Life List Bird Game #31

Identify the birds in the following photographs, all of which were taken by me in New England. This gallery of untitled photos is randomly arranged and includes more than one photo of most species. If you get stuck, the 10 possibilities (in my Life List order) are provided below. If you're reading this post via e-mail, visit the blog to view the full-size images.

The Birds of Life List Bird Game #31

301. Cave Swallow
302. Yellow-breasted Chat
303. Yellow-throated Warbler
304. Black-throated Sparrow
305. Mew Gull
306. Red-headed Woodpecker
307. Gray Jay
308. Boreal Chickadee
309. Black-backed Woodpecker
310. Western Grebe

Hint: You can use the photo filename to check your guesses. For example: 008grca.jpg corresponds with my 8th Life Bird: Gray Catbird.

16.16 | Nature Notes (May 18-24)

Photo of Bee on Beach Plum
Bee on Beach Plum | Ogunquit, ME | 18 May 2016

Here are some nature notes from around (mostly) southern Maine:

  • singing Grasshopper Sparrow (FOY) on Maguire Rd., Kennebunk
  • 13 Northern Shovelers and a Ruff (Life Bird!) at Weskeag Marsh, South Thomaston
  • 4 Swainson's Thrushes and a Lincoln's Sparrow (FOY) at Timber Point Trail, Biddeford
  • White-faced Ibis (FOY) at Capisic Pond Park, Portland
  • migrating Common Nighthawks (FOY -- 1 on 5/21, 12+ on 5/23) over Guinea Rd., K'port
  • 225+ Double-crested Cormorants (nesting colony on Bumpkin Island), 9 Black-crowned Night-Herons (on Bumpkin Island), 1 Sora, and 12+ Purple Sandpipers along Ocean Ave., K'port
  • Willow Flycatcher (FOY) singing at Misty Harbor Resort, Mile Rd., Wells
  • 122+ Least Terns on docks in Wells Harbor
  • a few unidentified first-of-year dragonflies and damselflies near a small pond in Wells
  • at Wells Reserve at Laudholm, Wells: Blue-winged Warbler and drumming Ruffed Grouse along the Muskie Trail; and Hooded Merganser, 2 Virginia Rails, Marsh Wren (FOY), and Nelson's Sparrow (FOY) from the Pilger Trail observation deck
  • Beach Plum, Rhodora, Hawthorn, Starflower (Lysimachia borealis), and a type of Blue-eyed-grass (Sisyrinchium sp.) flowering

To view the following images in full-size, click here.

Warblers: Bay-breasted Warbler

Photo of Bay-breasted Warbler

With a few minutes to spare on my way to work one morning last September, I stopped to scan for birds where I often do, at a spot where the road crosses a small river. Chestnut-sided Warblers tend to be the most talkative warbler at this spot, but that morning another warbler foraging in a Hawthorn tree caught my attention. I wasn't immediately sure who I was seeing, but I managed to snap a few photos before I had to get back in my car and on my way.

Later, after reviewing the photos, consulting some field guides, and checking with a knowledgeable birder, I determined I'd found a life bird, a rather drab (1st-winter) Bay-breasted Warbler.

Fast forward to the weekend before last, when I was leading a plant walk in Biddeford. We were nearly at our next plant -- who happened to be a Hawthorn tree -- when I noticed a bird had beaten us to the spot. I stopped in my tracks, raised my binoculars (yes, I'd worn them on a plant walk), and almost immediately burst with excitement. At long last, I'd found my first springtime Bay-breasted Warbler, a male with plumage I'd only seen before in field guides.

Photo of Bay-breasted Warbler

With my attention captured by the bird, Jenny introduced Hawthorn to the walk participants. A few minutes later, I rejoined the group, and we headed off to end our walk with Black Locust. With the walk completed, Jenny and I set off determined to re-find the warbler. A few minutes of scanning turned up the bird, and I was able to snap some better photos to share with you here (my earlier attempts during the walk were out of focus, but one made for a fun photo quiz).

To learn about the identification and life history of Bay-breasted Warblers and to listen to a sample of their high-pitched song, visit All About Birds.

Photo of Bay-breasted Warbler

16.15 | Nature Notes (May 11-17)

Photo of White-rumped Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper | Biddeford, ME | 14 May 2016

Here are some nature notes from around southern Maine:

  • 4 juvenile Killdeer, 2 Solitary Sandpipers (FOY), 4 American Pipits (FOY), 12 Bobolink (FOY) and 6+ nest-building Cliff Swallows at Iris Meadow Farm, Downing Rd., Arundel
  • 2 Cape May Warblers (Lifer!), 2 Northern Parulas (FOY), 6 Prairie Warblers (FOY), 5 Solitary Sandpipers, and a Veery (FOY) at the Kennebunk Plains
  • Swainson's Thrush (FOY) at York County Community College, Wells
  • 23 Glossy Ibis (flyover flock), American Oystercatcher (on East Goose Rocks), Least Flycatcher (FOY), continuing White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo (FOY), Swainson's Thrush, and Blackpoll Warbler (FOY) at Timber Point Trail, at the end of Granite Point Rd., Biddeford
  • Sora (FOY), 100+ Least Sandpipers, Warbling Vireos (FOY), Red-eyed Vireos (FOY), American Redstarts (FOY), Scarlet Tanager (FOY), Indigo Bunting (FOY) and an American Lady butterfly at the Sanford Lagoons
  • Common Strawberry, Hairy-stemmed Gooseberry, Fringed Milkwort (Polygala paucifolia), Dwarf Ginseng (Panax trifolius) and Pin Cherry flowering
  • edible leaves of American Linden expanding

Other FOY's this week: Great Crested Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Least Tern, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Blackburnian Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Tennessee Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, White-rumped Sandpiper, Bay-breasted Warbler, Orchard Oriole, and Canada Warbler

To view the following images in full-size, click here.