Saturday, March 28, 2015

Notes from My Nest: Progress

3-17-14 ducks in the new meadows river Ducks on the ice in the New Meadows River 3-17-15

We are making progress here in Maine as the snow slowly melts and spring fights to take hold. In spite of My Broken Wing and the cold I have still managed to get out and do some birding, even if it is only around town at the local eBird Hotspots and any parking lot I happen to be in!

3-17-15 Wharton Point I stopped by Wharton Point on my way home from town on March 17 and saw some of the first Red-winged Blackbirds of the year in the brush. I had seen my first one in my own yard that very morning. I counted six more here. However, Maquoit Bay was still frozen on this day with only a few gulls gathered on the ice shelf.

3-17-15 Wharton Point marsh The only open water was the creek that meandered through the marsh. But, the nearby trees were full of birds singing and I even saw a few bluebirds!

3-23-14 Mere Point bay It has been so cold and so snowy that both Mere Point Bay and Maquiot Bay have been frozen solid for over two months, but finally the weather has warmed enough to start them thawing. I photographed this open blue water on Mere Point Bay on March 23rd. This is definitely progress! The frozen bays seemed to enhance that confined feeling that winter was giving me, along with my injury. Seeing the open blue water made me somehow start to feel free again myself!

3-24-15 doc office birdingI count birds at the doctor’s office whenever I go for an appointment for the orthopedist or Physical Therapy. On March 24th the parking lot was alive with birds and I even spotted  a pileated woodpecker in a tree at the edge of the parking lot! I always bring my binoculars with me, and while others are reading magazines or playing with their smart phones in the waiting room, I am looking out the windows watching for and counting birds!

3-24-15 Bay Bridge landing It was a really nice day on March 24th, so I decided to check out a new birding place I had learned about earlier this year. It is called Bay Bridge Landing and it sits on a bend in the Androscoggin River. 

3-24-15 trail at bay bridge I had hoped that maybe the river was starting to thaw, but it was still frozen solid, so I walked down a short trail instead. I saw a few juncos and nuthatches here.

3-24-15 walking back at bay bridgeThe trail dead ended at a broken bridge, so I turned and went back, but it felt good to be out in the sunshine and fresh air. I couldn’t get enough of it!

3-24-15 mere point cove So, on the way home, I stopped at the boat launch as well! The cove was still frozen then, but when I went there tonight it was all open water! There is hope!

3-24-15 common redpolls in yard In my own yard things are in transition. I have seen a few spring migrants, like starlings, red-winged blackbirds, and common grackles, but the American Tree Sparrows and the White-throated Sparrows are already moving on. The funny thing is, I have had Common Redpolls here for two months, but as of March 24th they are considered a Rare Bird for this time of year in this location. But they are still here now and this morning I had at least 14 in my yard! Yesterday I had only 1, but on Thursday I counted 26!

3-25-14 hands up As for me, I am making progress as well. When I posted about my arm 2 weeks ago I was so discouraged. But, the things I have been doing have really helped. By the time I finally got in to see the physical therapist I had already made good progress. Then, she did some stretches with me that literally brought me to tears, it hurt so much! The day she did it I came home and slept all afternoon. I drank a ton of water, and by the next day I could move my arm so much further! She and I have continued to work on it and when I saw the orthopedist on Monday she could not believe the improvement in my range of motion! She said she had never seen anyone improve so much so fast! I had my daughter take these photos of me on Wednesday. In this photo I still could not raise my left arm above my head. Today I almost can!

Perhaps I will be able to fly again soon!

3-25-15 trying to flyI could not do this two weeks ago!

However, I still need to be able to get my left arm behind my back.

3-25-15 more work to do This is as far as it will go for now.


3-25-15 new hairdoBut I now have hope!

And I am not the only one making progress!

2-21-15 buried table This was my driveway and patio table on February 21st.

3-26-15 mud season This is how it looks now!

