16.29 | Nature Notes (Aug 17-23)

Photo of Piping Plovers (juveniles)
Piping Plovers (juveniles) | Biddeford, ME | 20 Aug 2016

Here are some nature notes from around York County, Maine:

  • the rare Little Egret continues in Biddeford Pool
  • juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the marsh along Harbor Road, Wells, and at least one more continuing at Great Pond, Biddeford Pool
  • 7 Piping Plovers and 1 Baird's Sandpiper at the Basket Island Causeway, Hills Beach, Biddeford
  • 4 Piping Plovers, 25 Laughing Gulls, and 24 Least Terns (including 6+ fluffy juveniles) at Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport
  • 500+ Swallows (presumably mostly Tree Swallows) over Stage Island, K'port
  • 3 Blue-winged Teal, 1 Little Blue Heron (juvenile), 2 Green Herons, 14 Bank Swallows, and 3 Bobolink at the Sanford Lagoons
  • 35 Northern Gannets observed from Great Hill Rd., Kennebunk
  • Canada Hawkweed (Hieracium kalmii),¬†Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), Giant Knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis), and Tall Rattlesnake-root (Nabalus altissimus) flowering
  • Black Cherry, Choke Cherry, Common Blackberry, and Black Elderberry have ripe fruit

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Dragonflies: Widow Skimmer

Photo of Widow Skimmer

The wing pattern of a male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) is distinctive among New England dragonflies. No other species has broad dark patches at the base of the wings bordered by white bands. Females and immature males have similarly patterned wings, minus the white bands, and have black-and-yellow striped abdomens, unlike the blue/gray abdomen of an adult male. Widow Skimmers breed in still-water wetlands, but may forage well away from water. They're most active in New England during the warm months of June, July and August.

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Upcoming Events:

8/24 -- Introduction to Foraging Wild Plants (Talk)
8/27 -- Summer Edibles: Eastern Trail
8/28 -- Summer Edibles: Emmons Preserve
9/9, 9/10 -- Guided Plant Walk

Visit my events page for details and to sign-up...

Shorebirds: Baird’s Sandpiper

Photo of Baird's Sandpiper

In August, on some New England beaches, Semipalmated Sandpipers can be seen by the hundreds, if not thousands. Other species, like Baird's Sandpiper, who mostly migrate through the central part of the continent, most often occur in New England as single birds. More juvenile Baird's are seen each year (primarily mid-Aug to early-Oct) than adults, suggesting that inexperienced birds are more likely to wander off-course. Either that, or juvenile birds spread out because they know how much birders adore their scaly back pattern and buffy-golden plumage.

Compared with a Semipalmated Sandpiper, Baird's is a larger bird (similar in size to a White-rumped Sandpiper), with wings that extend noticeably beyond the tail feathers. To learn more about Baird's Sandpipers, visit All About Birds.

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16.28 | Nature Notes (Aug 10-16)

Photo of Seaside Goldenrod

Here are some nature notes from around York County, Maine:

  • continuing Little Egret, 2 continuing Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, and a juvenile Baird's Sandpiper (FOY) at Great Pond, 1st Street, Biddeford Pool
  • Northern Shoveler and Solitary Sandpiper at the Sanford Lagoons
  • 150 Black-bellied Plovers, 300 Semipalmated Plovers, 3 Piping Plovers, a juvenile Baird's Sandpiper, an adult White-rumped Sandpiper, 200 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 100 Short-billed Dowitchers, and more at Hills Beach, Biddeford
  • 10+ Great Blue Herons, 1 Great Egret, 1 Green Heron, and 5+ Black-crowned Night-Herons at freshwater marsh along Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport
  • during a foraging workshop, I ate fruits of Black Chokeberry, Black Huckleberry, Common Lowbush Blueberry, Pin Cherry, Choke Cherry, and Blackberry (Rubus sp.), and nibbled some flowers and leaves of Tall Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)
  • Virginia Virgin's-bower (Clematis virginiana), Scotch Wild Lovage (Ligusticum scoticum), Common Ground-nut (Apios americana), Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), and Tall White-aster (Doellingeria umbellatus) flowering

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My work as a naturalist is supported by readers like you. To pledge a monthly contribution of $1 or more, please visit Patreon. Thanks!