Monday, September 20, 2010

Great Egret continuing at Collins Pond, Caribou

Great Egrets are a rarity in northern Maine. They appear occasionally in spring and fall, and being big and snowy white they certainly aren't hard to detect once they arrive. I know of at least 7 records involving 9 individuals in the county in the past ten years.

Most recently a Great Egret has been regularly seen wading and feeding in shallow wetland edge of Collins Pond in Caribou. I first found the big wader here on Sept 7 and the bird continues to be seen daily through today, the 20th.

Paul Cyr got these great shots of the egret last week on the 14th and I've been meaning to share them.

The Great Egret can be separated from other large white wading bird by the combination of its large size, yellow bill and black legs and feet. All these are seen well in this great shot of the flying bird!

Another Great Egret was reported in Fort Fairfield about the same time this one arrived early in September. No further reports have been received about this bird.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yellow-headed Black bird and Red-necked Phalarope

I went afield this morning, to see what was around prior to the arrival of the wrath of Earl. It turned out to be one of the better birding days I've had in a while. Abundant migrants and few rareties made it special. 83 species total.

Highlights were a Yellow-headed Blackbird (a state bird for me) and eleven species of shorebirds including an American Golden Plover and my county/inland-first Red-necked Phalarope.

The blackbird was found in a large flock of Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds at Barren Lake in south east Caribou. I believe this is the second county record and the first in fall. Here is a digiscoped documentation shot taken from across the pond... I don't know much about the plumage and molt of this species, but I think this bird was an adult female. I'd love to hear from anyone more knowledgeable regarding the age and sex of this bird.

The rare shorebirds were at Lake Josephine in Easton.

Though numbers here were down a bit from mid August highs, the diversity made up for it. Obviously the Red-necked Phalarope was the highlight here. This species is usually encountered well offshore in Maine and inland records are few. My high-noon digiscoped photos of the phalarope leave something to be desired thanks to the wind and magnification... Lesser Yellowlegs continue to dominate the counts here but eight Pectoral Sandpipers and a flyover American Golden Plover were also treats!

There were quite a few raptors moving with American Kestrels and Merlins dominating the count.

If this is whats around BEFORE the hurricane, I can't wait to see what falls out after the blow....