Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Birds in Grammie G’s Yard

1. Roe-breasted grosbeak-kab Rose-breasted Grosbeak on the deck 6-10-14

June 10, 2014: Long before Chris Rohrer arrived for Our Big New England Birding Adventure I went to meet and visit a fellow blogger over in Androscoggin County, Maine. I had known Grace from her blog, Grammie’s Ramblings for a few years. Having lived in Androscoggin County before myself, I knew it was an under-birded locale and I always encouraged her in her eBirding. Grace is now one of the top two eBirders in that county! The information she supplies to eBird is invaluable in my opinion since so few people eBird there. I was looking forward to meeting this legendary eBirder and seeing her yard birds!

2. honeysuckle-kab I walked past fragrant honeysuckle in bloom on my way to the car.

In twenty minutes I was at her house. Or…it would have been 20 minutes if I hadn’t stopped to buy donuts at Tim Horton’s In Topsham! I don’t think Grace had any complaints about that! She put on a pot of coffee and we sat down at her table to chat. And of course, we started talking about birds! Right near the table was a sliding glass door that opened onto her deck. Across the deck she had a wire strung, and from that wire dangled numerous bird feeders. Purple Finches and woodpeckers clung to the feeders. Swallows swooped through the yard. Grace and I watched birds, sipped coffee, and munched on Boston Cream donuts! Yum! While we were chatting about all the birds we were seeing, one of us asked if the other had seen any cuckoos. I was just telling her about seeing the Black-billed cuckoo in my yard when Grace suddenly got up to look out a different window. She called me over to take a look. Right now Grace only has her camera to use, but I had both camera and binoculars. I quickly stood up to look out the window and focused on the arbor in her backyard.

3. what bird-kab Was it a bird…or a stick?

Looks like a bird to me…

Oh My goodness! it was a Black-billed Cuckoo!

4. black-billed cuckcoo-kab While I had seen the Black-billed cuckoo before, it was a Life Bird for Grace!

It was also a new Yard Bird and a new species in Androscoggin county. For me, this is my first ever photo of one, even though I have seen them a few times before! What a great way to start off the day!

5. RBGR-kab Of course, I could not resist taking another photo of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak! Most of these pictures were shot through the windows of her house. I am amazed at how they came out, since I have had a terrible time photographing through my own wavy windows!

7. bird in there-kab Yes, there is a bird in there somewhere!

It was a lovely cool and gray day.

8. turkeys-kab Then a pair of wild turkey wandered into her yard with courtship on their minds!


9. RBGR-kab When a bird shows you its heart you have to take a shot!

Yes, this is the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak again!

Then Grace asked me about seeing an American Tree Sparrow that was still hanging around her yard. Tree sparrows are suppose to be far up in Canada right now breeding in the boreal forest, so what was one still doing here? Finally the bird in question showed up.

DSC_0114 First I saw this…

…then this…

DSC_0115 Do you know what species of sparrow this is?

It’s not a Tree Sparrow…

10. Field sparrow-kab It’s a Field Sparrow!

While both Tree Sparrows and Field Sparrows have a rusty cap like a Chipping sparrow, the Tree Sparrow has a central breast spot and a bi-colored bill. That means it’s top mandible is dark while the lower mandible is lighter. This sparrow has a pinkish bill and no breast spot. Both species have an un-streaked breast. Field Sparrows belong here in summer. American Tree Sparrows belong here in winter. I believe this was a Life Bird for Grace as well! I know is was a new yard bird for her! it was also my first Field Sparrow in Maine and my First of the Year for this species! If you look at the Maine bar charts for this species you will discover they are not found in too many locations. Grace has one of the only records in Androscoggin County! While there are many fields down near the coast where I live, I have yet to see or hear a field sparrow in my neck of the woods! And believe me, i have looked and listened for them!

11. phoebe chicks-kab Of course, it is nesting time and we did see these sweet Eastern Phoebe chicks in their snug nest under the eaves of her garage! We passed them as we went out to take a walk along her county road.

