Saturday, March 22, 2014

Notes from My Nest: Window Birding

1. down the hill-kab View of Maquoit Bay from my great room window 3-18-14

It did not take me long to hang up bird feeders in my new yard. In fact, I bought a thistle seed sock and some seed bells to hang even before we moved in. The first two weeks of living here were birding bliss, because the squirrels had not found my feeders yet. However, the day before I left for Florida I saw my first squirrel.

1a. Bird feeders in snow 2-18-14 By the time I returned all my feeders were empty, and the plastic tube feeder I bought was on the ground and chewed to bits! I had to rethink my bird feeding and fast! With all this snow and the ground being frozen, I cannot put a feeder pole into the ground yet, but once the thaw comes it is my hope to set up new feeding stations. Until then, I dependent on what I can hang from windows and bushes.

1c. Kitchen window feeder 2-16-14 Bird Feeder with chickadee at my kitchen window 2-16-14

Besides counting the birds in my yard and at my feeders, I also can count the birds seen in Maquoit Bay on the northwest side of the house. I can just see the water through the trees, but there are only a few peek-a-boo views of open water through the trees and brush. Often I do not see any birds this close to shore, but on March 18th I saw there were ducks down in the water. I got my binoculars and camera and started trying to identify birds.

2. a brief glimpse-kab I have to look downhill through the trees to these few open spots. I could see the ducks diving and resurfacing as they swam back and forth along the shore. Taking a photo is challenging due to the angle, and the distance and the window glass! So, I focused on an open spot and prayed the birds would swim by.

3. buffleheads-kab Though these pictures are bright and blurry you can still tell that these birds are Buffleheads. The males are white with black wings and back and the white “Bufflehead” they are named for. The females are a duller black with a white cheek patch. But I knew there were more birds down there.

4. goldeneyes-kab Once again some ducks paddled by the opening.

 

5. goldeneyes-kab On closer view you can see the Common Goldeneyes! There are 3 males and one female in this photo. The female is mostly brown and I know they are Common and not Barrow’s Goldeneyes because the male’s white cheek patches are more circular in shape while a Barrow’s Goldeneye would have a comma-shaped white spot near its bill. Plus, Common Goldeneyes would be more Common here in Maine.

However, I am more likely to see a Black-capped Chickadee everyday than a Bufflehead or Goldeneye. I took this shot of a Black-capped Chickadee through the same window while I was photographing the ducks. It’s a bit blurry but it’s still a nice shot and gives you a feel for my surroundings.

6. BCCH-kab Black-capped Chickadee on a spruce tree 3-18-2014

And then, of course, there are the tree rats, A.K.A. Gray Squirrels!

7. tree rat-kab Gray squirrel gobbling up seed beneath the feeders!

In just the past few days I have added a Song Sparrow to my yard list. I saw it for the first time on the 19th and I saw one again yesterday morning when I was out filling my feeders. Song Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow and Dark-eyed Juncos are the only sparrow species I have seen so far in this yard. I keep hoping for a White-throated Sparrow, but so far no such luck. However, I have had Bald Eagles fly over the house a couple of times now. That’s not a bad yard bird to have and I am hoping I will see osprey once they return from the south! Here is a list of the birds I have seen so far since moving to Mere Point in Brunswick, Maine. Please note that I was in Florida for two weeks from February 22nd to March 7th.

Mere Point Yard List:

  1. American Crow—February 7, 2014
  2. Black-capped Chickadee
  3. American Robin
  4. American Goldfinch
  5. Herring Gull—February 10, 2014
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. White-breasted Nuthatch—February 11, 2014
  8. Downy woodpecker
  9. Red-tailed hawk—February 12, 2014
  10. Hairy Woodpecker
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Northern Cardinal—February 17, 2014
  13. Cooper’s Hawk
  14. Dark-eyed Junco (slate-colored)—February 18, 2014
  15. American Tree Sparrow
  16. House Finch—February 20, 2014
  17. Mourning Dove—March 10, 2014
  18. Common Raven—March 11, 2014
  19. Red-winged Blackbird—March 13, 2014
  20. Red-breasted merganser—March 16, 2014
  21. Bald Eagle
  22. Common Goldeneye—March 18, 2014
  23. Bufflehead
  24. Song Sparrow—March 19, 2014

(Note: All species below a date were also seen on that date.)

It took me about a week to adjust after my return from Florida. The first two days after I returned I ran around doing errands. Then one afternoon I just crashed and slept for three hours! Finally after last weekend’s gallivanting around I unpacked about 10 more boxes on Monday. I spent a good part of the day down in a cold, dark basement but finally had to come upstairs to warm up and see some sunshine!

3-17-14 sunshine in kitchen-cell pic Sunlight on kitchen floor 3-17-14

I still have more to do and more things to figure out about where to put them in this small house. Living in a smaller space has forced me to simplify my life. I no longer have space for all my dishes and have had to pack all but what I use on a daily basis away. While I am not willing to give away all my china and family memorabilia at this point, it does make me realize how much stuff I can live without! However, there is a one whole shelf dedicated to bird food and feeders in the basement and I just realized that in about a month it will be time to put out hummingbird feeders! While I won’t see the wide variety of hummingbird species I saw in Tucson, I do hope I will get a few Ruby-throated hummingbirds here! This is my first time living in Maine as an eBirder. My Maine Life List is currently at 121 species and I have seen 44 species in Maine so far this year. I have already added 5 species to my Maine Life List since moving back with Brant, Common Goldeneye, Northern Shrike, Black Scoter and Red-throated Loon and I have already submitted 93 checklists since moving back to Maine! Also, I have so many photos to share that I am trying very hard to write at least one blogpost a day! Stay tuned for more!

8. Gray squirrel at window 3-19-14

12 comments:

  1. It looks so beautiful! It was hot here today and humid! The bug bites are getting worse. So enjoy that snow!

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    1. Chris, so sorry about the bug bites but I'm so glad you are seeing so many birds!

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  2. Its nice to see your new environment, and to renew my acquaintanceship with Buffleheads after seeing them in California - they are so attractive when the sun hits their dark feathers at the right angle. Good luck with the squirrels.

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    1. Happywanderer, I think Buffleheads are so cute and I love their name! I fear the squirrels have me beat already!

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  3. HI Kathie You seem to be settling in quite well. It does take time to adjust to a smaller place but as you say, it is amazing what 'stuff' you can do without! Great to be able to see the lake from your home even it is quite a distance. Great number of birds you have seen since you moved and plenty more to come. I am sure you will figure a way to keep the Squirrels from eating all the bird food. Have a great Sunday.

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    1. Margaret, I am slowly settling in. I love my view of the bay, which leads to the Atlantic ocean. I often watch the tide going out or coming in. I hope to keep adding more birds to my yard list as well! Thanks for dropping by!

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  4. Makes me want to move to New England! Love the view and all the birds you are seeing.

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    1. Mia, you can always come visit me! ;-)

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  5. Kathie, you have a beautiful view of the water from your house..Great sightings of the ducks. Those squirrels are awful, it is a shame they ruined your feeder.. Great post, happy birding.

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  6. I'm in the process of getting videos up I took yesterday. Right now I'm uploading and editing and I'll pass on the links as soon as they're done. In the meantime, I got Blossom and the cats.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fm6J1No_u48

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  7. Enjoyed your photos, lovely views. I wish I was closer to the water. I am in the middle of trying to downsize but it is slow going ;)

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  8. Hi Kathie

    All the best in settling into your new home. I am sure the proximity to the ocean and the different climate and geography will lead to many new adventures.

    All the best.
    Guy

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Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.