I and the Bird

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

New IATB and some Maine Birding

The 35th edition of I and the Bird Blogger Carnival is up at Migrations. My recent interview with Brian Walton of the Santa Cruz Predatory Research Group is up there for all to enjoy, as are a ton of other posts from birding blogs around the globe.

No word yet on a new blog...my laptop power cord is shot and I'm waiting for a replacement before I tackle anything else.

I've been birding in Maine for the last couple days, and it's been great. On Monday I got a new pair of binoculars, and it's like a whole new world out there. My previous pair, some Nikon Owl IIs from, like, the 1970s, crapped out during my pelagic trip (how do binoculars stop working?! I dunno they wouldn't focus...). Based partly on a recommendation from Paul Guris and largely on some testing at the Wild Bird Center of Yarmouth (a great store), I am the proud owner of a spanking new pair of Nikon Monarch 10x42 binoculars. Great stuff.

My first stop with the new glasses was Falmouth Town Landing, right near where I grew up. The difference between the new goggles and my old Owls was amazing, and I could pick out detail and color that I never would have been able to before. As sort of a welcoming gift from nature, I saw two lifers right off Town Landing, a red-necked grebe and a blue-headed vireo.

The next day I trekked out to Dragon Fields, a famous local sparrow hangout. I had never been to Dragon Fields before (named after the neighboring Dragon cement plant), and was amazed at the habitat potential. The 'field' is in fact a large capped landfill that is excellent for sparrows, hawk-watching (it appears to be one of the highest points in Falmouth), and other open field birds like longspur. The sparrows weren't cooperating, but I did get a glimpse at what I think was a mourning warbler (brown/gray above, strong yellow below, white eye ring). It didn't stick around long enough for a good ID, though. In any case, I'll be back to Dragon Fields for sure.

Finally I made the trip down to one of my favorite places in the world, Fort Williams State Park in Cape Elizabeth. Just a beautiful spot. I saw two Ipswich Savannah Sparrows, along with about 1500 common eiders, just beginning their molt.

More Maine news as it comes, I'm going with some family members up to our hunting camp at Shirley Bog near Greenville, and there's a possibility of some gray jays, spruce grouse and other crazy species. I'll keep you posted.
Glad to hear about the good time you are having in our state.

A great place to check out if you have time is Eastern Point Sanctuary at Biddeford Pool. Nice walk with a beautiful view of Saco Bay and Wood Island Lighthouse. Plenty of bird species to view and photograph.
Thanks, John.

I've been to the Eastern Point Sanctuary a couple times, and love it (plus, got my life Brant and Purple Finch there). It's really a treasure to have such an untouched section of coast.

Also, I have to tell you, Maine is my state too (check out the tatoo on my art). I was born and bred here and I've moved back for a month before heading to Colorado. Now I just need to change the name of this blog!
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