Thursday, April 10, 2014

42 Yard Birds at Mere Point Cottage

1. Song sparrow-kab Song Sparrow 3-19-14
I saw my first Song Sparrow in the yard on march 19th. It was hiding in a bush at the corner of the house. I was returning form walking the dog when i saw it and quickly went inside to grab my camera. I could only hope the bird would still be there and it was, but the bush was so twiggy that it made it difficult to get the full body of the bird. No matter which way I maneuvered the sparrow managed to keep its face obscured by branches. I think it was so cold and hungry that it was too tired to fly away. I guess it was trying to do the old child’s game of, “if I can’t see you, then you can’t see me!” After taking a few photos I left it alone hoping it would soon find my feeders.
2. gray sky-kab Often the bird watching around here is like this, a dark silhouette against a gray sky at the very top of a tall tree. Can you guess what bird species this is?
3. chickadee at window-kab Of course, the easy birds to see are the ones that come to my window feeder!
Black-capped Chickadees are the most bold and most often to be seen on these feeders. I had to move them from the dining room windows where I first had them set up because the darned squirrels soon learned they could climb a bush at the corner, then cling to the window edge until they reached the feeders where they would scramble up and gobble up all the seed!
4. squirrel-kab It took about 2 weeks for these guys to find my feeders and we have been doing battle ever since. We are playing our own little game of, “Are You Smarter than a Gray Squirrel?” I tell you what, they are the epitome of persistence and problem solving!
5. chickadee-kab Meanwhile, the Black-capped Chickadees just make me smile!

6. fading snow-kab On March 21st the yard looked like this.
Now all the snow has melted and the yard is full of song sparrows!
7. downy-kab It took awhile for the woodpeckers to find the suet but once they did they have returned on a regular basis. I have seen both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers here so far. I am still waiting to see if Red-bellied or Pileated show up. I have not seen or heard a Red-bellied woodpecker in Maine yet this year, but I saw my first Pileated Woodpecker on Mere Point Road while driving to town this past weekend, so there is hope! I have also seen evidence of their excavations on some trees over at the boat launch.

8. noca-kab Northern Cardinals are regular yard birds.
I took this picture through the bow window on March 21st.
9. feeder-kab These feeders seem to work pretty well. I have two of these that I brought with me from Tucson which I got at the Wildbirds Unlimited on Tangue Verde Road. I wasn’t sure I would be able to find the seed cylinders here in Maine but discovered that the Freeport Wildbird Supply sells them.
10. sonsp-kab Song Sparrow in Yard 4-3-2014
Now that the weather is warming up it is much easier to go outside to photograph birds. I am going to have to learn to sit and be quiet and wait for the birds because taking pictures through these windows is practically pointless because of the distortion. I have also discovered that Song Sparrows look an awful lot like dried leaves and when the wind is blowing it is hard to tell if that’s a sparrow hopping or a leaf fluttering on the lawn! Binoculars are definitely needed!
11. cedar waxwing-kab I had my first Cedar Waxwing on March 3rd. It was only one and I haven’t seen any since. I think this is some kind of fruiting tree it was perched in but the very hungry robins devoured all the fruit long ago. I keep hoping for a Bohemian Waxwing but that is doubtful here at the coast! If this was a Bohemian Waxwing it would have rusty colored undertail coverts instead of the pale ones you see here. (Undertail coverts are the feathers underneath the bird’s tail that hide its private parts. I sometimes call them bird underpants!)
12. FOSP-kab Fox Sparrow 4-3-14
I had my first Fox Sparrow on March 31st. Since then they have been regular yard birds though their numbers have dropped from a high of 10 birds seen in one day on April 4th. Yesterday I only saw two.
13. feeder-kab I moved this bird feeder from the yew bush on the side of the house where it was hanging to the back yard where I could hang it from a limb. However, I could only reach so high and by the time I hung the chain, squirrel baffle and feeder, the feeder was about waist high. It worked for about two days, then the squirrels realized they could leap straight up and get on the feeder, so yesterday I dragged a step ladder out of the basement and climbed the steps to hang the feeder higher on the limb. It is now face high to me, which means about 5 feet off the ground. I can still fill the feeder easily and hopefully the squirrels will not be able to get on it. One good thing about moving it to this location is it is away from the side road and has more cover for the birds. Since moving the feeder over here I have been seeing more titmice and nuthatches. However, I am wondering what all of this is going to look like once everything leafs out!
Before going to Florida I had seen 16 species of birds in this yard. Since my return I have added to that total almost daily. One of my favorite yard birds right now is the American Woodcock, also known as a timberdoodle. I love this bird! It’s dawn and dusk calls and flight displays are spectacular. I cannot believe I have this bird as a yard bird! One night one landed right at the edge of the driveway as I was walking towards the house. I got to see it do its rocking walk where it takes a step and rocks back and forth, then takes another step. I read there is speculation that they do this to startle the earthworms and make they move so they can probe in the mud and eat them.  Since they are mostly active at dawn and dusk it will be hard to get a photo of them, but I have seen them during the day and it is my hope to get a picture of one someday soon!
You can see the complete Mere Point Cottage Yard List in the sidebar or click the links below for more info:
Mere Point Cottage Recent Species:
25 Canada Goose Mere Point Cottage US-ME 22 Mar 2014
26 Red-breasted Nuthatch Mere Point Cottage US-ME 22 Mar 2014
27 Brown Creeper Mere Point Cottage US-ME 22 Mar 2014
28 Turkey Vulture Mere Point Cottage US-ME 24 Mar 2014
29 Greater Scaup Mere Point Cottage US-ME 28 Mar 2014
30 Great Blue Heron Mere Point Cottage US-ME 30 Mar 2014
31 Fox Sparrow Mere Point Cottage US-ME 31 Mar 2014
32 European Starling Mere Point Cottage US-ME 31 Mar 2014
33 American Woodcock Mere Point Cottage US-ME 02 Apr 2014
34 Cedar Waxwing Mere Point Cottage US-ME 03 Apr 2014
35 Common Grackle Mere Point Cottage US-ME 03 Apr 2014
36 Purple Finch Mere Point Cottage US-ME 04 Apr 2014
37 Common Loon Mere Point Cottage US-ME 05 Apr 2014
38 Common Eider Mere Point Cottage US-ME 06 Apr 2014
39 Great Black-backed Gull Mere Point Cottage US-ME 06 Apr 2014
40 Brown-headed Cowbird Mere Point Cottage US-ME 06 Apr 2014
41 Eastern Phoebe Mere Point Cottage US-ME 07 Apr 2014
42 White-throated Sparrow Mere Point Cottage US-ME 08 Apr 2014


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  2. What a list and the spring is only starting!!

    1. Thanks Sheila! you are so right! I have already added 6 more species to this list!

  3. Oh my goodness! This is some bird professional site. I love chikadees. I drew one in the past.

    1. Ces, wow! How nice to see you again! I shall have to come and visit your chickadee!

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  5. Hello, hello, hello! So wonderful to see you again! Oh my, you have been criss-crossing the continent. Sooo busy! I'm sure you miss the warm desert, but the trees and tall grasses are nice, too. And wherever you are, it's evident that you can find dozens of feathered friends. Wow! And I thought I was pretty observant. I'm totally oblivious compared to you! You must have eagle eyes. Or perhaps you are secretly Snow White with the ability to summon animal friends. I say, that Cedar Waxwing is stunning! Fantastic photos, as always. Happy birdwatching!

    1. Bella, thank you so much! Yes, I have crissed and crossed it several times! But perhaps I am finally home! I am loving all these birds!


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.