Monday, June 24, 2019

"Maine-iac Birders"

I had arrived at the tail end of migration yet again. The minute I saw Blackpoll Warblers, I knew the game was over. My quest for Bay-breasted and Cape May Warblers would have to wait for another day. 

How does one say gaudy in Maine-ish?
But that didn't stop our grand adventures.  Birding around Maine is as scenic as it gets in the US.  However, the bugs were relentless.  Black flies, mosquitoes and ticks were in full force.  And I thought Wisconsin was bad.  Maine, besides maybe Florida, beats most of the states for crazy bug attacks. Although, I've heard Alaska is a nightmare in summer. They say bird along the coast, but honestly, the coast was just as bad. 

Broad-winged Hawk
Between the odd and fantastical, we discovered many incredible birds together. I loved seeing several bird species better.  Several were on my list of "must see again". 

As Kathie and I both explored beautiful spaces near her home, we observed many birds singing and moving about branches. 

Blackpoll Warblers are one of the last warblers to migrate
Many birds were setting up territories. 

Bobolink males call and set up their territories
And between the constant attack of the blackfly, I was able to get off a couple shots here and there.  It's no wonder why warblers love Maine.  There's plenty of food for them there:)

Then an amazing thing happened!  I was able to get wonderful observations of a bird I had only seen briefly ONCE, the Scarlet Tanager. 

When they are breeding, they are super difficult to observe.  Luckily we hit a fantastic observation window where they were still moving and calling out in the open.  I not only got to see this bird once but MANY times.  We even rescued an injured one!

Purple Finches are wonderfully colored and were in good numbers everywhere we went. 

A finch dipped in raspberry jam, the Purple Finch
Vireos made me cringe.  They all sound similar.  My job was to find a Philadelphia Vireo and separate it from the Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos in the area. 

A pair of Red-eyed Vireos
Some birds are super tricky.  I had some work ahead of me.  Every day we went out and counted birds. 

Even though the migration was coming to an end, there were still a lot of great warblers out there. 

Chestnut-sided Warbler
A Veery popped out into the open. 

The exciting shrill, "Free Beer!", of the Alder Flycatcher made us smile. 

Alder Flycatcher
The picturesque Cedar Waxwings posed often in budding Apple Trees. 

Cedar Waxwings
Baltimore Orioles collected cattail fuzz for their nests. 

female Baltimore Oriole
Gray Catbirds appeared from behind our backs always watching us from the shadows. 

Gray Catbird
Black-throated Blue Warblers were loudly calling inside the forests. 

Black-throated Blue Warbler
And this Ruby-throated Hummingbird fiercely protected his feeder from other hummingbirds. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The electronic warble of the Bobolink was a common sound among the wildflower tinged grasses.

In short.  It was nice revisiting several bird species that I don't get to see often in Arizona.  Once we finished our first sweep of the common birds, we began our journey for the harder ones.  And those stories will be told over the next several weeks. So until next time, use some bug spray:)  This wet and cold summer of the North has arrived. 


  1. Nice to see Eastern birds Im familiar with on your post. I didn't get a Scarlet Tanager yet this yr or the Alder. Glad to know Im not the only one who says "no not a vireo". Of course the White Eyed is the exception.

  2. Bugs aside, looks like you and Kathie had a good time birding Maine.

  3. hahaha... when you said you knew the game was over I thought you would not have many birds.... little did I know...

    I wouldn't have liked the black flies, but the birds were great.

  4. What a wonderful collection of birds - it must be a bit of a challenge at this time of year for you - with so many possible species all moving at the same time.

    Stewart M - Jakarta airport, Indonesia!


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