Friday, April 3, 2009

Mid-Coast Maine Birds 3/23 to 3/25

After viewing the Ross' Geese in Essex County I headed north to visit friends, Thom and Sue, in Alna, Maine (Lincoln County). Monday morning Thom took me to a chicken farm in Warren were apparenty they must be "slinging" chicken parts out the back door because the trees were loaded with Bald Eagles. We counted 16 perched in the trees and at least another 4 up in the sky with several ravens. A Black Vulture had been reported from there the previous week, but we could not find it (Sue had photographed one there during the winter of 2008).

Below are a few digi-scope shots of a few eagles from the "chicken farm", the real name is Mainely Poultry.

A few Juveniles, the bird facing away has some very "bleached out" feathers on its upper wings and back.

A Juvenile

A white-bellied
A nice adult.
On Tuesday the 24th, the three of us tried for the Northern Hawk Owl, that had wintered in Bristol, but saw no sign of it. Judging from the old foot prints and tire tracks on the side of the road we were in the right place or rather what previously had been the right place. We continued on toward Pemiquid Point to look for some ocean birds. With very cold NW winds we were not expecting much for seabirds but we managed Common Eider, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-necked and Horned Grebe (a few each), 2 breeding plumage Razorbills and Black Guillemots in plumages ranging from winter to breeding.

You know your in the country when.....
you reach Cow Shit Corner!
A winter or basic plumage Black Guillemot at Pemiquid Pt.
The Pemiquid PT. Lighthouse

After lunch we checked on an eagle nest, along the Sheepscot River, just down the road from their house, which had a bird sitting on eggs for at least a few days. We viewed the nest from across the river in a small clearing with a buffer of small pines between the nest and us.

A digi-scope shot through a 32x Scope plus the camera zoom and some cropping.

After about 15 minutes the above bird's mate took flight and began to gain altitude, a gave a look up over its should, similar to the photo below, apparently for another bird. We found the other bird, expecting it to be another Bald was not....BUT it was juvenile Golden Eagle! It stayed up fair high and distant, but features such as , its smaller head, golden nap (through the scopes), whiteish base to the flight feathers (but fairly limited, forming more of a line rather than the classic white patches) against dark wings and body, goldish upper wing coverts, white based tail with thick dark termial band. It kept moving north quartering a strong head wind and there was no interaction between the Bald and Golden.

The Bald settled back down and reappeared a few minutes later, this time it spotted a 4th year Bald Eagle and two interacted at relatively close range, I snapped a few digi-bin photos...

The non-incubating bird sees an interloper.....
Looks like a 4th year bird.
Both birds together
After viewing the nest area we headed toward Wiscasset, and spotted a Turkey Vulture in a front yard working over the remains of a dead skunk. Sue had seen two there the day before, and now the skunk was essentially just a pelt, but there must have been some "goodies" still attached! We pulled over and I got a few shot through the "bins". The best one is below.....

The little blob at its feet are what is left of the skunk..other than the smell.

After birding a bit of the "bay" in Wiscasset we headed back to the house for dinner, a healthy portion of red wine and listened to some CD's in Thom's studio.. to digest a good day in the field.

Not a bad setup to listen to a little or a lot of music!

Wednesday morning Thom and I hung out on the back deck and enjoyed some yard birds, sans Charlie Parker. We had a nice assorment of typical stuff and a few new arrivals such as Rusty Blackbird and Eastern Meadowlark. Raptors from the deck included Bald Eagle, Red-tails, Sharp-shinned, Cooper's Hawk and Turkey Vultures. No Osprey, but I think Thom had one the next day!

A Sharp-shinned through the bins

a passing adult Red-tailed hawk through the bins.

Thom is viewing a passing Bald Eagle
The Eastern Meadowlark's back blends in nicely with the brown grass.

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