Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Sunday Storm and the Birds I Saw

3-30-14 the cove at Mere Point Boat Launch The Cove at Mere Point Boat Launch 3-30-14

I fell asleep last night listening to the sound of rain. This morning the deluge continued as I snuggled into my warm bed. When I finally got up the gray day was waiting for me with rain pelting the windows and soaking the already saturated ground. Still, the birds were at my feeder, clinging for dear life as they picked at the seed in the constant rain. By noontime the rain tapered off to a drizzle, then finally stopped all together.

I’ve noticed a change in the yard with the arrival of song sparrows. I was thrilled to see just one last week. Now I am seeing three to four every day! While sitting on the couch watching TV with Gus this afternoon I saw a Great Blue Heron glide overhead towards the bay. I grabbed my binoculars in excitement as I watch the bird disappear over the treetops. It was the first heron I have seen here in Maine since moving back and a nice addition to my yard list. I spent the whole day inside, except for a brief foray earlier to refill a couple feeders. Now I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed to be outside, so I bundled up in my parka, knit headband, hood and gloves. I put my binocular harness over everything and headed out the door.

The first thing I notice is the singing of the birds. Though the skies are still ominously gray and the wind is blowing, the birds are singing! Song Sparrows and finches fill the air with their songs. Even the Mourning Doves are cooing. Gingerly I dodge the wet spots and mud on the saturated lawn as I make my way towards the road and step out onto the pavement. It is a short walk across the street to the boat launch. I hear the roar of wind in the pines as I try to listen for birds. I hear the cry of a blue jay as I start down the road towards the launch. Then the ever present crows sound the alarm. Someone is coming!

I am alert on every level. I am looking and listening and trying to feel this new place. Water is trickling and melting and dripping off everything. Though evergreens of various sorts lend some color to the landscape, all the deciduous trees and bushes are still naked and brown. While a few of them have red twigs, and there are a few white birches for contrast, still, in this gray light, it’s mostly a monochromatic world punctuated with the incessant road of wind in the treetops. As I am scanning the trees and sky, suddenly a chunky bird flies up from the ground at the edge of the road and disappears into the twig-filled woodland. I see the cinnamon rump of the bird and the long bill that only moments before was probing in the mud. My heart skips a beat and my breath catches in my throat. An American woodcock! I just saw an American woodcock! I search the wet and muddy woods to see if I can find the bird again, but it has disappeared into the thicket and gone far beyond my sight. I continue on my way downhill towards the bay, scanning the sky and treetops once again.

Some sparrow-like birds dart across the road now and as I emerge from the tree line and into the open I feel the full force of the wind. Though it buffets me relentlessly, I block it out and focus on my surrounding and my search for birds. To my right there is a vast thicket with a few scattered trees poking out against the sky. It is in this area that I often see the most small birds. I hear the feeble call of a White-throated sparrow. This one must either be a young bird just learning its song, or an adult just warming up to the task, for it is not a full-throated song, but week and uncertain. Still, I can hear that distinctive pattern of, Oh SWEET Canada, Canada, Canada,” as it rings out to compete with the wind. Overhead the white eyes of Common Grackles peer down at me from their blue-black faces as they cling desperately to the branches of the swaying trees. Red-winged blackbirds are singing and calling from deep in the thicket but soon a dozen or more fly up the brush to take a look at me with the grackles! Overhead I see Herring Gulls circling silently and riding the wind without a flap of their wings. Then a cheerful little chickadee darts across my path as if to welcome me with its “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” call.

3-30-14 Boat Ramp at Mere Point Boat Launch Looking southeast towards the bay 3-30-14

The boat launch is still farther downhill. The wind grows stronger with each step I take. I scan the tossing waves for birds. I spot a black-plumaged Surf Scoter with its orange and white harlequin bill as it rides the waves, then dives below the surface only to emerge once again. Off to the left I scan the little cove for peeps, but there are none here yet and I wonder if there will ever be. The tide is out now and the grass-cover rocks are brightly colored orange for now. I do not know enough about ocean ecology yet to know what kind of grass this is or if this is a winter color or not. Will this grass turn green as the weather warms? I am eager to find out as I watch the changing of the seasons in this new place.

