Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Day of Birds at Reid State Park

DSC_0569 Common Eider hens and ducklings 7-22-2015

I like to go to Reid State Park in Georgetown, Maine to bird. I never know what I will find, but it is always beautiful and always surprising! On this fine summer day in July I got my closest look ever at eider ducklings.

DSC_0570 These were on the rocks at Half-mile Beach.


DSC_0573 Ring-billed Gull walking on the sand.


DSC_0576 There is a sandpiper hiding at the edge of this grassy hummock.


DSC_0577 Do you know what it is?


DSC_0581 Sunset at Reid State Park 7-22-15

I was looking for sanderlings but didn’t find any. Still, It was a fun afternoon of birding with 25 species counted and I am glad I went. I am still learning my shorebirds and I find it quite a challenge!



Bay Bridge Landing, A Place to Bird

1. Yellow warbler-kab Yellow Warbler at Bay Bridge Landing 6-12-15

Bay Bridge Landing in Brunswick, Maine is a sweet place to bird. Tucked in behind a mobile home neighborhood and a business you would never know it was there. A fellow birder told me about it last year and I have now birded here a few times, often taking my lunch along and sitting on one of the benches near the river to eat while I watch birds.

2. river wetlands-kab Bay Bridge Landing sits on a bend in the Androscoggin River at the south end of Merrymeeting Bay. It has a backwater cove that becomes a marshland providing excellent habitat for birds. In the summer I see blackbirds, warblers, flycatchers, cormorants, herons and gulls here. They are osprey nesting on the platforms provided for them. There is a little island with a trail that used to be connected by a couple of bridges but the bridges have fallen into disrepair, so you can no longer get to the island. You can follow the trail up one side, then double back and around to get to the other side.

3. GBHE-kab Still, it doesn’t stop you from seeing the herons when they fly over!


4. path-kab This is the trail closest to the river and you can sit on this bench and watch birds.


5. EAPH-kab I found this sweet Eastern Phoebe farther up the trail near the bridge.


6. yellow warbler-kab Finding this male Yellow Warbler was also a delight!

As you can see, he was quite busy gathering food to feed his very hungry brood!

You can tell it is a male by the rusty streaks on its breast.

7. butterfly-kab You can also find a few butterflies at Bay Bridge Landing!

As regular readers of this blog will know, I often like to bird around parking lots and on this particular day I needed to stop at the nearby Tractor Supply on my way home. While there, I also counted birds.

8. osprey nest near Tractor supply-kab I found that a pair of osprey were building a nest on the utility poles. At a later date I actually saw parents with nestlings in this nest!

9. COYE-kab In some brush at the edge of the parking lot I found a Common Yellowthroat!


10. SOSP-kab …along with a Song Sparrow to boot!

Bay Bridge Landing is found in Brunswick, Maine off the Old Bath Road near Cook’s Corner. Follow signs for Bay Bridge Estates. After entering the park on Driscoll Street, turn left at the stop sign and follow Bay Bridge Road Road past an industrial building to the end where there is a parking lot.

Follow these links to find out more:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Oh, the Places I’ve Been!

1. 10-20-15 MR bird sanctuary View from the Matthews-Reeser Bird Sanctuary in Estes Park, CO

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I recently had the opportunity to fly to Colorado and go birding with my best birding buddy, Chris Rohrer. I had not seen him since last summer when he came to visit me and I was so happy to see him again!

2. 10-19-22 Jim Hamm Nature Center But before I joined him in Estes park, I stopped in Longmont to bird at the Jim Hamm Nature Preserve on the east side of town.

3. 10-19-15 three friends When I got to Estes Park my other birding buddy, Kathryn Kelley was there and she joined us at the cabin where Chris met her for the first time! TWO birding buddies! I couldn’t be happier!

5. 10-20-15 elk on golf course The next day Chris and I went to downtown Estes Park and the Matthews-Reeser Bird Sanctuary where we saw plenty of elk as well as birds!


6. 10-20-15 The alluvial fan area of Rocky Mountain NP All of these huge boulders were deposited here after the most recent flood of 2013 at the alluvial fan in Rocky Mountain National Park.

7. 10-20-15 Long's Peak Long’s Peak as seen from Many Parks Curve in Rocky Mountain NP 10-20-15


8. 10-22-15 crows Every morning we had a Murder of over 40 crows around our cabin.

No, we did not kill them. A “murder’ is the collective noun for crows!

9. 10-22-15 crows and stellar's jay We also had Black-billed Magpies and Stellar’s Jays!

We looked and looked for Gray Jays but never found them.

10. 10-22-15 mule dear in Rocky Mountain NP However, Mule Deer were easily seen within Rocky Mountain National Park!


13. 10-22-15 elk in snow And snow covered elk were seen in the field right next to our cabin!


12. 10-22-15 Bear Lake at Rocky Mountain NP Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

We tried to find Gray Jays here, but all we found were a couple of ducks and a chickadee!

13. 10-22-15 Chris is not cold Chris says he loves this weather and he is not cold.