Yes, mud season is upon us, but spring can’t be far behind…

3-28-15 bird bath revealedBecause, I can finally see my bird bath once again! 3-28-15

I hope to post more bird photos soon, but for now, here are my latest eBird Stats:

Kathie’s 2015 eBird Stats Life Year Month
Total Species 479 68 53
Total Checklists 7632 255 93
Total Maine Species 199 68 53
Total Mere Point Cottage Yard Birds 111 47 27


New species added to my 2015 Year List this month:

61. Song Sparrow 3-4-15 Mere Point Boat Launch

62. Killdeer 3-9-15 Brunswick Landing

63. Red-winged Blackbird 3-17-15 Mere Point Cottage

64. Fish Crow 3-20-15 Brunswick Town Center

65. Turkey Vulture 3-23-15 Woodside Road, Brunswick

66. Common Grackle 3-26-15 Mere Point Cottage

67. Fox Sparrow 3-27-15 Mere Point Boat Launch

68. Brown-headed Cowbird 3-28-15 Mere Point Boat Launch

Notes: For those of you keeping track, I removed Hoary Redpoll from my Life and yard list because I did not feel confident in my sighting and I did not have photo documentation. Thus, my Maine Life List is back down to 199. I am still waiting to see my 200th species for this state!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Connecting with Owls Review

1 ┬ęKathleen-Cameron-Great-Gray-Owls-

Connecting with Owls is a PBS worthy documentary about owls. It was filmed and produced by Kathleen Cameron of Majestic Feather’s Birding Tours. Kathleen is a bird guide and birder who lives in Idaho. She fell in love with owls years ago and decided to channel her love of owls into a documentary when she realized just how many people have never seen an owl in the wild. Kathleen started filming owls in 2004 and over the course of the next few years collected all the footage seen in this documentary. She finally edited the footage to produce this film which premiered at the Hagerman Bird Festival in February of 2014.

3 BUOW-2a Burrowing Owl

The film starts out with a narrated portion describing owl behavior and habitat and man’s connection with owls. Throughout the documentary Kathleen managed to film every owl species seen in Idaho, but this is not specifically a film about Idaho owls. It is a film about owls.

8 K-C-with-Cameras- Kathleen filmed various species of owl engaging in all kinds of owl behavior; from flying, feeding, courtship, and nesting to fledglings as they grow, and even an owl rescue and release. Though I have been a birder for quite a long time, I find owls to be a species I still have much to learn about. In watching Kathleen’s documentary I learned many facts about owls that I did not know before. I particularly loved learning about and then seeing the courtship displays of the short-eared owl and their “wing claps.” I had no idea that owls clapped!

5 NHO-1-22-15_KAC9482

I would recommend this documentary to anyone who loves birds and nature. It is suitable for viewing with children and would make a welcome addition to anyone’s library. It could be used in a school setting as a science or nature lesson. Connecting with Owls contains excellent photography with a pleasant narration in the beginning of the film and a portion of just music and footage of various species of owls at the end where one can sit back, relax and feel like they are on their own private nature expedition! Watching this film made me want to go out and find some owls for myself. While I have seen some of the species of owls in this documentary, there are many that I have never seen.

6-Short-eared-Owl- Juvenile Short-eared owl that was injured and taken to rehab.

(footage seen in film)

Kathleen is an Idaho native and leads birding tours to Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, and Panama, as well as in the United States. You can find out more about her documentary and her business by clicking on the links below. Kathleen has a passion for birds and preserving their habitat. All of the photography in today’s post was provided by Kathleen Cameron. 

4 Connecting-with-Owls-DVD-Pic


2 Barn-Owl-KAC0152 Barn owl leaping from barn

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

To Reach for the Sky

1. Cave creek canyon 10-5-13 donna simonetti photgrapher

What joy it is to reach for the sky

Arms open wide

to receive all there is,

or to celebrate

and cheer

With elation.

happy 11-24-13-Chris R pic

These arms of mine

So taken for granted

Are essential things

I use them every day—in so many ways;

to hug, to reach, to grasp,

to perform essential tasks!

me 3-2-13 by Chris Rohrer

How wondrously and marvelously made we are,

Birthed into this world, perfectly formed,

We crawl and walk and run through life

Arms outstretched and open wide

triumph in AZ 3-24-13-chris rohrer pic

As if we were always born to fly.

