Upcoming ABC trips for 2018
All trips open to anyone, free of charge (gas costs for carpooling on long trips may be shared). Please check back periodically for changes and additions.
September shore bird trip to Sewall or Popham Beach
Shorebird migration has begun and we have set a date for our annual trip to Seawall Beach at the Bates/Morse Mountain Conservation Area, Phippsburg, Sunday August 26, 2018.
For those who wish to carpool, meet at the Gardiner Hannaford store’s parking lot at 5:30 am. Park between the two entrances on the river side. We will leave promptly at 5:45 am. Or, you may meet the group at the parking area for Morse Mountain/Seawall Beach at 7:00 am. Directions: http://www.bates.edu/bates-morse-mountain-shortridge/driving-directions/#bates-morse-mountain-conservation-area
Doug Suitor has again generously agreed to lead this walk, as he did last year.
No rain date is scheduled due to the difficulties in coordinating weekend schedules with tides and migration. (Doug has assured us that it won’t rain, anyway 🙂 ) If it does turn out that rain is a deterrent, though, we will cancel via email.
RSVP to Cheryl Ring at email@example.com , or contact her with any questions or concerns.
There are no toilet facilities available. Carpoolers from Gardiner will make a comfort stop at the Cumberland Farms in Woolwich before we head down the peninsula.
From the parking area, we will walk ~2 miles over the gentle slope of Morse Mountain through coniferous forests to Seawall Beach. Walking on the beach may be another mile or so. There are usually greenheads or other biting insects on the woods path and/or on the beach; long pants and long sleeves may be advisable. Use/bring insecticide if you wish. Sneakers are fine for the walk.
Bring binoculars, spotting scopes if you wish (although there will be scopes to share), hat, water, food – anything you might like to ensure your comfort.
November 3 duck trip to Sabattus Pond. Rain date November 10. One of the best places in Maine for migrating ducks, particularly Ruddy Ducks and Scaup.
Selected Recent Completed Trips
Red-billed Tropicbird Seal Island trip, July 2018
Several ABC members braved the high seas (was actually fairly calm that day) in hopes of seeing the Red-billed Tropicbird at Seal Island. It’s a rare bird in the North Atlantic but one bird has been returning to Seal Island (south of Stonington) for a dozen or so summers. It can be disappointing to focus an entire trip on one bird and we did expect to see other good pelagic species. Happily, the Tropicbird did make an appearance and we also saw Great Cormorant (unusual breeders in the U.S.), Razorbill, Atlantic Puffins Common Murre, Manx Shearwater, Wilson’s Phalarope, and Arctic Tern among others.
Long Falls Dam Road boreal trip, June 2018
Ten of us had a good day birding in the north woods, on and near the Long Falls Dam Road near Flagstaff lake. We saw 58 species overall and a good variety, though fewer true boreal birds than we were hoping for. Highlights included Mourning Warbler, Boreal Chickadee, and Black-billed Cuckoo.
One of the goals of our trip was to document evidence of breeding for the Maine Bird Atlas, a 5-year statewide project. We were able to confirm breeding for several species, including finding a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nesting hole with adults actively feeding young and a hanging lichen nest woven by Northern Parulas, also with active feeding going on. We found at least some breeding evidence for 14 species of warbler. For some pictures plus site lists, see the below links:
Monhegan Island, May 2018: Eleven of us had a great time on Monhegan (except for the rough ride over) and spent most of the day out there. We saw 58 species of birds, including Blackpoll Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, and Puffin and Northern Gannett on the trip back.
Much gratitude to Howard Lake for initiating the trip and gathering information from several recent visitors there, so we could make the most of our time on the Island. All birders agreed that we should make this Monhegan trip an annual ABC event.
Long Falls Dam Road Trip near Flagstaff Lake, March 2018: 12 birders traveled to Somerset County on a quest for crossbills and other boreal species.
We were thrilled to observe a total of 24 Red Crossbills and 5 White-winged Crossbills – more Crossbills than any of us had ever seen in a single day. Also fun to see were 44 Pine Siskins, 12 Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Ruffed Grouse, and an adult Bald Eagle soaring overhead – and other more usual species. On the way home, we stopped at the Messalonskee boat launch in Belgrade and were pleased to see a Northern Harrier soaring over the marshes, and a flock of 13 springtime Red-winged Blackbirds flying by.
One of the purposes of the trip was not only to see crossbills, but to record their calls, with the intent of forwarding the sonograms to Cornell Researcher Matt Young for his analysis of which of the ten Types these crossbills represented. The usual “type” for Maine is #10, known as the “Sitka spruce” type and, indeed all of the Red Crossbills were observed in high concentrations of Red Spruce. However, Matt confirmed a Big Surprise – that 4 of the RECRs were Type 3 – a species found usually in the Hemlocks of the Pacific Northwest (but which are also highly irruptive). These Type 3s are apparently only the third time that Type 3’s have been documented in Maine, the first two on Monhegan in the fall/winter of 2012/2013.
Here is a link to Matt Young’s article discussing irruption and the ten types of crossbills, as well as links to calls for each type: https://ebird.org/news/crossbills-of-north-america-species-and-red-crossbill-call-types/
Our photos of crossbills may be seen in this eBird list:
We had a great day for our Morse Mountain/Seawall Beach on August 2017. Thanks to Doug Suitor for leading the trip. Highlights included a nice variety of species, including Northern Gannett flying offshore, Baird’s Sandpiper, and large numbers of Sanderlings. For a full list and some pictures:
We had a fun day of birding at Kibby Mountain, June 2017. Quite an adventure as you take a right just before Quebec and go 10 miles down logging roads to the trailhead. Fifteen of us made the trip.
Despite the wind and the heat, which probably kept some of our target birds well hidden, it was a wonderful day for a fairly bug-free hike with some great people. The highlight for many of us was the very cooperative Mourning Warbler along the Gold Brook logging road. This is a difficult bird to find, let alone photograph. Another highlight was hearing Bicknell’s Thrush at the top, amazing for the middle of the day and so warm and sunny. We had 35 species for the trip, including Blackburnian Warbler, many Blackpoll warblers (most heard, not seen), Swainson’s Thrush, Philadelphia Vireo, Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, and Rusty Blackbird.
Trips coordinated by Cheryl Ring, Glenn Hodgkins, and others