Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mere Point Yard Birds in Two Seasons

1. 1-4-2015 winter birds-kab Junco and Cardinal in snow 1-4-2015

Winter Birding in my yard is often viewed through through windows.

2. 1-5-2015 maquoit bay-kab The waters of Maquoit Bay have long ago frozen over for good.


3. 10-6-14 house finches-kab House Finches still fill my treetops.


4. 10-6-14 purple finch-kab Occasionally I still see a female Purple Finch or two.


5. 10-6-14 WTSP-kab White-throated sparrows were everywhere in Autumn,

but gradually their numbers dwindled. I now only see one occasionally.

5a. juvenile cedar waxwings-kab Juvenile Cedar Waxwings were as thick as autumn leaves on October 24, 2014, but their numbers have dwindled as well. The most I have seen recently is five birds, but I know they will return. I had two adult birds in the yard today.

6. 11-29-15 RSHA-kab Last November I had this juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk in the yard.


7. 12-1-14 RWBL-kabBy December 1st we had some of our first snow and our last Red-winged Blackbirds!

8. 12-2-14 WBNU-kab The White-breasted nuthatches are here year round!


9. 12-20-14 Crow-kab And the crows like to hang out in the Sentinel Tree by the driveway!


10. 12-21-14 BCCH-kab It took me awhile to get use to feeding meal worms to the birds. I hate the look and smell of them, but the chickadees and titmice love them, so I hold my breath and fill the feeders with a canning jar funnel so I don’t have to touch them! Occasionally I see the nuthatches eating them as well. In this cold winter with such deep snow, the birds really need the protein!

11. 12-21-14 bird feeder-kab Black-capped Chickadee at one of my feeders 12-21-14


12. 12-21-14 doves-kab Mourning Doves in the treetops 12-21-14


13. 12-21-14 HAWO-kab Female Hairy Woodpecker on apple tree by driveway 12-21-14


14. 12-21-14 winter bird feeders-kab I moved the meal worm feeder and the finch feeder to this location by the driveway for the winter. I remembered that last year it was hard to get to the feeders on the side of the house and I knew I would not be able to shovel a path to that location this year. This proved to be a wise decision, for little did I know then how deep the snow would get this winter.

15. 12-21-14 finch feeder-kab In summer I hung a hummingbird feeder here, but with the approach of winter, I exchanged the nectar feeder for a finch feeder. This feeder is located right out my back door across the driveway in an easy access location.

16. 1-18-15 CORE-kab I was thrilled when the Common Redpolls showed up in January!


17. 1-15-2015 COHA-kab But so did the woodland hunter, who stalked the forest like a ghost.


18. 1-18-15 hermit thrush-kab The birds fed on berries in the thickets, like this Happy Hermit Thrush 1-18-15

19. 1-25-15 in the thicket-kab But the Cardinal was wiser and more wary.


20. 1-21-2015 CORE-kab By January 21 we had just a bit of snow and a few Common Redpolls.

The grass was still visible and it was still easy to get around the yard.

21. 1-25-2015 driveway-kab January 25 it was still easy to get in and out of the driveway!

But then the snows came.

And the bitter cold.

22. disappearing 1-28-15 The snow started to pile up! 1-28-15


23. feeder on the hook 1-31-15 It got deeper and deeper 1-31-15


24. empty hook 2-5-15Soon I had to move the finch feeder from the hook to the bush by the edge of the driveway. I could not climb over the snow bank, and the bird bath disappeared into the ever deepening snow! The snow took its toll on everyone, and hunger made the birds even more desperate and more bold.

25. 2-9-15 cooper's hawk-kab So it was not surprising that during a snow storm I looked out the window to see a young Cooper’s Hawk dining beneath my feeder. I know this is the way of the wild but I was a bit sad that it ate my Happy Hermit Thrush! The Hermit Thrush’s hunger made it careless. The Cooper Hawk’s hunger helped it to hunt. Hunger drove them both to this end result. It is the way of Nature.

26. snowy driveway 2-22-15-cell pic We had even more snow on this past Sunday, but it didn’t last long.

It was my birthday, so Gus took me out for breakfast and birding along the coast of Maine. We stopped at the Wild Birds Unlimited of Portland, where I spent the gift card a friend gave me for my birthday. Gus chipped in a few bucks as well and I was able to buy everything I wanted! I was so thrilled. After birding Biddeford Pool for the very first time (a future post), we drove home in sunshine and warm temps.