By Kathie Adams Brown (March 15, 2015)

DSC_0635 sandhill cranes whitewater draw-gusto

Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw in Arizona, 2-22-2008

6. TUVU Yuma-kab Turkey Vulture, Yuma, AZ 11-22-2012

7. Osprey Falmouth, ME Osprey, Falmouth, ME 8-7-2012

8. Wild goose 3 Canada Goose Andover, MA 10-13-2010

9. NOHA Bosque del apache-kab Northern Harrier, Bosque del Apache, NM 11-5-2012

10. mountain bluebird az-kab Mountain Bluebird, Three Points, AZ 10-31-2009

11. greer, az 8-3-13 Chris R photographer

Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Broken Wing

1. DSC_0204 cattle egret-kab

It has now been 2 months since I fell down a hole and dislocated my arm. At first it seemed I was healing pretty fast, but then I had one set-back after another. When I finally started my physical therapy things were going well, but then I had a mysterious pain in my upper left shoulder just in front of the joint and just left of my collar bone. Suddenly I could not move my arm without pain. When I first started physical therapy I could almost raise my arm above shoulder height when extended in front of me. Now I could not raise it to elbow height. It soon became apparent that we were wasting time in PT and an MRI was ordered. It took over a week to get insurance approval and to get the MRI scheduled. My doctor’s appoint was for 8 days after that. On the weekend that my MRI was done, I developed pain and swelling in the joint of my left hand and wrist. It came on so suddenly and was so painful that I could not even tap the screen on my smart phone. It hurt to even pull my shirt sleeve over my hand when I got undressed at night. What was going on?

2. broken-kab At this point I got quite discouraged. I could tell with each passing day that my shoulder was getting more and more stiff and I was losing my range of motion, but until I heard the MRI results I was afraid to do anything for fear I would tear a ligament, tendon, or muscle. By the time I finally saw the doctor last Monday I had developed Adhesive Capsulitis from my lack of using the joint. The funny thing is, the MRI did not show any tears or impingement. So what was going on? No one seems to know, but it was time to start PT again. However, there were no appointments available until this week. I was not going to wait for another 8 days and let my shoulder get even worse!

3. Kathie shows off new sunglasses This is me in 2006 0r 2007 in Park City, UT. I cannot reach up like this now.

The doctor told me I was in no fear of dislocating the shoulder again. Now the fear was that the joint capsule was collapsing and adhering to the other side. She told me I could move it in whatever direction I felt I could as far as my arm would let me. She also thinks I may have had gout in my hand. The doctor wanted to give me a steroid shot in my joint just so I would start using my arm if the pain was too bad. She knows I do not like to use drugs. But, I told her if the pain was the only reason she was going to give me the shot, that I could push through the pain as long as I knew I was not going to tear anything lose.

4. Kathie holds the tree 9-2-08 Ramsey Canyon September 2008

I started moving my shoulder that very day. I started doing shoulder rolls and I could hear cracking and popping in the joint. That lasted about 24 hours. Since then I have continued to stretch the arm and reach for things. One of the worst things is not being able to reach behind my back. Just try to pull up your pants without reaching behind your back! I can put my right hand into my back left pocket by reaching around my back, but I cannot get my left hand into my back left pocket! And to raise my arm above my head would be a miracle right about now!