Just beyond the rocky cove I spot a pair of Red-breasted mergansers feeding along the shore. It is not often that I get to see them this close. The male is in full breeding plumage with his spiky crest on his dark head and his handsome black back set off by crisp white flanks. The female floating nearby has a cinnamon brown head, also with a shaggy crest, and a gray body. She quickly slips beneath the waves only to pop up again a few moments later and a bit farther away. Both have the thin serrated bills that give them their other common name of “sawbills.”

Gulls continue to swoop overhead. One lands nearby after it dropped a clam on the rocks to crack it open. A crow looks blacker than black as it probes among the orange sea grass looking for crabs on these same rocks. Farther out in the deeper part of the bay I finally find a Common Loon. I am both freezing cold and invigorated by this wind and weather. I am so amazed by the fact that I live here! As the cold starts to seep into my inner core and I decide I really must go home I turn to see a large black bird out on the mudflats of the cove. At first glance I am wondering if it is a cormorant perched on a rock, but with a quick look through my bins I almost burst out laughing when I realize that I am looking at a wild turkey picking its way through the mud! Who knew turkeys were sea faring birds! Well, at least this one seems to like sea food! I start to walk closer to the edge of the boat ramp hoping to maybe snap a photo with my cell camera, but the turkey spots my movement and bolts for the backyard of a house just beyond the edge of the cove and through the trees.

As I turn to walk back uphill it seems the wind is pushing me along. Though I keep on looking as I walk the short distance up to the main road and cross the street to my little cottage I do not see any new birds to add to the list for today. Still, I am so glad I got out of the house and walked over. Though I know the boat launch does not belong to me, I already feel a sense of possessiveness about it, as if it does belong to me in some small way. I have already observed so many changes here in my short time and I am eager to see what awaits me as the weather warms. I keep shaking my head with how different this is from any other place I have lived. I feel thankful to have this opportunity to learn what life on the coast of Maine is really like! Last night as Gus and I were driving home from dinner with some relatives we encountered White-tailed Deer, a Red Fox and a Raccoon all along the road. We have already learned to drive very slowly on the road at night, for we have seen the deer more than once after dark, and last week a Gray Fox trotted though my own backyard at dusk! I think I am really going to like it here in my new little cottage in Maine.

My eBird Stats as of March 30, 2014:

  • Life Birds-468 species
  • Year Birds-220 species
  • Month of March-122 species
  • Maine Life List-122 species
  • Maine 2014 Year List-54 species
  • Cumberland County Life List-74 species
  • Mere Point Patch Life List-43 species
  • Mere Point Boat Launch-31 species
  • Mere Point Cottage Life List-30 species

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Birds at the Ball Field

1. monks-kab Monk Parakeets at the Pelican Baseball Fields in Cape Coral, FL 3-4-14

While on vacation in Florida I had seen on eBird that there were Monk Parakeets being seen on a regular basis at a Place called Pelican Blvd. Baseball Fields in Cape Coral, Florida. Since I had only seen Monk Parakeets one time before at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY, I really wanted to see them again and get them on my Florida Life List. After yet another futile attempt at finding the Florida Scrub Jay I drove to Pelican Baseball Fields as I tried to decide where to go birding on this one full day when I had a car available to me.

2. parakeet nest-kab As soon as I parked the car and opened the door I could hear these birds. They are so noisy! Apparently they like to talk to each other because they kept up a constant conversation. There are four different ball fields here at the park with several of these lighting towers and in several of the lighting towers there were Monk Parakeet nests.

3. nesting-kab I was impressed by their size and their construction.


4. monk nest-kab This is a different nest from the one picture in the first 3 photos.


5. debris-kab I was NOT impressed to see all the trash woven in, however.

The birds, of course, are excellent weaver, but it was sad to see garbage in the nests. However, I did get to see one parakeet flying with yet another stick to add to the nest. I was very impressed with their ability to fly with such large and awkward objects! The day was already getting quite warm, so I was standing in the shade of a tree near the parking lot when this cute bird flew over to investigate me!

6. monk parakeet-kab Hello sweetie!

But Monk parakeets were not the only birds on the Ball Field! This was quite the noisy place as Fish Crows cried their nasal cries, grackles raised a hullaballoo, and Osprey screamed overhead.

7. osprey-kab I first saw one fly by with part of a fish in its talons.

At first I feared it was a parakeet!

8. perch-kab Then it landed on a lighting tower to consume its breakfast.


9. fly-kab But then another osprey flew in!