27. birthday present 2-22-15-cell pic It was almost dusk when Gus mounted this new feeder platform on the pole for me. I had wanted one of these for a very long time but since moving this feeder to this location I had noticed the birds did not use it as much. I use to have the other bird feeders over here as well but I moved them to the side of the driveway for the winter as the yew tree I hang them from gets too weighed down with snow in winter. Once thing I  have learned from all this bird feeding is that the birds like to feed near each other. I guess it is because of that old adage, there is safety in numbers.

28. birds on feeder 2-24-15-cell picWith the addition of the feeder platform, the birds are visiting this feeder once again! They just love it! I have had whole flocks of finches on it already, as well as Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and woodpeckers! However, I am guessing it will be mobbed by blackbirds when spring migration begins! And really, that is not too far away now! Just a few more weeks, right?


29. 10-13-14 RTHA-kab Red-tailed Hawk above the trees in my yard 10-13-14

Current 2015 Stats Life Year Month
Species Seen 479 60 55
Checklists Submitted 7531 154 70
Mere Point Cottage yard birds 111 40 28

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Red-bellied Woodpecker

1. red-bellied woodpecker-kab Red-bellied Woodpecker (female) in my yard 12-3-2014

It’s my birthday today, so I am posting photos of one of my favorite birds. I love all woodpeckers and was so happy to finally have a Red-bellied Woodpecker show up in my yard this winter. I had one last spring, but it was just passing through. This one has stayed around but she is quite elusive and I only catch brief glimpses of her. I have discovered she loves peanuts, though. But so do the Blue Jays and when they discover I have put them out they swoop down and gobble them all up! Still, sometimes she is able to sneak in and grab one before she has to flee!

2a. acrobat-kab This female Red-bellied Woodpecker has been hanging around all winter.

She is quite the acrobat! Just look at her twist and fly!

You can tell the female from the male by the limited amount of red on the head.

A male Red-bellied woodpecker has a full red head from its nape to its beak.

3. at simpsons point-kab Red-bellied Woodpecker at Simpson’s Point 12-2-14

I also found one over at Simpson’s Point, just a few miles east of Mere Point.

4. red-bellied woodpecker in maine-kab Female Red-bellied Woodpecker 12-2-14

I photographed these birds last year in December. I hope that maybe this year I can get an even better picture of them, but until then, I will just keep enjoying them whenever I see them. They are such characters! However, so far I have only seen females. If there is going to be a new generation, sooner or later a male will have to show up! Maybe then I can get his picture too!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter Birding in Rockland and Owls Head

1. rockland harbor-kab Rockland Harbor, Maine 2-7-15

After leaving Wiscasset on February 7th we drove north to Rockland, Maine. I have not been here to bird since moving back to Maine and I have never birded here as an eBirder. I was hoping to find a new Life Bird, like maybe a murre or a Razorbill, or a dovekie! But that was not to be. The cold and gray and wind continued and while I did see birds, I did not see anything new.

DSC_0022 Herring Gull on a chimney 2-7-15

After the long drive we stopped at a fast food restaurant first to grab a quick bite to eat. These hungry and tired gulls watched us from the chimney stacks and rooftops hoping for a scrap of food tossed aside by anyone.



DSC_0030 Down at the harbor we found even more gulls and some ducks.


DSC_0032 Long-tailed Duck in Rockland Harbor 2-7-15


DSC_0039 Common Loon in Rockland Harbor

Next it was on to Owls Head, a place I had heard of but never visited.

8a. dark skies at owls head 2-7-15It was late in the day when we finally arrived at Owls Head Harbor and the sky was heavy with the pending storm. I did not know where to go, so I just followed the birds! There were robins flying all around in the trees and i could see water ahead, so Gus drove me closer and stayed in the car while I got out to photograph birds. I wanted to walk out on this pier, but was not sure it was okay for me to do it, so I stayed on the road and walked around the parking lot instead. If I could have gone out there I think I might have seen more birds, but I did not know who to ask.

DSC_0043 Common Eider’s in Owls Head Harbor


DSC_0049 Herring Gull on the shore of Owl’s Head Harbor


DSC_0055 Great Black-backed Gull on the beach of Owl’s Head Harbor

After driving around in a monochromatic world, finding a shed  wall covered in colorful buoys was almost a shock to the system!

DSC_0058Lobster buoys on a shed wall in Owl’s Head Harbor 2-7-15

We tried to drive up to the Owls Head State Park and Lighthouse but while the road to the park was plowed, the path to the shore was not and I dared not risk walking out there in the deep snow with my still healing dislocated shoulder. It is so frustrating to me to find myself so limited like this, but I am doing the best I can not to let it get the best of me, and I still keep going out to see and count birds whenever I can! The constant storms, low temperatures and high winds restrict me even further, but there are always birds out my windows and once in awhile I find something new, like the Bohemian Waxwings I found in Brunswick, Maine just a few days later. Still, I had a fun day out with my husband and I enjoyed seeing and finding new places to bird. I hope to go back when the weather and my arm improve. I know there is another Life Bird out there just waiting for me somewhere!

