Piping Plovers and Least Terns

by John Briggs on June 17, 2007

in Blog, Weekend Birding

A beautiful Father’s Day weekend graced the state of [tag]Maine[/tag] with warm temperatures and mostly blue skies. Here is hoping all dads out there had a great day with their children.

[tag]Birding[/tag] around the area was spectacular once again. Eastern Point Sanctuary and Goose Rocks Beach were the focus this weekend, with plenty of [tag]birds[/tag] to see and [tag]photograph[/tag].

Saturday and Sunday morning both began cloudy, but soon the clouds burned off and the [tag]bird watching[/tag] began. Eastern Point held large numbers of Cedar Waxwings and Yellow Warblers. Flights of Common Eider and Double-Crested Cormorant continually flew just off the point, while Catbirds, Robins and Song Sparrows sang their melodious tunes. A single Palm Warbler was seen on the trail that goes along the mouth of the Saco River. A large Red Fox was seen trotting across the golf course near the entrance to the trail.

We then went to “Hattie’s Beach”, and walked a trail off the parking area that leads to a small pond. A Brown Thrasher left us know that we were in his territory, more than likely trying to lead us away from an unseen, nearby nest. A single Green Heron was seen feeding in the small lily pad choked pond.

The first series of photos below are of common birds seen in the area of [tag]Biddeford Pool[/tag] this weekend.

Brown Thrasher - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Cedar Waxwing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing showing interest in a bug - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Cedar Waxwing Male - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Common Yellowthroat Singing - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Common Yellowthroat - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Song Sparrow - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.
Yellow Warbler - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine. Yellow Warbler - Eastern Point - Biddeford Pool, Maine.

Our next adventure was Goose Rocks Beach, near [tag]Kennebunkport[/tag], Maine. Least Terns and Piping Plovers were plentiful in and around an area that is closed off with rope and has cages for the Piping Plovers to nest in. These cages protect the Plover eggs from predators, such as skunks, raccoons and foxes.

Fellow birder Bob Malbon and I photographed the activity from a distance, and I want to assure everyone that we stayed out of the roped off area and did not harass the [tag]wildlife[/tag]. We both were using powerful lenses, mine a 400mm and Bob’s a 500mm.  This is how we accomplished photographing the nesting activity.

A pair of Least Terns were trapped inside of a Plover cage, the poor creatures banging against the top of the cage trying to get out. I sent an email last evening to the Maine-Bird List alerting members of the list to contact Maine Audubon to rescue these two Terns. As of 11:00 a.m. this morning, I received several emails stating that the Terns were no longer trapped in the cage.

The following photos were taken at Goose Rocks Beach Saturday evening. I must admit that I had a great time, but ended up with tired and sore arms trying to photograph the Least Terns in flight. Comments and criticisms are always welcomed.

Least Tern - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Least Tern nest and eggs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern flight - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Least Tern sitting on eggs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Male Least Tern offering fish to female - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Male Least Tern offering fish to female - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Piping Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Piping Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Piping Plover - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine. Piping Plover Eggs - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.
Piping Plover doing the broken wing display to lure off predators - GRB - Kennebunkport, Maine.

Happy birding!

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