat, notes, etc. This software has all of this and more! It even includes a voice/sound recorder, and it not only accepts images, but video too!

It will even make the pages of your journal or its record of birds into HTML documents to upload to your website, such as this database page of the American Bittern, and a page about a sighting of the American Bittern.

There are other software programs out there that do much more and have better databases of birds, but for now, this was my choice.

Was it a snake or an eel?

Seems to be some debate as to whether the Great Egret was eating a snake or an eel in this post. I have received comments on both this site and via email as to what others think it was. It is basically split with 15 thinking northern water snake and 14 thinking it was an eel.

I have enhanced and zoomed into the subject as best as possible, but because of the foggy conditions of that morning, I can only do so much.

Here are some more pictures that I worked with to the best of my ability. Please post any comments that you have at the end of this article under “Leave a passing comment »”.

Snake or Eel?Snake or Eel?

Birding Gallery Added

I have added a photo gallery to Birding In Maine. To access it, simply click on “Birding Gallery” on the left side of the page under “Pages“.

At this point, only a few pictures are in the birding gallery, but I have many pictures and as time permits, I will upload them on a daily basis.

I have comments enabled for the each picture in the gallery, so be sure to let me know what you think about them!

Don’t forget that once you are at the medium-sized image, click on it for full size. I have resized the full-sized images so that they load fairly quickly, most are less than 1mb.

Great Egret vs. Snake

Going birdwatching on a day so foggy that you can barely see 50 feet, usually is not very productive, but this morning had a surprise in store for us not more than 20 feet away!

Great Egret eat a snake

While enjoying our Saturday morning coffee and birdwatching ritual at the Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge near Biddeford Pool, Maine, my wife and I were about to call it quits because visibility was terrible at best.

Fog had set in overnight, and it was being stubborn and not burning off. Visibility was less than fifty feet at best. Binoculars were useless in the thick pea soup.

Just as I was beginning to back out of a spot I had parked in, my wife saw a Great Egret step over a small rise in the marsh not more than 20 feet in front of us.

The Egret was stabbing its long bill into something, not in the water, but in the grass.

Suddenly, the Egret rose with a snake in its mouth! I could not identify the type of snake because of fog, but I can assure you it was at least 3 feet long! Great Egret eats a snake

These pictures are proof… NEVER leave home without your camera! Although these images are fuzzy at best because of fog, I still was able to capture images that you just don’t see too often in life.

The battle between Egret and snake lasted approx 5 minutes. At times, the snake tried to escape by wrapping itself around the head and bill of the egret. The snake would then fall to the ground, but the Egret was quicker!

I don’t want to spare any details, so if you are squeamish, skip this paragraph! As the Egret tried to swallow the snake, the snake would crawl back out, fall to the ground, only to be picked up again and again.

But as all good things must end, the Egret finally swallowed the snake whole! You could see the bulge in the Egrets throat as it struggle to swallow 3 feet of snake!

Great Egret eats a snake

In this picture, you can see the bulge in its neck! This was after the Great Egret took a drink of water to wash it down.

Nature at work! We love seeing things as they are meant to be. Who knows, maybe the next time the snake will win.

Those who know me can relate to this, I still thought there was more I should have done… like why didn’t I have the camcorder in the car!

I can guarantee you this, video will be forthcoming of things like this in the future. Just like the popular commercial says, “Don’t leave home without it!”

Be safe and happy birding folks!

Gold Finch Closeup

My wife and I were early risers this morning, venturing out to a marsh in the Rachael Carson Wildlife Preserve in Biddeford, Maine with our morning coffee. (This marsh is our so-called quiet spot.)

Gold FinchThe rising sun and a light breeze off the sea made a perfect morning for bird watching, and a cool respite from the impending heat forecasted later this afternoon.

We heard a gold finch call in the distance and my wife called back to it. (She does superb gold finch calls!) A few seconds later, a male gold finch landed directly in front of us, not more than 10 feet away on a spray of wild millet.

I commenced to take photos of this beautiful bird like there was no tomorrow! As you can see in this photo, the gold finch has landed on a fence post and is nibbling on a piece of millet looking as if he is standing “at ease” military style!

The gold finch hung around for approx. 3 minutes and then was gone, bringing a smile to our faces and waking us up more than the coffee could ever do! It just goes to show that if you practice your birding calls, you never know what suprise will come so close to you, that you can practically reach out and touch it.

Gold Finch

 

Birding Hoyt Neck, Maine

Cedar WaxwingThe late afternoon of the July 4th holiday featured many fledglings in the Rachael Carson National Wildlife Refuge on Hoyt Neck, Maine. Cedar Waxwings were everywhere it seemed, feeding their young and chasing off other birds who got too close.

These lovely birds allowed many photographs to be taken as long as the waning light of the sun allowed.

The beautiful Cedar Waxwing can be seen in most of the U.S. and southern Canada. It stands about 7” high. They sport a black mask, have a brown crest and shoulders, and a bright yellow-tipped tail and pale yellow belly. Adult birds have a small red spot on their wings.

 

 

Eastern KingbirdAnother bird seen frequently on our trips to the marsh is the Eastern Kingbird.

The Eastern Kingbird commonly perches on fences and on telephone wires, where, in typical flycatcher fashion, it placidly awaits the passing of an insect, which, with superb deftness, it captures on the wing. Many kinds of birds have white outer tail feathers, but the Eastern Kingbird is almost unique among passerines in having a broad white band across the end of the tail. Otherwise it is blackish above and white below, with a concealed orange crown patch that is not seen except when the bird is in hand.

 

 

 

WilletAs luck would have it, we came across a Willet with four chicks. It is comical to watch the chicks stumble around looking for food. The mother Willet keeps an eye out from a distance, ready to strike at any predator that gets close.

Willets are very territorial and will aggressively defend their nesting and feeding territory. The willet is a very noisy bird and will call out with a pill-will-willet pill-will-willet when disturbed. It will fly overhead and and continue calling out until the threat goes away. It often perches on bushes, trees, fenceposts, or rocks.

There is much more to report, but that will come later, as we are about to embark on yet another birding trip.

What makes it all worth while is the beauty and complexity of nature herself, as seen in this photo of sunset over the marsh.

Sunset over the Rachael Carson National Wildlife Preserve, Hoyt Neck, Maine.

Bird, wildlife and nature photography from Maine and beyond. Read about our Maine bird watching adventures and view our beautiful photos and videos of nature at her finest.

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