10. look out-kab It chose a different tower to land on.


11. in flight-kab Soon there was yet another! I saw three osprey!

I noticed there were no Monk Parakeet nests in the lighting towers the osprey use, but one of the towers had an osprey nest on it. I don’t know why I did not take a picture of that!

12. osprey pair-kab I was finally able to get at least two of the osprey in flight together.

Meanwhile, on the ball field there were gulls galore walking around and eating something off the ground. All four ball fields had Ring-bills, Laughing, and Herring Gulls. This was the only place in Cape Coral where I saw Herring Gulls. What surprised me though was that after being there for about a half an hour all of a sudden it was like someone said, “let’s blow this clambake,” for in one moment all the gulls lifted off, circled over head a few times and flew away! If I had arrived here at this time I would never have even seen a gull on the field!

These are the birds I saw at the Pelican Blvd Baseball Fields on March 4, 2014:

  1. Turkey Vulture, 8
  2. Osprey, 3
  3. Laughing Gull, 5
  4. Ring-billed Gull, 46
  5. Herring Gull, 2
  6. Eurasian Collared-dove, 4
  7. Monk Parakeet, 8
  8. Loggerhead Shrike, 1
  9. Blue Jay, 2
  10. Fish crow, 10
  11. European starling, 4
  12. Palm Warbler, 10
  13. Red-winged Blackbird, 2
  14. Common Grackle, 4
  15. Boat-tailed Grackle, 2

Notes: Sunny, 72F. I counted birds for 35 minutes.

13. laughing gull-kab Laughing Gull at Pelican Blvd Baseball Field

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Florida Scrub Jay Day

1. FL scrub jay-kab Florida Scrub Jay, Oscar Scherer State Park 3-4-14

Within two weeks of moving from Tucson to Maine I was in Florida with my mother visiting my brother. Though I had been to Florida twice before, it was all before I became an eBirder, so I was looking forward to getting there and actually documenting the birds I saw this time. Though I left my birding buddy, Chris Rohrer behind in Tucson, we still communicated via Facebook and text messages and frequent talks on the phone. When Chris heard I was going to Florida he impressed on me the importance of finding the Florida Scrub Jay, since it is a threatened species. After 18 months of birding with me, Chris knows that I am more of a relaxed birder, while he has learned to chase the specialty birds down and let the other more common species fall into place. With that in mind, I set out to find the Florida Scrub Jay.

3. palm warbler-kab Palm Warbler at the scrub jay spot.

It turns out that one of the locations the Florida Scrub Jay is found was only 3.2 miles from my brother’s house. Within two days of being there, he let me borrow his car and drive over to find the scrub jay. I followed my GPS to the exact location and started searching. The spot is an open and undeveloped field with deteriorating roads that were laid out but no homes were every built. I drove the perimeter, then parked and walked. I scanned trees and scrub. I saw Eastern Meadowlarks everywhere. I found Loggerhead Shrikes, Burrowing owls, Yellow-rumped warblers and Palm Warblers.

2. eastern towhee-kabEastern Towhee at the scrub jay spot in Cape Coral 3-4-14

Though I went back time after time and spent an hour or more there each time, I never found a scrub jay. For the most part I was dependent on the use of my brother’s car which I found very frustrating as he was trying to sell his house and we would all have to pile in it and take off whenever there was a showing. I finally smartened up and found out I could rent a car relatively inexpensively, so I rented one for two days. On the morning of March 4th I drove to the Scrub jay spot one last time as I tried to decide where I wanted to bird today. I parked the car and walked the perimeter of a scrubby area once again. I found an Eastern Towhee, but no scrub jays. All the while I could hear Chris Rohrer’s voice in my head, “If you don’t see this bird now, you may never get to see it! It might go extinct, ‘cause people are stupid and they keep destroying the habitat!” What was I to do?

DSC_0004 Monk Parakeets nesting at the Pelican Baseball Field in Cape Coral, FL

While I tried to make up my mind, I drove to another location in Cape Coral to find some resident Monk Parakeets (blogpost with more pics to follow). While there I received a message from Mia McPherson of On the Wing Photography about Oscar Scherer State Park, a well known location for finding the jay. I had debated about driving back out to Ding Darling or over to Corkscrew Swamp, but with Mia’s urging I decided to jump in the car and “find that jay!” I now had Mia’s voice in my head as well. Oscar Scherer State Park was about an hour and half north of Cape Coral, so I jumped in the car and headed north. Once at the park I was told the best place to find the scrub jay was on the Green Tail. I quickly parked the car, loaded myself up with water and birding gear and headed down the trail which is hidden behind the visitor’s center near Osprey Lake.

