Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birds of Ft. McClary

DSC_0206 Common Loon

On December 11, 2010 Gus and I drove to Kittery, Maine looking for places to get close to the ocean so I could see what birds were about.

DSC_0191 Fort McClary Blockhouse 12-11-10 by Kathiesbirds

As we drove along Rt. 1A we came to Fort McClary State Historic Site. We parked our car and got out. Gus had his Nikon D90 with him so I knew he would have fun photographing the scenery.  Me? I grabbed my bins and Nikon D80 with the 70-300 mm lens and went off in search of birds!

DSC_0182 However, trying to find birds in this sea of buoys was not easy!


These photos are admittedly horrible but are presented here only as proof that I did see Long-tailed Ducks, Life Bird # 390 for me! They also illustrate how far out the bird were from land, for even with my lens zoomed out as far as possible they are but specs in the frame. Then, I still had to crop and enlarge the shots at home on the computer. Another thing I need to learn is how to shoot photographs in such a reflective environment! In the shot below you can actually see the long tail of the male sticking out behind him in a thin black line.

DSC_0257 Long-tailed Ducks


Scoter Silhouette

DSC_0207 Common Loon

DSC_0186 Abandoned Granite Blocks
(I found a Carolina Wren and a Dark-eyed Junco here)

Birds Seen at Fort McClary State Park 12-11-2010:
Location: Fort McClary State Park
Observation date: 12/11/10
Notes: Saw a large, gray raptor and 3 little finch-like birds fly out of the woods when some tourists walked up onto the path. Might possibly have been a Northern Goshawk but I only say its belly and tail as it flew away from me. I tried to follow it into the woods but could not locate it for a positive i.d.
Number of species: 11

Surf Scoter 2
Long-tailed Duck 4*
Bufflehead 3
Hooded Merganser 2
Red-breasted Merganser 4
Common Loon 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
American Crow 8
Carolina Wren 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
Dark-eyed Junco 1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org/)

* Life Bird!

Fort McClary 12-11-10


  1. Thanks for the interesting info about the Fort.
    I have the same problem with my 70-300 and long distance shots over water ... if you get any tips then pleae share them.
    Super shot of the Loon.

  2. I would love to see a male long-tailed duck. I saw a female once, so far away that I could barely make it out on a photo that I took. Still I added it to my life list, but it didn't feel quite right.
    I used to own a Nikon 70-300 lens but finally got so frustrated by the many misses that I sold it on ebay and bought a Sigma 150-500 lens which I love. Still getting good shots on birds on water is a challenge. I don't have any tips on that.

  3. That first picture of the loon really cracks me up!! Long-tailed ducks, aren't they pretty little things? For me, taking pictures of the birds on the water is hit or miss. Your life list is impressive! You are about 100 up on me! ~karen

  4. It's always wonderful to find a new Life Bird! I like looking at the photos, those birds certainly don't seem to want to be photographed, apart from the loon which seems to be posing for the camera!

  5. Frank, if I learn anything I will certainly share it but most of this is due to the limits of distance. I suppose a tri-pod would help but other than that I suppose I would need to learn to digiscope!

    Hilke, wouldn't a lens that large be difficult to carry around and hold still by ourself? I like my 70-300mm lens because I can easily carry it with me and it has Vibration Reduction. For most things I find it suits me just fine. Shooting photographs out over the ocean is a whole new challenge for me. However, I bet that 500mm lets you get fantastic close-ups! I have seen the long-tailed ducks both in Maine and at Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts. It was thrilling each time!

    KaHolly, I was so excited when I first saw these ducks. It is always fun to add a new species to your life list! Living in so many places and travelling has certainy helped me see so many species of birds!

    Crafty Green Poet, that was my frist time witnessing the loons engaging in that behavior. I got several shots of them doing this.

  6. Congrats on 390 Kathie! WOW! I would love to see those loon & ducks. Looks like a beautiful historical area. Good photos. I enjoyed Gusto's photography as well of Ft. McClary (previous). The "Homes & docks along the shoreline" photo is GORGEOUS!

  7. I have been there, but not in the winter. Stark isn't it?
    Late afternoon is when I have problems with the water glare. I guess I should read up on what to do, too.

  8. Donna, I was so glad to see them and I have added 2 other species since then!

    Sandy, stark, yet beautiful. It was awfully quiet, save for the tourists and the wind.

  9. Beautiful photos of Maine! Yup, it's probably buried in snow now. I'd never seen a long tailed duck before. Wow! And that common loon photo is great. Nice pose on the guy. :)

  10. I am so glad you are in our corner of the country now. This place looks interesting. The birds are gorgeous.

  11. What wonderful photos, looks like a special place. I loved the loon coming up in the water, too cute!

    Hugs, G

  12. Sandy, I am glad for now also and I hope I get to meet you while I am here.

    Geraldine, thank you so much! I like the loon too!

  13. Such a different kind of landscape where you are now. My brother would love those granite blocks just sitting around. He's a stone carver. Great shot of the loon. Hope you are well.

  14. Quiet Paths, some days are better than others, but I am doing fine at the moment. I will do better when I can be outside more. I just need to be outside! And I need me some sunshine and some birds!

    p.s. I loved those granite blocks too!


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.