Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Birding with KaHolly

1. Karen and Hollis-kab Sisters Karen and Hollis 5-9-14

May 9, 2014: One of the benefits of blogging is getting to know and sometimes getting to meet other bloggers. I have known Karen, a.k.a. “KaHolly,” through her blog since 2010 or longer. We talked about meeting each other when I lived in Andover, but it just never worked out. Now this year as Karen made her way from Texas to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia we were finally able to make that happen. Arrangements were made for us to meet at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, Maine. Karen has a brother-in-law named Don Smith who is a very good birder and eBirder. Don’s job keeps him quite busy, but, like me, he loves to bird and he was missing it. None of us knew each other and so we all wondered how good the other birder would be, of if we would get along or even like each other. But, life is short and I like to bird, so what the heck, I gave it a chance. Plus, I had the chance of finding new places to bird and maybe, just maybe, I would find a Life Bird!

2. cormorant-kab Double-crested Cormorant

The air was cool and damp with gray skies threatening rain when I met Karen, Hollis and Don at the entrance to Greenwood Cemetery. Being new around here, I am still getting to know the good birding spots. After introductions and hugs we all got back into our cars and I followed them to the birding spot. We drove past gravestones tall, thick and strong, stones arranged in rows, each one its own story of a life lived and now gone. If their spirits can see us now, I wonder what they are thinking about all these crazy birders walking around their graves! For I quickly discovered that we are not the only ones tromping around looking for birds. Car are parked all over the place and people with binoculars, cameras, and big lenses were everywhere! Don was out of the car and down the path before I knew he was gone. I had to get my gear on, and with the morning’s chill, I still needed gloves to keep my hands warm. Karen, Hollis and I followed a path alongside a small pond. A double-crested cormorant relaxed on the trunk of a fallen tree. Overhead, the woodland trees seemed to drip with warblers. They were everywhere!

3. blackburnian-kab Even in the misty gray light the throat of a Blackburnian Warbler seems to glow!

Northern Parulas called from the woods. Palm Warblers hopped about from branch to branch. Black-throated Green warblers sang their4. NOPA, “zee, zee, zoo, zee” song, or, as Karen liked to say, they called out, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5!” I soon learned that Hollis knows all about the forest flora and she pointed out various flowers and plants to us as we walked down the trail. As we walked and chatted I felt an easy grace with these two women. I felt that I had once again found others who share my love of nature and understand her voice. Not only do they understand it, they need it for their own inner healing and sanity.

5. solitary sandpiper-kab Solitary Sandpiper

As we round the tip of the pond and everyone is looking up in the treetops for birds I suddenly notice the rippling of the water as a small bird wades through the shallow depths. It is a Solitary Sandpiper and I point it out to the others, including Don. They seem surprised and pleased to not only see the bird, but impressed that I know what it is. Warbler after warbler flits about us and I try to photograph them when I can. The light is low, the sky is gray, and the birds really do flit around. They are rarely motionless or posing for the camera. Hungry from their long journey and with may more miles to fly, they are gobbling up every insect they can find with little thought for us mere humans below.

6. Palm Warbler-kab Palm Warbler


7. blackandwhite warbler-kab Black-and-white Warbler


8. least flycatcher-kab Besides all the warblers we did find this cute little Least Flycatcher high on a twig!


9. tuti-kab Tufted Titmouse

Though I have seen them all winter in my yard, I am always happy to see a Tufted Titmouse! Karen and Hollis lead me down another path through the woods where we find Trout Lilies. Of course, I had to ask Hollis what they are called. I know my birds better than my woodland flowers. By now Karen and Don have gone ahead and Hollis and I are having a lively  and interesting chat!

10. trout lily-kab Trout Lilies

Suddenly I find a wood sprite walking on a log!

11. wood nymph-kab It matters not her age, she is still a child of the woods!


12. woodland flowers-kab Hollis told me the name of this flower, but I do not remember it!

(Update 6-19-14: It’s a Fly Honeysuckle. Thanks Karen!)


13. flowering tree-kab Everything was in its new and tender stage back at the beginning of May.

After spending almost two hours at Evergreen Cemetery we counted 23 species before moving on to Capasic Pond.  And orchard oriole had been spotted there and we were hoping to see it for ourselves. I had only seen this species twice before and never in Maine, so I was eager to see one here! When we parked the car some of the first birds we saw were various Blackbirds. Then, we found yet another Palm Warbler.

14. palm warbler-kab Palm Warbler in a Fir Tree

Farther down the trail I found this little empid who has yet to be identified!

15. empid-kab Unknown empid at Capisic Pond 5-9-14

We met others who had seen the orchard oriole but as yet, we had not seen it. We walked the trail along the pond and wetlands to its end, then turned back. As we neared the beginning of the trail, suddenly we saw it! There on the ground was the orchard oriole! and nearby on a low bush was its mate! However, this was the first day my camera started acting up and my lens would not focus! I tired and tried again, and finally got a shot that shows its darker rust colored body and the full black hood and back of this smaller oriole.

