I and the Bird

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Update from Maine

Well Kate and I have had an awesome bunch of days in Maine. The weather has been alternating between sunny and gorgeous and cloudy and lame, but this afternoon is great.

I've been out and about and seen some nice birds so far. On Sunday I took a quick trip to Evergreen cemetery, an excellent warbler migration spot, but didn't have much luck, it being mid-summer and all. The best bird was a singing American Redstart, the first of the season for me, which gave great looks.

Today I went down to Higgins Beach in Scarborough to lay in the sun do something about my offensively white skin. I brought my binoculars along in case I saw anything, but I didn't want anyone to mistake me for some creeper leering at chicks in bikinis so I kept a low profile.

The birdlife was in high gear, though, and I quickly forgot about what anyone would think of me running around a crowded beach with high-powered binoculars. Out on the northern end of the beach is the mouth of the Spurwink River, which flows though the legendary Maine birding spot, the Scarborough Marsh. Common and (my lifer) Least Terns were diving into the swift current at the mouth and more often than not coming up with fish. Also along the riverside were Eiders, Laughing Gulls, Willet and Spotted Sandpiper.

The best birds, though, were a group of plovers that were noisily flying back and forth across the river and dunes. I figured they were semipalms, but through the binoculars I noticed that they were much lighter colored and had little black on their faces. That leaves, of course, Piping Plovers, a bird that I had tried to find unsuccessfully a few other times in Maine. I had no idea that there was a colony on Higgins Beach (behind a fenced off area, no less), right at my favorite surf spot. Outstanding.

On Friday I'm planning on hitting up Kennebunk Plains where with luck I'll see Upland Sandpipers, Vesper Sparrows and maybe get a look at one of the Clay-Colored Sparrows that's been lingering around. Stay tuned.
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Location: Portland, ME

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