Trips

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.

Augusta Birding Club at the Hallowell Reservoir (Black-billed Cuckoo) photo by Glenn Hodgkins
Birding trip at Viles Arboretum, photo by Elise Klysa

June 23 boreal bird trip to Long Falls Dam Road and some logging roads near Flagstaff Lake. We will leave at 5:30am from the north end of the Turnpike Mall in Augusta (former Sears parking lot). Please contact Glenn Hodgkins at hodgkinsglenn@gmail.com if you plan to go. We will carpool as much as possible.

We will look for boreal species along Long Falls Dam Road near Flagstaff Lake and some of the logging roads up there. Lots of stops along the roads and walking along the roads. Could be up to 5 miles of walking but much of it will be out and back so variable amounts are possible. We expect to return in the afternoon or early evening. We hope to see boreal birds such as Cape May Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Rusty Blackbird. Also warblers such as Blackburnian, Canada, Magnolia, and Nashville.

There are no stores or inside bathrooms along after the start of Long Falls Dam Road in New Portland. There is an outhouse toward the end of Long Falls Dam Road (at the Maine Huts and Trails Flagstaff Hut parking area). Plan on packing a lunch, water, bug spray, and any needed supplies. Cell phone reception is minimal to non-existent. The logging roads we’ll be on are in pretty good shape but still have some rocks that need to be avoided in places. All should be passable with a 2WD car with reasonable clearance. One of the logging roads is fairly bony and will require going slow.

September shore bird trip to Sewall or Popham Beach.

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

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.

Augusta birding Club on Monhegan, photo by Brenda Lake

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.

https://ebird.org/atlasme/view/checklist/S46051657

https://ebird.org/me/view/checklist/S46024747

https://ebird.org/me/view/checklist/S46024629

Female Blackpoll Warbler, Monhegan Island, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

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.

Red Crossbills, Long Falls Dam Road, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

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:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S43351829

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:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38883903

Sanderlings, Seawall Beach, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

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.

Augusta Birding Club at the top of Kibby Mountain

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.

Mourning Warbler, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

 

Trips coordinated by Glenn Hodgkins, Cheryl Ring, and others