I’m not sure I believe him!

14. 10-23-15 birding with chris on the last dayChris in full birding mode at McIntosh Reservoir in Longmont, CO 

On our last morning in Colorado we managed to find an hour to bird at McIntosh Reservoir in Longmont. We were on our way to the airport with Chris’ family and after filling my rental car with gas we grabbed some sandwiches at Subway and while the rest of the family had a picnic, Chris and I bolted for the shore and started birding. I wanted tog et my Western Grebes and this is where they had been spotted. We saw small dots at the western end of the lake and of course we were at the Eastern end. We walked about halfway down until we could clearly see them. I could not get photos because my camera was broken but Chris got some for me. I could have stayed there all day, or all week or for the rest of my life, but we had to get back. I had a plan to catch and so did the rest of his family. So, we made ourselves turn around and return.

15. leaving DIA 10-23-15 And then I flew away…

Once back in Maine I went birding at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland.

16. 10-26-15 the orange at evergreen cemetery Evergreen was very orange on this particular day! 10-26-15


17. 10-26-15 Such beauty in Nature I was looking for an American Widgeon that had been seen in the ponds, but I never found it, though I saw that others did and reported it on eBird.

18. 10-31-15 Papermill pond A couple days later I went birding at the Paper Mill Trail in Lisbon 10-31-15.

Gus came with me and we followed the trail as far as the school and back to the main parking lot, but it was the middle of the day and we did not see many birds. Still, the Autumn foliage was lovely. Maine is a very beautiful state.

19. 10-31-15 Paper Mill Trail Little Sabattus River The Little Sabattus River runs alongside the Paper Mill Trail.

On November 2nd i headed to Connecticut but stopped in Massachusetts to get new tires on my car. While waiting for them to be changed, Of course I went birding! I walked to a nearby park in Wilmington, Massachusetts where I have counted birds at least one other time when I lived nearby. It is called Rotary Park and it has a small pond with a nature trail around it.

20. 11-2-15 Rotary park in Wilmington, MA The pond at Rotary Park in Wilmington, MA


21. 11-2-15 open hearted willow The “open-hearted” Willow Tree!

22. 11-2-15 on the trail around the pond The flaming tree along the trail.

23. 11-2-15 at the edge of the woods Rotary park The little creek in the woods.

Once in Connecticut I birded all around Colchester. I was able to bird at Cohen Meadows on two separate days, thus adding to the eBird data for this location. It is such a pretty spot and I saw a wide variety of birds here. I do not know why more people do not come and bird here!

24. 11-3-15 the big pond at Cohen meadows This is the larger of two ponds on the property.

The first day I stopped here there was a large flock of geese on the pond and more flew in as I watched until there were around 200 Canada Geese! I also saw and heard a Red-shouldered Hawk giving its eerie cry as it flew above the tree line. There was no shortage of woodpeckers here, and I counted Northern Flickers, Downy, Pileated, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers here, as well as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!

25. 11-3-15 the last leaves of autumn Cohen Nature Preserve The early morning light was glorious!


26. 11-3-15 Pine tree cathedral In this pine tree cathedral I searched for but did not find Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Before Mom’s cataract surgery on November 5th I had time to go birding in the morning, so I took a drive around Lake Hayward. It was a mild, November day and so soft and beautiful under the steel wool skies.

27. 11-5-15 Lake hayward CT Lake Hayward as seen from East Shore Drive 11-5-15

28. 11-5-15 New England woods The woods around Lake Hayward.

Then, while Mom was in her surgery I went birding at nearby Harkness Memorial State Park. It was much better than sitting in a waiting room watching boring TV! I did not think I would get the chance to bird near the ocean in Connecticut, but I did! And I was almost back to the surgery center when I got the call that she was done.

29. 11-5-15 autumn at harkness Along the roadside.

30. 11-5-15 the beach at Harkness The beach at Harkness 11-5-15

31. 11-5-15 Harkness Memorial SP Picnic Area at Harkness Memorial SP

32. 11-5-15 Gingko trees at harkness Golden Gingko Trees at Harkness Memorial SP

33. 1-5-15 Fitchville Pond I ended the day counting birds at Fitchville Pond in Bozrah, CT.

The next day I headed back to Maine after doing a few more errands with my mom. It did not leave me much time, but I managed to stop by Plum Island a hour and a half before the sunset where I finally got my American Widgeons! No photos for now, but I hope to post some later.

34. 11-6-15 Plum IslandSunset at Sandy Point State Reservation 11-5-15

It was uncommonly warm on Friday with a southerly breeze and temps in the low 70’s! it was so warm that I took off my shoes and walked on the beach in my flip flops!  What a fun time I had, even though it was short and it was dark by the time I left. I had a long two hour drive home in the car, but I was glad I took the chance and went to Plum Island. It only made me want to go back again, for I know that there are place there that I have yet to explore!

Here are my eBird Checklists for all these places I birded:

35. 11-6-15 warm feet

You can read Chris Rohrer’s Posts by clicking on the links below: