Monday, June 8, 2009

Northern Maine Birds 29 May -8 June 2009

The pattern of cool breezy weather continued through the first week of June here in northern Maine. Average winds were 5+ miles per hour with gusts in the teens to 20's mph on nearly every day. For temperature, most days started in the high 30s and peaked in the low sixties. A few showers punctuated the warmer days.

This sweater weather helped keep the biting bugs to a minimum. Trees are mostly leaved-out. A good cone set appears to be in the making...more on that later!

It appears to be an exceptional year for blossoming fruit trees and shrubs. Apples, Cherries, Cranberries and Mountain Ash have exceptional volume of flowers this year. Unfortunately there are very few pollinators around the trees.

Spring migration is winding down and though there were a few traveling individuals still trickling through or just arriving, most of the birds are now getting down to the business of raising young.

New and arriving species this week

Semipalmated Sandpiper (6/2)
Common Nighthawk (6/5)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (6/4)
Purple Martin (6/1)
Brown Thrasher (6/5)

The waterfowl highlight this week was a late migrant Brant that touched down for the day at Lake Josephine in Easton on the 3rd. This little goose is more commonly found in coastal setting and rarely seen inland. There are only a handful of records of Brant in northern Maine but this was the second found this spring! A close look at the great pictures that discoverer Paul Cyr took, shows some feather molt happening on the breast and neck. Shiny-black new feathers are replacing some of the worn remnants of its faded juvenal plumage. Also noteworthy, one last White-winged Scoter was also on the pond this week. Like the Brant, this individual seemed to be a youngster which explains the bird's slightly-behind-schedule movement northward.

A male Mallard x American Black Duck hybrid has been seen regularly here this week.

Other notables at Lake Josephine include Ruddy Ducks, Blue and Green winged Teal, American Wigeon, Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks and Common Goldeneye. Lake Jo is rapidly becoming a boys club as the females disappear (presumably onto nests in the remote nooks and crannies of this large wetland complex). Pairs of later nesting species seen included Blue-winged Teal, 8 (!) pairs of Gadwall and a few Ring-necked Ducks.

The first broods of Mallards and American Black Ducks were reported in the area this week. One family made short work of a vernal pools-worth of tadpoles in T8R7 in northern Penobscot county.

Raptor species reported this week included Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Northern Harrier, Broad Winged, Red-tailed , Sharp-shinned Hawks and Northern Goshawk. As predicted earlier, it looks like the Bald Eagles at the Stevensville area nest in Fort Fairfield abandoned without producing young. Ken Lamb found a vocal goshawk that would pose for him in Presque Isle.

At high noon on the 3rd, both Sora and Virginia Rails were heard at Christina Reservoir in Fort Fairfield

A late-migrant Semipalmated Sandpiper at Nadeau late on the 2nd was a good find. Though regular along the coast in spring, they're a tough bird to see inland. A male American Woodcock was still displaying behind my house in Woodland on the 3rd.

My first Common Nighthawk of the season was spotted over a clearcut in western-most Caswell this week. The bird was flying and doing its booming display in the middle of the day. This display probably indicates a breeding bird on territory rather than a late migrant. Common Nighthawks are rare breeders this far north.

Several pairs of Barred Owls were reported this week. In addition to pairs seen in Presque Isle and Fort Faifield, a pair in the Riviere-des-Chutes area of Easton is being seen moving to and from a nesting box in a tree there. Again Paul Cyr was there in the early AM to document the birds as they hunted.

Most woodpeckers are feeding young now. Some bedraggled and stained females are showing up as incubation ends and the period of fledgling feeding begins. An American Three-toed Woodpecker was found near Martin Pond in Caswell this week.

With the late arrival of Eastern Wood-Pewee (Fort Fairfield) the full complement of breeding flycatchers are now present. Yellow-Bellieds were heard in Caswell, Cyr, Hamlin, New Sweden and Woodland and Olive-sideds are vocally proclaiming territories in Caswell and Hamlin. A Least Flycatcher nest with three eggs was found in a small birch near Lake Josephine this week. the Great-crested Flycatchers were carrying nesting material into a snag cavity in the Nature Conservancy's Woodland Bog Preserve here in Woodland.

Cedar Waxwings were widely reported this week. Small flocks were seen gobbling up apple blossom petals in many locations. Ken Lamb photographed this dour pair in Chapman this week. A Bank Swallow colony along the Aroostook River near Camp Nomacca in Mapleton had 40+ birds early last week. A former breeder in Aroostook County, the first Purple Martins (2) reported in the area several years are said to be visiting a house in Stockholm. The first Brown Thrasher reported this year was seen near the Presque Isle Airport.

A flurry of Eastern Bluebird reports and sightings seems to support the assertion that a late arriving wave of bluebirds moved into the area in late May. Pairs Eastern Bluebirds were seen in Garfield Plantation, Oxbow, Perham, Portage Lake, Presque Isle, Stockholm and Woodland. At the top of this post, Paul Cyr photographed a pair feeding young out on the Mouse Island Road in Perham on the 7th. Kathy Hoppe sent over a picture of her male as it posed from the railing of her porch in Portage Lake.

More Gray Jay families were seen this week. These included several in the Salmon Brook Bog in Perham and four in Hamlin on the 6th.

"Only" seventeen species of warbler were reported this week. Noteworthy were the late arriving Blackpolls that were heard in Fort Fairfield, Hamlin, Washburn and Woodland and continued through at least the 4th of June. Other good warblers including a singing Mourning in Cyr Plantation and a Wilson's in Perham on the 6th as well as several singing Blackburnian and Bay-breasteds in Aroostook State Park in Presque Isle on the 8th.

Singing Lincoln's Sparrows were heard in many locations north of Presque Isle this week. While most were located in regenerating clear cuts or fields, at least one Lincoln's was found down in the Salmon Brook Bog in Perham.

A recent addition to the list of species of to worry about, a Rusty Blackbird was seen carrying food across a recently flooded clearcut off the McLean Brook Road in Sinclair. It would appear this birds are now feeding fledglings!

A few Pine Siskins are still being seen amongst the American Goldfinches and Purple Finches wherever seed is still being doled out. A pair of Evening Grosbeaks continues to visit my yard in Woodland daily.


Squirrel said...

Beautiful photos! I saw the first Cedar Waxwing of the season this past weekend in Corea, ME

Bill Sheehan said...

Thanks Squirrel! Kathy Ken and Paul get all the credit. I just write the captions!

BirdingMaine said...

I too have noticed a profusion of blossoms here on the mid coast this year. Very nice photos! We have serveral Cedar Waxwings picking at the blueberry blossoms in our yard. I also saw a CEWA on a nest last week at Capsisic Park in Portland. Don't know if it was its nest, but it was there none-the-less.

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