4. green trail at oscer scherer state park-kab By now it was afternoon. The warm sun blazed down on me, but with a slight breeze it was comfortable.

5. florida scrub jay habitat-kab The trail led out through Florida scrub growing out of a soft silvery sand, perfect scrub jay habitat. I saw a few Northern Cardinals and a Mockingbird. I found Gray Catbirds and yellow-rumped warblers.

6. the trail-kab I walked and watched and listened for birds.


7. swallowtail kite-kab I was amazed when a Swallow-tailed Kite sailed over the trees!

It was a *Life Bird for me! Already I felt like this trip was worth it, but would I ever find those jays? I had seen no sign of them yet.

8. puffy clouds-kab Puffy clouds built on the horizon.


9. scanning the trees-kab I continued around the field searching everywhere for motion.


10. Nofl-kab I followed the flight of a bird into a nearby tree, but it turned out to be a Northern Flicker, one of my favorite species, and though I was happy to see it, it still was not my desired scrub jay. The blazing sun was cooking my exposed skin. I found some shade and took a sip of my water. I was more than halfway around the trail now and losing hope. I tried to console myself with the fact that at least I saw the kite. Then, I started plodding along in the soft, silver sand back toward the visitor’s center and the parking lot when suddenly…What was that?

So many of these trees were dripping with Spanish moss and flaking bark. It was so easy to think you saw a bird where there was none, but take a closer look at the photo below.

11. what-kab Do you see the bird on a branch?


12. silhouette-kab My breath caught in my throat as I realized that I was seeing the distinct silhouette of a scrub jay! I started snapping away, hoping to get at least some kind of proof that I actually saw the bird. The bird was extremely backlit, which made photography difficult, so I slowly tried to maneuver into a better lighting situation.

13. fl scrub jay-kab I finally got to a spot where I could at least see some color, but it was bright and dazzling daylight and the bird was still so far away in the middle of the scrubby field. Would this be my best look at it? Suddenly the bird flew directly toward me and landed on a branch right over my head, about 12 feet away! I could not believe it as I tried to contain my excitement and snap pictures.

14. close-up jay-kab Florida Scrub Jay 3-4-14

I switched back and forth between camera and bins, not wanting to miss a shot, yet wanting to just observe this bird in its natural habitat. I had come so far and worked so hard for this bird. When the jay landed on the tree in front of me, I also heard a sound behind me. I did not dare turn around for fear of missing the jay in front, but after a few minutes I slowly turned my head and looked over my shoulder. OH my goodness! There on the ground behind me and only a foot away was another scrub jay! I slowly slid my hand into my pocket and removed my cell phone. After turning it on, I was able to open my camera app and snap a few pictures of the jay with my cell phone!

15. Florida Scrub jay cell phone pic-kab Cell phone picture of the second Florida Scrub Jay 3-4-14

As I stood there slack-jawed in awe the birds suddenly flew off to explore a different location. It was then that I became overwhelmed and burst into tears. At first it was from the relief and joy of seeing this marvelous and endangered bird species. Then I realized that I was also crying because Chris Rohrer was not with me. Over the past 18 months we had shared so many birding adventures and had been together on so many Life Bird sightings. When I left Tucson everything was so hectic and crazy, I did not cry when I said good-bye, but this is how I am, and I knew it would sneak up on me at some later date when all the stress was over. Now it hit me like a ton of bricks and I walked back down the trail sobbing. Thankfully there was no one out there but the birds to hear me, so I just let the tears come. I find it is best to just let your emotions out, rather than hold them in, especially if you are by yourself and there is no one to see it! I quickly posted my finding to my Facebook page so Mia and others would know I had been successful. Then I walked back with both joy and sorrow in my heart.

16. osprey lake-kab Back at the visitor’s center I walked by osprey lake. I hoped to see some kind of ducks or shore birds, but no luck, and though this looks like an inviting swimming hole…

17. no thanks-kab …you will not find me swimming here anytime soon!

