At the beginning of the month, I found this Peregrine Falcon perched on a power pole overlooking a Biddeford beach. Peregrines are accomplished, tremendously swift bird-hunters. In cities, they often focus on plentiful Rock Pigeons; in coastal areas, shorebirds and ducks are among their prey.
Last week, I found these butterflies (American Copper, above, and Pearl Crescent*, below) nectaring on Lance-leaved American-aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum). As the white season approaches, fewer species of butterflies remain active, but some are still around for the observant naturalist to notice.
*I've since learned that it is quite difficult to tell Pearl Crescents and Northern Crescents apart. So, it is possible that my identification is incorrect. If I'd taken this photo in Massachusetts, where only Pearls are present, I'd feel more confident about my ID, but here in Maine, both species are possible.
"Hey, did you see the cormorant over there."
"The one on that large rock in the river."
"Oh, no, I didn't. Did you see the flock of 200 that just flew over?"
Large flocks of Double-crested Cormorants (pictured) are heading south. By winter, these birds will have left the northern states, making room for smaller numbers of Great Cormorants who have spent the summer in eastern coastal Canada.
In coastal New England, the word "goose" is synonymous with the Canada Goose. Domestic "barn-yard" breeds aside, Canada Geese are by far the most common geese around, but occasionally another type makes an appearance. In late September, I noticed this Snow Goose with a flock of Canada Geese near the eastern end of West Street in Biddeford, Maine. The bird kept close to the road for much of the week, before seemingly leaving town. But on Saturday, another birder noticed this white one just two miles north, on the University of New England campus. I'm curious when (or if) this bird will skip town for good. Given the relative rarity of Snow Geese in southern Maine, I assume all of the recent Biddeford sightings are of the same bird. Scan flocks near you, and you may find your own oddity.
Are Snow Geese being reported near you? Zoom this eBird sightings map to your location and find out.