Birds seen in Knox County on 2-7-15:

  1. *Red-tailed HawkThomaston
  2. *Ring-billed Gull
  3. Herring Gull
  4. *Rock Pigeon
  5. *American Crow
  6. *American Black DuckRockland
  7. *Mallard
  8. Common Eider
  9. *Long-tailed Duck
  10. *Bufflehead
  11. *Common Loon
  12. Great Black-backed Gull
  13. *Surf ScoterOwls Head Harbor
  14. *American Robin

*New Knox County Life Birds

I had only birded in Knox County one time before, and that was last year when Chris Rohrer was here and we took a boat ride out to Eastern Egg Rock to see Puffins. I recorded my first 11 bird species in this county on that day, but I paid a dear price for it as I got very seasick on the boat. While it was a cold and gray day here today, it was much better than being so seasick.  Today’s birding added 11 new species to my Knox County Life List for a total of 22 species. I hope to add more as I dream of summer birding here later this year!

shed and shack at owl's head 2-7-15

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter Birding in Wiscasset

DSC_0001 Mallards and gulls in Wiscasset, Maine 2-7-15

February 7, 2015: I was tired of being confined indoors by injuries and weather. Saturday morning started out sunny and blue, but by the time Gus and I headed out for a drive north along the coast of Maine the clouds had rolled in once again giving the world that winter gray look. I wanted to go someplace new. At this point I did not even care if I saw birds. I just wanted to see someplace new. However, we stopped in Wiscasset along the way to count the birds in a little cove I discovered after moving here last year. When we were here last year a man drove up with a sack of feed and poured grain all over the ground. This time there was much more snow cover, but I could see where someone had poured grain out for the ducks and gulls once again.

DSC_0003 I had not seen a Hooded merganser yet this year and I remembered that I had seen one in the cove last year, so I had my eyes open as we came down the hill. the little inland cove was almost entirely frozen over, but in a small pool of open water I saw one female Hooded merganser. Gus pulled over and parked so I could get out, but she took off before I could get her picture. However, the gulls and mallards sleeping on the causeway were not the least concerned by my presence.

DSC_0005 Out in the open water I spotted a male Common Goldeneye.


DSC_0006 There were a few Herring gulls mixed in with the Ring-billed Gulls.


DSC_0010 Common Goldeneye, Mallards and a female Bufflehead all swimming together.


DSC_0011 I just love this picture of a Ring-billed Gull roosting in the snow.

It seems so odd to see birds we associate with beaches and summer in winter and in snow. If you know anything about snow and air temp, you know that snow is actually warmer than the winter air, especially when the wind is blowing! It was very cold on this day. This gull almost looks warm!

DSC_0016 While House Sparrows are common all over the United States, I find it hard to find them here in Maine! I wanted to get them on my Big January Bird List, but never saw one anywhere in Brunswick or Topsham or even in Lisbon, Maine. But, here on a side street in Wiscasset down by the water’s edge, I found a flock of 50 House sparrows! My First of the year for this species! Wiscasset is in Lincoln county, so this was my first time counting in Lincoln County this year as well. Every bird I saw was new for the year here, so I was quite happy to find a few robins, Blue Jays, Crows and House Finches as well.

DSC_0018 I also spotted a couple of Mourning Doves in a nearby tree.

We spent about 20 minutes here before heading north to find more birds on this gray and cold winter’s day. Here is the list of birds I counted in Wiscasset on Saturday, 2-7-15:

  1. Mallard—44
  2. American Black Duck—1
  3. Bufflehead—2
  4. *Common Goldeneye—1 male
  5. *Hooded Merganser—1 female
  6. Herring Gull—3
  7. Ring-billed Gull—18
  8. Rock Pigeon—4
  9. Mourning Dove—2
  10. *Hairy Woodpecker—1
  11. Blue Jay—1
  12. American Crow—1
  13. Black-capped Chickadee—1
  14. *White-breasted Nuthatch—1
  15. American Robin—1
  16. American Goldfinch—1
  17. House Sparrow—50
  18. *Bald Eagle—1 seen while driving north in New Castle
  19. *Pileated Woodpecker—seen while driving north in Nobleboro

*New Species on my Lincoln County Life List which stands at 48 species now with the addition of these 6 new species!

Next it was North to Rockland and Owls Head!

DSC_0020 House Sparrows in Treetop, Wiscasset, ME 2-7-15