Weekend birding on Granite Point

by John Briggs on August 28, 2006

in Blog

Migration continues full swing in Southern [tag]Maine[/tag]. My wife and I birded Granite Point Saturday and Sunday morning and witnessed hundreds of [tag]birds[/tag] of all types making their way to their wintering grounds.

Hundreds of Egrets, both Great and Snowy, were in large groups flying over the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge on Granite Point Road near Biddeford Pool, Maine. Also seen were Great Blue Herons, Double-Crested Cormorants, and unidentifiable ducks in large flocks making way to milder climates.


Downy WoodpeckerSaturday morning was foggy with visibility fair. Noted was the absence of Tree and Barn Swallows.

A bush with many berries along Granite Point Road held many birds eating their breakfast. Noted was Cedar Waxwings, Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Black Capped Chickadees and this Downy Woodpecker, having a snack of ants.

A few Snowy Egrets flew to and fro, along with the sighting of a Great Blue Heron.

Double-Breasted Cormorants and Eiders were numerous along the small bay at Granite Point.

Otherwise, it was a fairly quiet Saturday morning, which may be due to the fog and our late arrival to the area.




Sunday morning brought much more activity. The weather was cool and mostly cloudy, but without the fog. We arrived just after sunrise.

Belted Kingfisher

Our first sighting was this Belted Kingfisher, who sat on a power line just outside of good photography range, next to the grassy parking area along Granite Point Road.

The [tag]bird[/tag] watched one of the pannes below, and suddenly, dove into the water for food but came back up empty handed. (or should I say empty billed!)

When the Kingfisher hit the water, it sounded as if someone had dropped a large rock into it. Graceful this fella was not.

He flew back upon the wire, watching and waiting, but soon decided to check elsewhere as he took flight. These [tag]birds[/tag] never fail to amaze me. How, while in flight, they will hover above a prospective feeding area and then dive straight into the water for a fish. Not as graceful as say a Least Tern, but fun to watch never-the-less.

My wife and I met a fellow [tag]birder[/tag] named Bob. (visit his site, he has spectacular pictures!)We talked for an hour about our birding adventures at Granite Point. My wife spied several [tag]deer[/tag] near the pumping station, so out came the spotting scope.

A doe and 3 young ones were feeding. After several minutes, 2 more young ones came from across the marsh to join the buffet. As the newcomers approached, the others began a game of tag. Running around chasing each other, it reminded me of puppies playing. At one point, a Great Blue Heron was among the activity, although he did not participate. After playing for awhile, dogs began to bark, and the deer retreated to the relative safety of the woods.

Many flocks of birds, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, were in flight over the marsh. A large flock of Tree Swallows were present, more than likely stopping over from Downeast Maine, feeding to gain strength for their long [tag]migration[/tag].

Just before leaving the area, we sat in our car looking sea-ward at the end of Granite Point Road.

A Catbird landed on a rock within 20 feet of us. I began talking to him, taking pictures as I did so. It was comical as the Catbird would cock his head and look at me like, “What is this guy saying to me”? He would then disappear, only to return again. I was thinking that just like a feline cat, curiosity was in this bird also. Here are a few pictures of this beautiful bird.



We saw several American Goldfinches, who were molting, loosing their bright yellow plumage to be replaced with their much duller winter plumage.

All in all, it was a decent birding weekend. This Cedar Waxwing was in the berry bushed mentioned earlier in this article.

Cedar Waxwing

As a side note, I have ordered the Cannon Rebel XT DSLR camera. Although it is on backorder, I expect it to be shipped around the beginning of the month. I am anxious to put it to use, as with the zoom lenses that I already have along with the [tag]spotting scope[/tag], I should be able to post some spectacular pictures.

Happy birding!

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