There has been alot of traffic reported at northern Maine feeding stations this week. Snow depths in the region now range between eighteen to thirty inches following the Monday night storm. Most lakes are entirely ice covered and only the swifter places on area streams are ice free. The larger rivers St. John and Aroostook still have plenty of open water but the slower stretches are becoming ice-choked. Temps have ranged from single digits to mid thirties over the past week.
A bit of an ice storm was experienced in some higher locations in Aroostook Co. in late November. Some observers thought the ice might have covered some natural food causing an increase in bird numbers at feeders . The small fruit (berries, cherries and small crabapple) supply is getting quite sparse in some spots thanks to all the Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks.
Waterfowl numbers have dwindled quickly over the past two weeks. Most Canada Geese had departed shortly after Thanksgiving. Mallards, American Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, and Common and Hooded Mergansers continue to be seen on the remaining open water. 3 Common Loons were found at Long Lake in St. Agatha on the 24th.
An adult Northern Goshawk unsuccessfully chased some Pine Grosbeaks around my yard in Woodland on Dec 2nd. Light phase Rough-legged Hawks were seen in St Agatha on the 24th and in Presque Isle on the 28th. A few Bald Eagles were also reported.
A Barred Owl was seen in Woodland several times last week. The male Three-toed Woodpecker was seen at the usual spot on the Muscovic Road in Stockholm on the 24th. The bird was drumming and excavating a cavity. On the 27th few Horned Larks were feeding in association with a flock of several hundred Snow Buntings on the Waddell Road in Mapleton. In central Aroostook county, decreasing numbers of Bohemian Waxwings were noted as the preferred fruit supply was almost exhausted
A very rare Tufted Titmouse continues into its second month at a feeder on Canterbury Street in Presque Isle. A couple reporters noted increasing Black-capped Chickadee numbers at area feeders in the past week. A Boreal Chickadee made a short visit to my yard on Sunday before storm. The bird only momentarily checked over the suet feeder then moved on.
Unusual for winter, a large flock of American Crows remains in the Presque Isle area. The black horde was photographed by Paul Cyr's game camera mounted at feeder late last week. Gray Jays were seen in Easton, Woodland and Sinclair this week.
Also uncommon in northern Maine, Northern Cardinals were seen in Caribou and Presque Isle this week. Trina Coffin got this nice photo of a male cardinal at her feeder. Other than the fore-mentioned Snow Buntings, the only members of the sparrow family reported recently were Dark-eyed Juncoes, American Tree Sparrows and a couple of reluctant-to-leave White-throated Sparrows at feeders in Caribou and Presque Isle. A young Red-winged Blackbird huddled under my feeder on the 5th was the latest I've ever had.
Many observers reported increasing numbers of Pine Grosbeaks over the past week. Flocks were seen in Ashland, Caribou, Chapman, Fort Fairfield, Presque Isle, Westfield and Woodland. Evening Grosbeaks are making a good showing as well, with flocks reported from Caribou, Portage Lake, Presque Isle and Woodland. Common Redpoll numbers increased but Pine Siskin numbers remain low. There was only a single report each of American Goldfinch and Purple Finch in the area this week.