Laurie and I took a paddle around Fish River Lake in T13/14R5 on
Sunday, 11 July. Though we started our drive out to the lake early, frequent
side explorations and bird distractions resulted in our lake tour
being a mid-day affair. The lake is located west of Route 11 and
northwest of Portage Lake.
Notable finds were a sizeable Common Tern colony (22 birds) on a small ledge. The agitated birds obviously had nests on the rock and I caught quick glimpses of larger, gray and fuzzy chicks. ( I later found out from Jon Greenlaw that terns have nested at this location for many years.) We gave the terns a wide berth and let the breeze carry us away from the rock.
We pulled in behind a small island nearby, so I could watch the terns without disturbing them. While sneaking through the thick brush on the islet, I discovered an apparent Herring Gull nest on a ledge outcrop under the branches of a spruce tree. The nest was on the highest vantage point of the rock and was really just a shallow depression in the woody duff and moss under the trees. The nest contained only a few gull feathers to hint at the identity of its creator.
Before retreating, I snapped a couple quick photos of the nest ....
and the handsome olive-with-umber spotted egg.
I was surprised I didn't notice the Herring Gull doing any sort of a distraction display or calls when I unknowingly approached its nest. It was, however keeping a close watch of me with its cold yellow eye....
While I'm sure coastal birders would yawn about gull nesting "news", it was the first Herring Gull nest I've found in Aroostook Co.
There were also 40+ Ring-billed Gulls on the lake but these appeared
to be summering non-breeders. These were loafing on a rock bar mid lake well away from the breeding birds on the north end.
Of course, there were the expected Common Loons, Bald Eagle, Common Mergansers as well as a couple of immature Double crested Cormorants loafing on ledge in the south basin. Good birds all, but the larid show was most interesting to this land locked birder
Bird song is beginning to wane in the north as well, but there was a
decent bunch of vocal land birds on the trip to the lake. A singing male Fox Sparrow near the Beaver Brook Bridge was a nice surprise. We heard twelve species of warblers with the best among them being Canada and Blackburnian. Boreal Chickadees, a pair of deep-woods Chimney Swifts and a steady chorus of thrush song were also enjoyed.