12. catbird chick-kab We spotted a fledgling catbird in a hedgerow alongside the road.


13. chestnut sided warbler-kab Across the street a chestnut-sided warbler belted out its spring song!

It sang that it was pleased to met us!

(Some people say the Chestnut-sided warbler’s song sounds like: “Pleased, pleased, pleased to meetcha!”)

13. common yelllowthroat-kab In the same area we found a male Common Yellowthroat.

As we walked back up the street I heard and saw a ruckus overhead!

14. hawk fight-kab A Red-tailed Hawk was mobbed by some smaller birds, and then a Broad-winged hawk joined the fray before flying off!

I was having such a great time and we were seeing so many birds that I stayed far longer than intended. Thank you so much Grace for having me over to visit. I was so Pleased to Meet You! Hopefully was can do coffee and birds again?

15. oriole-kab Baltimore Oriole 6-10-14

Birds seen in Grace’s Yard on June 10, 2014

  1. Wild Turkey
  2. Mourning Dove
  3. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  4. Black-billed cuckoo
  5. Red-bellied Sapsucker
  6. Downy Woodpecker
  7. Hairy Woodpecker
  8. Eastern Phoebe
  9. American Crow
  10. Blue Jay
  11. Tree Swallow
  12. Black-capped Chickadee
  13. Tufted Titmouse
  14. White-breasted Nuthatch
  15. American Robin
  16. Eastern Bluebird
  17. Northern Mockingbird
  18. Gray Catbird
  19. European Starling
  20. Common Yellowthroat
  21. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  22. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  23. Chipping Sparrow
  24. Field Sparrow
  25. Song Sparrow
  26. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  27. Northern Cardinal
  28. Red-winged Blackbird
  29. Common Grackle
  30. Brown-headed Cowbird
  31. Baltimore Oriole
  32. Purple Finch
  33. American Goldfinch-we also saw these additional species in her neighborhood:
  34. Turkey Vulture
  35. Red-tailed Hawk
  36. Broad-winged Hawk
  37. Northern Flicker
  38. American Kestrel
  39. House Finch
  40. Rock Pigeon
  41. Cedar Waxwing
  42. Yellow Warbler

Check out her blog at Grammie’s Ramblings

16. honey suckly blossoms-kab


  1. Whow, what a fabulous selection you both enjoyed.

    1. Frank, I could not believe it! she has THE BEST yard!

  2. Wow, what a variety of beautiful birds, all in one day! Beautiful photos and great blog! Have a good day!

    1. Thanks for your visit and your comment, Susan!

  3. Hi Kathie.... It was a fabulous day , wasn't it !! Thanks for sharing our visit!!
    I felt from the moment we met in person that we had been long time friends other then bloggers!!
    I still haven't gotten over the Black billed Cuckoo, are you sure he didn't follow you here lol!! I have seen him quite a few times in the same place since then!! Probably has been there many times without me noticing or thinking I would ever see one!!
    I am feeling better!! Heat still gets to me though!
    What a gorgeous day today is though huh!! My kind of summer day!!

    Glad you enjoyed my little bird heaven!!


    1. Grace, thank you for having me! I hope to see you again soon. the heat gets to me as well, but I have the benefit of the ocean breezes where I live. It'll be winter before we know it and then we will complain about the cold and snow! that's what we do here in Maine! Today is a nice day and tomorrow should be cooler and less humid.

  4. What a great collection of birds she has!!! You both have such wonderful yard birds!

  5. Wonderful birds, esp. The grosbeaks,

    1. Gillian, yeah, they are kind of hard to resist!

  6. What a wonderful array of birds to spot in one day! The Rose-breasted Grosbeak photos are incredible and I really appreciate your description of the differences between Tree Sparrows and Field Sparrows. This is a great blog!

    1. Why, thank you Metis Birding! Welcome to my blog!


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.