5. dancing 5-26-09 New River Birding Festival Dancing at the New River Birding Festival in West Virginia 2009

Since injuring my shoulder, I have been amazed to discover just how much your shoulder is involved in using your arm every day. When you push on a door to open it, you use your shoulder. When you open or close a jar, you use your shoulder muscles. When you pull up your pants or put on your socks, you are using your shoulder! Try cutting a piece of steak without using your shoulder. It just doesn’t work! When I first injured myself, I couldn’t use my arm at all, but soon I can use it from the elbow down. But after i started having pain I developed a protective style that involved pinning my upper arm to my side and only using my left forearm. If I needed to reach fro something I had to move my whole torso forward and only reach with my hand. But keeping my upper arm pinned to my side and only using the low6. kathie 2010 tucsoner arm has not done me any favors. I cannot roll over in bed and pull the covers over me using my left arm. I cannot reach up to put dishes away in the cupboard. When I get in the car I have to turn and pull the door closed with my right hand and arm. Every task I want to do is so frustrating! I have tried to keep a good attitude, but I must admit there have been days in the last two weeks when I broke down in tears. I do not want to be this helpless! I find it extremely embarrassing to have to ask for help in the grocery store to reach something or lift something. I had to ask a clerk to put a case of water in my cart because it was on the bottom shelf and I could not lift it into my cart. At the bird seed store I had to ask someone to carry a 20 pound bag of seed out to the car because I could not do it. I use to be able to do these things! I do not want to stay this way! So, I have made it my mission to get well! I need my arm to go birding again!

7. empire gulch 9-19-12 by Chris RBirding in Empire Gulch, Sonoita, AZ, September 19, 2012.

Ever since last I saw the doctor last Monday I have continued to do what I can. So, I looked up some exercises online, as well as doing the two easy ones I had learned in PT before. I use my right hand to lift my left arm and stretch it up as far as I can. I have seen some increase in my range of motion and my strength. I start PT again on Tuesday. I hope to go in better than when the doctor saw me last week. I hope to make good progress. I hope that soon I will be able to raise my arms above my head again in an expression of joy and gratitude. I hope to be ME again. I need the use of my left arm. I am a left-handed person. It is part of my identity. I need to be able to use my left arm.

8. going for a swing 12-18-13 Tangue vedre wash Trying out the swing at the Tangue Verde Wash in Tucson, 12-18-2013

In one strange benefit from this accident I have suddenly regained some of my fine motor control that was lost from a car accident I was in back in 2003. Ever since then I have had a difficult time writing or forming any letters that loop around. My hand would get fatigued and I would have to quit writing after a page or two. But in the last couple of weeks I seem to be able to write as long as I want to without fatigue and I seem to be able to form letters without the pen squiggling out of control. I cannot explain this. I can only report it. So, maybe there is a silver lining after all. The last two week have been very hard for me, but I am starting to hope again that this broken wing will heal and I will be able to fly once again.

Wings are so amazing!

Hold Fast to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.-Langston Hughes

9. terns plum island-kab Terns on Plum Island 10-1-2011


10. shorebirds plum island Sanderlings on Plum Island 10-1-2011

11. sneg gilbert water ranch-kab Snowy Egret at Gilbert Water Ranch, AZ 11-12-2012

12. Bonaparts gull revere beach-kab Bonaparte’s Gull, Revere Beach, MA 8-19-2011

13. plum island-kab Plum Island 10-17-2010


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Notes from my Nest: It’s a Gray Day in Maine

1. 3-23-14 DSC_0066 rbgu wharton point-kab I photographed these Ring-billed Gulls just about a year ago at Wharton point in Maine shortly after we moved here. My Birding is Fun blogpost is up with photos of some of the

Spring Birds in Maine

So far the only “spring birds” I have seen are starlings in the yard!

2. 3-14-15 gray day-cell pic Meanwhile, this gray and dreary day has made me pensive, and so I wrote a poem which is also posted on Kathie’s Poet Tree:

Gray Day

Looking out the window panes

On a gray landscape;

Gray squirrels playing on gray tree trunks,

Gray sky waiting

Steel clouds billow and flatten

Dove skies bleed

Drops of liquid silver

Dull earth waits for water it cannot absorb

Gray birds sing in wet trees

Late winter rain turns gently to snow

And paints the world in white despair again.

Kathie Adams Brown (March 14, 2015)