All posts by Josh

Rare Bird Alert: Little Egret

Photo of Little Egret (25 Jul 2017)
Falmouth, ME | 25 Jul 2017

For the 5th year since 2011 (and the 3rd year in a row), a rare Little Egret has been observed in southern coastal Maine. First reported this year on July 11th, I tried several times over the next two weeks to find the bird, who looks very much like a Snowy Egret, but kept coming up empty. Finally on July 25th, thanks in large part to the reports of other birders, I managed to locate the bird with 9 Snowy Egrets near the north meadow blind at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.

To learn more about this white wading bird, read How to see a Little Egret by Doug Hitchcox. To view the following images in full-size, click here.

17.31 | Nature Notes (Jul 30 – Aug 5)

Photo of Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull | Biddeford, ME | 4 Aug 2017

Highlights of the Week

The fruits of Velvet-leaved Blueberry and Black Huckleberry are ripe.

During a deep sea fishing trip out of Kennebunk to Jeffreys Ledge, I caught Cod, Cusk, and Pollock. Additionally, I observed 2 Ocean Sunfish, several Sharks (not sure which kinds), ~1000 Wilson's Storm-Petrels, and several other pelagic bird species including my FOY Great Shearwater, Leach's Storm-Petrel*, and Pomarine Jaeger.

Other FOY birds included Hudsonian Godwit*, Cory's Shearwater, and a rare Black-necked Stilt* (Lifer!).

*first located by another birder and subsequently seen by me

Wild Edible of the Week

I ate some of the Pollock (so good!) from my fishing trip (see above) and put several pounds in my freezer.

Nature Challenge of the Week (for you, the reader)

Locate and identify 3 types of ferns using a field guide or an online tool like Go Botany's fern key.


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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. Thank you!

Shorebirds: American Oystercatcher

Photo of American Oystercatcher

A bright, red-orange bill and bubblegum colored legs make American Oystercatchers one of the easiest New England shorebirds to identify. Being easy to identify, however, doesn't mean they're easy to find. American Oystercatchers are listed as a species of special concern in Maine, which is the northern edge of their Atlantic coast range, with only 4 to 8 nesting pairs in the entire state.* If you live in coastal New England, or plan to visit this summer, and want a chance at finding an American Oystercatcher, help narrow your search by checking out recent sightings on eBird. Governed by rising and falling tides, American Oystercatchers forage at lower tides on mudflats, beaches, and shellfish beds. During high tide, they roost on islands or in coastal dunes.

To learn more about these large, bivalve-eating, pink-legged shorebirds, visit All About Birds. To view the following images in full-size, click here.

*Maine 2015 Wildlife Action Plan Revision

17.30 | Nature Notes (Jul 23-29)

Photo of Little Egret (left) and Snowy Egrets
Little Egret (left) and Snowy Egrets | Falmouth, ME | 25 Jul 2017

Highlights of the Week

After a few failed attempts to find the rare Little Egret (who has been sighted off-and-on in the Portland area since 11 July), I finally locked eyes on the bird roosting with 9 Snowy Egrets off the north meadow at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.

I saw and heard juvenile Common and Roseate Terns begging their parents for fish and saw a migrant Caspian Tern, at Hills Beach in Biddeford.

I observed many boreal forest birds, including White-winged and Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, and Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatcher during a 2-day, 1-night trip to Piscataquis County.

Wild Edible of the Week

I snacked on various wild Blueberries in both southern and central Maine.

Nature Challenge of the Week (for you, the reader)

Locate 2 damselfly species at a freshwater wetland.


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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. Thank you!