Friday, October 26, 2007

Northern Maine Birds 19-25 October 2007

A busy week but managed to squeeze in some birding here and there.

The best waterfowl this week were a *pair of early-arriving drake Barrow's Goldeneyes* seen with a flock of about 25 Common Goldeneyes on Long Lake in St Agatha on the 25th. 32 Snow Geese were regulars in Mapleton and Washburn early in the week. Surf Scoters and a single White-winged Scoter were seen on Cross Lake on the 21st. A small group of Black Scoters were reported at Arnold Brook Lake in Presque Isle Thursday.

Canada Goose numbers remain at ~16-18 thousand birds in central Aroostook Co. Still no unusual goose species have been seen but there is plenty of opportunity to study the many subtle differences in plumages of the Canada's. Flock subspecies breakdown seems about 40% /Branta canadensis maxima/ (the locally breeding Giant Canada Goose) and 60% /B.c. canadensis/ (the Atlantic Canada Goose). The Atlantic Canada Geese are slightly smaller and and more delicate than the hulking Giants. I recommend David Sibley's write up on Canada/Cackling Geese for the waterfowl nerds in the group!

Two lingering Gadwall at Long Lake and a pair Northern Pintails at the Town Park Pond in Mars Hill were other notable ducks seen this week.

A late-ish Pied-billed Grebe was seen at Daigle Pond in New Canada on Sunday. A *late Black-crowned Night Heron* was seen and heard at Arnold Brook Lake on Tuesday early AM.

*Arriving Rough-legged Hawks* appeared en mass, in northern Aroostook County. Three dark phase individuals were seen off the Chasse Road in St Agatha Thursday AM and another was spotted minutes later on the Ouellette Cross Road in T17R5. A *notably late American Kestrel* was seen in Monticello on the 24th. Northern Harriers continue to be reported from across the region including Bridgewater, Mapleton, Presque Isle and Woodland. A Red-tailed Hawk was seen in New Sweden.

The *American Avocet on Long Lake* in St. Agatha was the shorebird show this week. The bird was found on Sunday but has not been relocated since. Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs are still being seen. There was a definite increase in gull numbers in northern Maine this week. A mixed flock of about 800 gulls is now present at Long Lake in St Agatha and Several hundred were seen at Arnold Brook Lake. Great Black-backed Gulls seem to dominate the flocks and Ring-billeds are thinning out a bit.

Great Horned (Presque Isle) and Barred Owls (Woodland) were heard this week. 40+ Horned Larks and 4 American pipits were flushed by a low-cruising Rough-legged Hawk off the Flat Mt Road in St. Agatha. A *young Northern Shrike* spotted in Orient on the 24th was the first for me this season. Likewise, *arriving American Tree Sparrows* seem to pop up overnight with individuals appearing in Frenchville, Sinclair and Woodland on Thursday. Other than the Dark-eyed Juncos which remain in numbers, Song and Swamp Sparrows were the only other species encountered this week.

Always a good find in northern Maine, a Northern Cardinal was reported at Collins Pond in Caribou. A late Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen hawking insects near Baskahegan Stream in Danforth in northern-most Washington County on the 24th.

*Pine and Evening Grosbeaks continue* to being found in small numbers around central and northern Aroostook County. 5 Pine Grosbeaks visited my yard in Woodland on the 25th. White-winged Crossbill flocks were heard in Presque Isle, Stockholm and Woodland this week. The Pine Siskins have seemed to thin out a bit after a good pulse earlier this month.

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