In celebration of spotting the Florida Scrub Jay, I did buy myself a Florida Scrub Jay Sweatshirt from the Visitor’s Center as well as a cup of Butter Pecan ice cream which I took and ate while sitting at a picnic table where I watched for more birds! Before long I had to go, since I needed to pick my mother up from a friend's house in Fort Myers. The sun had baked me skin while on the trail, so the air-conditioning and shade of the car felt so good. While I was still in Florida I learned that Chris had bought tickets to visit a friend of his in Cape Coral who had wanted him to visit for the longest time. He would be arriving about 2 weeks after I left. I was so excited for him and started giving him tips about where to bird. While I would be there a total of two weeks, he would only be there for one. But, he would have a car available to him for the entire time. Would he beat my record? On March 20th, the day after his arrival, Chris drove to the same Scrub Jay spot that I had visited in Cape Coral so many times. He soon texted me this photo below…

18. Chris with jay march 20-chris photo Florida Scrub Jay on Chris Rohrer’s head! 3-20-14

See that vast open area behind him? I was there three different times at three different times of day without success! How did he get so lucky? This picture cracks me up! All I can do is shake my head. Chris has far out grown me and has become an expert birder. He probably won’t tell you this, but he is now #10 on the eBird Top 100 in the Country! I am so proud of him! Thank you Mia for telling me about Oscar Scherer State Park, and thank you Chris for urging me to find this bird! You will always be my friend.

19. Chris 3-20-14 FL scrub jay photo Yes, he got it to land on his hand as well!

Here is the list of species I saw at Oscar Scherer State Park in Florida:

  1. Anhinga, 2
  2. Great Blue heron, 1
  3. White Ibis, 8
  4. Black Vulture, 1
  5. Turkey Vulture, 8
  6. Osprey, 1
  7. *Swallow-tailed Kite, 1
  8. Bald Eagle, 2
  9. Mourning Dove, 2
  10. Red-bellied Woodpecker, 1
  11. Northern Flicker, 2
  12. Blue Jay, 2
  13. *Florida Scrub Jay, 2
  14. Purple Martin, 1
  15. Gray Catbird, 4
  16. Northern Mockingbird, 1
  17. Yellow-rumped warbler, 4
  18. Northern Cardinal, 3

*Life Birds –the first time I have ever seen these species.

(I counted birds for an hour and 35 minutes over a 2 mile loop trail starting at 12:37 PM.)

20. my fl scrub jay-kab My Florida Scrub Jay at Oscar Scherer State Park 3-4-14

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Few of Florida’s Other Creatures

1. butterfly-kabZebra Longwing Butterfly at Yellow Fever Creek Preserve 3-5-14

(Zebra Longwing is the Florida State butterfly!)

2. gopher turtle-kab Gopher Turtle in North Fort Myers 3-5-14

We saw this turtle on a back road while on our drive home from dropping my rental car off.

3. frog on pool cover-kab Cuban Tree Frog on my brother’s pool cover 3-6-14


4. brother to the rescue-kab My brother, Stephen, rescuing the frog.

(These frogs release a toxin through their skin and so it is not wise to pick them up with your bare hands.)

5. frog-kab Free at last! Outside the pool cage and into the wide world. Be safe little froggy!

Notes from My Nest: We’ve had some brutally cold days here for the past two days with morning lows of 9 and 5 degrees! Today a nor’easter is headed our way and only time will tell if we will be hit or not. It depends on the storm’s final track. I’ve added a couple of new Yard Birds with Song Sparrows showing up almost everyday since I first spotted one a few days ago. I’ve also added Red-breasted Nuthatch and Turkey Vulture to the Mere Point Cottage Yard List. Last week I had a lone Red-winged Blackbird show up, and now I am seeing this species every day at the Mere Point Boat Launch along with Common Grackles, though the grackles have not visited my yard as of yet. When I stopped at the boat launch last night on my way home from town I also added Black Duck, Common Eider and White-throated Sparrow to the list of species seen at that location. The unpacking continues as I try to unpack and shelve all my books. Some of these books have not see the light of day in years. Gus bought us 5 new bookcases when we moved in here just so I could unpack them all. I will let you know how THAT goes! Right now my great room is a mess again!

Many Thanks to Doug Taron of Gossamer Tapestry for identifying the Zebra Longwing butterfly and Celeste Troon of Celestial Ramblings for Identifying the Cuban Tree Frog for me!

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