16. orchard oriole-kab Orchard Oriole at Capisic Pond 5-9-14

Not to be outdone, the Baltimore Oriole soon put in an appearance as well!

17. BAOR-kab Notice the brighter and more extensive orange of the Baltimore Oriole!

However, not to be outdone, a chestnut-sided warbler soon caught our attention in the underbrush! I quickly learned his song of, “pleased, pleased, pleased to meet-you,” and now here it in my own yard every day!

18. CSWA-kab 

19. cswa-kab Chestnut-sided Warbler at Capasic Pond in Portland, Maine 5-9-2014

We spent and hour and 20 minutes at Capasic pond and saw 28 species of birds. Now, under threatening skies we drove to the Scarborough Marsh. While I knew it was an eBird Hotspot, I had never been here yet and I was quite eager to see it and find out where to park and where to bird. Plus, there was the potential for a new Life Bird for me, and a rare one at that; a Northern Wheatear! It’s so unusual that I didn’t even know what it looks like! I had to look it up! The skies are now a cold and threatening gray as we park our cars and add more layers of clothing and coats! A stiff wind is blowing in off the ocean and right through our bones, I swear! I follow Don, Karen and Hollis across a bridge and down a sort of dike between the open bay and the marsh. We soon come to a spot where various birders are gathered with spotting scopes and cameras gazing out at this:

20. where is the bird-kab Can you find the bird in here?

It’s there I promise you, but this is what we were faced with. Most people could only find the bird when it flew and alighted again. It is the color of that dried grass and so small and far away.

21. northern wheatear-kab Close-up of the Northern Wheatear, Life Bird Number 469!

Though it was cold and the bird quite far away I did get a good look through someone’s scope and I was quite excited to add it to my Life List! Beside the Wheatear, we did see a few other species.

21. yellowlegs-kab Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs


22. savannah sparrow-kab Savannah Sparrow


23. tree swallows-kab Tree Swallows (We did see a few Barn Swallows as well)


24. willet-kab Wading Willet

We saw several of these and they were my first Willets in Maine!

I had such a good time with Karen, Hollis and her husband, Don. I do hope I will get to go birding with them again. I fell like I met some kindred spirits on  this day.

Helpful Links:

25. yellowlegs-kab Yellowlegs at the edge of the marsh.


  1. First of all, thank you so much for such a delightful post highlighting our day together. It was tons of fun and I look forward to doing it again! Secondly, that plant is a Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis). I'll have to go back to check my trip list. I think I forgot the Blacburnian Warbler! I've been waiting to check my list against yours. (Now I just have to find it!! I have bird lists tucked everywhere!) Hope you're having a wonderful week. xo, karen

    1. Karen, thanks for the info on the flower. yes, we did have so much fun. If you want me to email you my trip lists, let me know. I am having a wonderful week. I like living here! {hugs}

  2. What a great collection of birds and photos. And a great day birding with Karen! Wonderful post and report. Happy Birding!

    1. Eileen, it was such an awesome day! I was so glad to meet Karen and so glad they invited me to go birding with them!

  3. What a great day! Love the little chestnut sided!

    1. Kathryn, would you believe I have them in my yard! I think they are now one of my favorite warblers!

  4. Beautiful birds, the chestnut sided warbler is a knockout!

    1. Gillian, thank you! And I agree with you about the chestnut-sided warbler!

  5. Hi Kathie....Great post I enjoyed revisiting all those adorable warbler again through your lens !!
    I do hope that it works out for me to meet up with Karen hopefully in the fall as she migrates south again haha!!
    So glad you all had a fun day of birding !!


    1. Grace, I know she really wanted to meet you are well. I do hope it works out next time!

  6. Hi Kathie. Karen is one of my oldest followers so I was aware of your get together. You obviously had a blast and nice to see you caught up with the Northern Wheatear, if a bit distantly.

    1. Frank, it's it nice how we can all connect with one another! Thanks for dropping by! Hopefully one day I will get a better view of a wheatear!

  7. Hi Katie How wonderful to meet fellow blogging birders and it seems you all had both great fun but excellent birds found. Wonderful to find a lifer and I did see it in your first photograph but then we have it here in the summer time.

    1. Margaret, yes, it was such fun to meet her and her family. We had a great time!

  8. What a beautiful area:) This KaHolly team looks like a lot of fun:) Perhaps someday we will cross paths.

    1. If you don't see her here, perhaps you can meet up when she is in Texas! I know you need to go birding there!

  9. Wow Kathie, wonderful post, photos, and bird!

    1. Thanks Laurence! I see that you have been getting around as well!


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.