Gus and I have been travelling to Maine whenever possible since moving back east. We are trying to visit our parents on a regular basis. And, since we are here, I also count the birds in Norridgewock on a regular basis. My in-laws used to feed the birds and their feeders would be so full, but now it has gotten to be too hard for them as they age. The only feeders they maintain nowadays are the hummingbird feeders in the summer. Still, the birds are hanging out in their yard and I hit the jackpot when we arrived there on May 13th!
Before we went to their house, we stopped at the local ice cream stand called Frederick’s Dairy Whip. I counted 8 species of birds including my first Broad-winged hawk for New England and Maine! My sighting of a Gray catbird was the first record for the year of this species in Somerset County in the eBird data base!
When we drove into our parents’ yard I was greeted by the sight of hundreds of Bluets blooming in a carpet across the yard. This is one of my favorite springtime flowers. I called them May flowers as a child but my mother-in-law told me she always knew them by the name, “piss-a-beds.” According to one gardening site I checked out their botanical name is Houstonia caerulea. All I know is that they don’t grow in Tucson, AZ where I used to live! I am so happy to see them again.
I could hear birds calling from the far end of the yard and so I walked on past the house where birds were everywhere and I could not look at them fast enough! I found this Northern Parula high in the birch trees along with some American Goldfinches. I could hear scuffling and scraping down in the duff and soon found a Swainson’s Thrush. Later on in the afternoon before we went to pick up pizza I found a Canada Warbler in the same area. It was a Life Bird for me! I tried to get a picture of it but it kept hopping in and out of the brush and when I tried to get closer, of course it flew away. Still, the vision of that yellow throat with the black necklace has burned itself into my brain! Oh, I want to see one again. But, here is where my ignorance is showing. I thought these birds would be here the next time I came up. I thought that as long as there were trees, there would be birds, but when we came back on May 29th the woods were strangely silent. Although I saw a few birds, I did not see any thrushes, warblers, or even the hummingbird! all I saw were the phoebes and 2 robins. I also heard a chickadee, a blue jay and an ovenbird.
When I stepped outside to go back to the pizza parking lot to watch birds I was surprised to see this animal come hopping out of the woods in front of the garage. If I had not just been reading Bernd Heinrich’s book, A Year In the Maine Woods I would not have know that there are snowshoe hares in Maine, yet here one was in my in-law’s yard!
When we went back on May 29th the hare was there once again. My mother-in-law loves this hare. She is trying to make friends with it. Since today is her birthday I am dedicating this post to her. Happy Birthday MOM!
On the 13th I stopped by Oosoola Park to see if the Bald Eagles were hanging around. They were not but I did find a flock of 11 Mallards and they were all drakes!
In one of the nearby trees I found this Eastern Kingbird. From this view you can easily see the white band at the end of its tail.
Back at Gus’ parent’s house all is well with the birds in the yard.
Happy Birthday Julia!