Saturday, December 22, 2007

Northern Maine Birds 6-21 December 2007

The last couple of weeks have been colder and snowier than normal by far. Snow depths continue to be ~3 feet in most sheltered areas and deeper in some of the woodlots downwind of fields. It has snowed on 15 of the first 20 days of December and temps have regularly dipped below zero at night….Caribou received 17+ inches of new snow with last weekend’s wild storm. I can’t wait for winter to start… on the calendar.

Open water is quite limited now (mostly below dams).

The only waterfowl seen in central Aroostook were 60+ American Black Ducks and Mallards in Presque Isle Stream near the wastewater treatment plant and a handful of Common Golden-eyes and Common Mergansers below the Aroostook River dam in Caribou.

Bald Eagles were seen in Presque Isle, Easton, Fort Fairfield and Caribou. Rough-legged Hawks were seen in Fort Fairfield and Easton. An uncommon brown-type, dark phase was photographed on the Aroostook River bridge in Fort Fairfield on the 8th. Rare for northern Maine, a Coopers Hawk has been visiting yards with feeders in Presque Isle.

A few Great Black-backed Gulls lingered in Fort Fairfield through at least the 15th

A count of 20+ Mourning Doves were reported from a feeder in Presque Isle following the storm on the 16th and 17th. Other larger-than-usual flocks were seen in Mapleton and Washburn. Owl reports continue with the season’s first Snowy Owl that was unfortunately struck by a vehicle in Presque Isle on the 10th. A hunting Northern Hawk Owl was reported from the Christina Reservoir area in Fort Fairfield on Wednesday, but has not been relocated since. A Barred Owl was hunting in the sunny afternoon on the 21st in Presque Isle when Paul Cyr photographed it. The widespread reports of Barred Owls being seen in the daylight hours in Maine this winter has some people thinking these birds are having a tough winter already and they are stressed and hungry enough to come out in daylight.

Three Pileated Woodpeckers were feeding simultaneously on a single tree trunk near Madawaska Lake in T16R4 on the 15th. Others were reported from Easton, Castle Hill and Mapleton. Drumming Hairy Woodpeckers were heard in Mt Chase.

A late American Robin was nibbling apples in Presque Isle on the 9th. Only a couple of Bohemian Waxwings were reported in the area this week. The small flock was seen in Mt Chase. These too, were chipping away at larger frozen apples now that most of the smaller fruits have been eaten.

The rare Tufted Titmouse continued to show up at the feeder in Presque Isle where its been seen for over a month.

Alice Sheppard got this nice photo of the bird. Boreal Chickadees were heard in Woodland on the 15th.

There are still plenty of American Crows being reported from around the area. Some Common Ravens appear to acting a bit more territorial lately with a few aerial squabbles noted. Paul’s game camera captured this well behaved group late last week. A Northern Shrike was seen along the interstate in Oakfield on the 18th.

Unusual anytime of year, but exceptional in winter was a Field Sparrow reported at a feeder in Presque Isle. Large flocks of Snow Buntings continue to be seen in northern and central Aroostook County. A few lingering Dark-eyed Juncos and American Tree Sparrows have also been seen in Woodland, Caribou and Presque Isle.

Northern Cardinal reports continue from several locations including Caribou (3+), Houlton (1) Mapleton(1) and Presque Isle (2). Tom and Theresa Johnson photographed this female at a feeder in Caribou.

Pine and Evening Grosbeaks are still being seen daily in central and southern Aroostook. Common Redpolls have only been reported in single digit numbers recently and may be departing the area. American Goldfinches have likewise been seen in small numbers. No other finch species were reported.

The Presque Isle Christmas Bird count is Saturday December 29th!

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