Category Archives: Nature Notes

16.11 | Nature Notes (Apr 13-19)

Photo of Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture | Kennebunkport, ME | 15 Apr 2016

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

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

What natural happenings have you noticed in the last week? I invite you to share your observations in the comments section of today's post.

16.10 | Nature Notes (Apr 6-12)

Photo of American Coot
American Coot | Sanford, ME | 8 Apr 2016

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

  • 50 Brant near Halftide Rock, viewable from Vines Landing, Biddeford Pool
  • 2 Swamp Sparrows at marsh along Timber Point Trail, Biddeford
  • Winter Wren, 2 Pine Warblers, and a Deer Tick (FOY) along the Merriland River and Chipping Sparrow (FOY) at Merriland Farm, both locations along Coles Hill Rd., Wells
  • 2 Lesser Scaup (FOS), Osprey (FOY), Northern Harrier, American Coot (FOY), Snowy Owl (see note below), and 120 Tree Swallows at Sanford Lagoons
  • Common Dandelion flowering at a spot in Biddeford
  • 3 Snowy Egrets (FOY) in marsh south of Bridge Rd., Biddeford
  • 5 Piping Plovers and an "Ipswich" Savannah Sparrow at Fortunes Rocks Beach, Biddeford
  • numerous basal rosettes of Garden Yellow-rocket, Garlic-mustard, and Dame's-rocket (Hesperis matronalis) along Saco RiverWalk in Saco; these are all edible members of the Mustard (Brassicaceae) family
  • 3 Gadwall in Mousam River marsh, Kennebunk

Note: Snowy Owls are rare at this inland location. The presence of a back-mounted solar charger led me to suspect that this bird is being tracked by Project SNOWstorm. The latest GPS data (which should be available on Thursday) will likely reveal whether this is Brunswick (who I photographed earlier this year in Wells), Casco, or another owl.

Update (4/22/16): It turns out this was Casco. From Sanford, she flew on to Canada. I wish her a successful summer up north.

What natural happenings have you noticed in the last week? I invite you to share your observations in the comments section of today's post.

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

There are spots available for my spring birding and foraging workshops. If you'd like to attend one or more, be sure to reserve your spot!

16.09 | Nature Notes (Mar 30 – Apr 5)

Photo of Canada Goose
Canada Goose | Kennebunkport, ME | 5 Apr 2016

Here are some nature notes from southern Maine:

  • Eastern Meadowlark (FOY) and flowering American Hazelnut at Kennebunk Plains
  • 2 American Wigeon, 50 Tree Swallows, Pine Warbler (FOS), and Yellow-rumped Warbler at Sanford Lagoons
  • Spring Whitlow-mustard (Draba verna) and Hairy Bitter-cress (Cardamine hirsuta) flowering and fruiting
  • Trailing-arbutus (Epigaea repens) flowering
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron (FOY) and Great Egret roosting in trees by Great Pond in Biddeford Pool
  • Blue-winged Teal (FOY) and 2 Glossy Ibis (FOY) behind the Pelreco Building, Scarborough
  • Canada Goose on nest atop old beaver lodge at Batson River on Guinea Rd., Kennebunkport [Did you spot her in the top photo?]
  • 2 Palm Warblers (FOY) at York County Community College, Wells

And, highlights from a birding trip along Rt. 16 from the NH border to King's Spring in Rangeley included:

  • Black-backed Woodpecker (Life Bird #309; Maine Bird #301), Gray Jay, Winter Wren (FOY), 10-15 Red Crossbills, 4 White-winged Crossbills, 120-150 Pine Siskins, and 30 Evening Grosbeaks

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

16.08 | Nature Notes (Mar 23-29)

Photo of Seals
Seals | Kennebunkport, ME | 27 Mar 2016

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

  • Northern Shoveler (first of year=FOY), 2 Wilson's Snipes, Eastern Phoebe, 3 Tree Swallows, 40 Song Sparrows, Swamp Sparrow, and flowering Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) at the Sanford Lagoons
  • Great Blue Heron (first of spring=FOS) and Northern Pintail (drake) at Mousam River marsh near Rt. 9, Kennebunk
  • Eastern Screech-Owl (my 300th Maine Bird!) heard giving monotone trill on private property in York (thanks Evan!)
  • 2 Gadwall (FOY), Double-crested Cormorant (FOS), Great Blue Heron, and Eastern Phoebe at Scarborough Marsh
  • 20 Bohemian Waxwings and 80 Cedar Waxwings eating up remaining Crab Apples at Key Bank on Temple St., Saco (thanks Pat!)
  • 3 Northern Flickers (FOY) and 100 American Robins in fields near the Smith Preserve on Guinea Rd., Kennebunkport
  • Great Egret (FOY) and 3 Great Blue Herons at marsh along Dyke Rd., K'port
  • loafing seals (most or all Harbor Seals, from what I could tell) on rocks off Goose Rocks Beach, K'port
  • 2 Turkey Vultures feeding on a Striped Skunk carcass along Chapel Rd., Wells

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

16.07 | Nature Notes (Mar 16-22)

Photo of Piping Plover
Piping Plovers | Kennebunkport, ME | 21 Mar 2016

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

FOY Mammal observations:

  • Eastern Chipmunk peeking out of a tree cavity in Sanford
  • American Beaver on the Batson River, Kennebunkport

FOY Amphibian observations:

  • American Bullfrogs sunning themselves in Wells
  • Wood Frogs hopping across a road in K'port
  • Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers chorusing after dark in K'port
  • after a warm, rainy night, along a 3/4 mile stretch of roadway near my home, I found the following signs of the year's first mass movement of amphibians to their breeding sites: ~27 dead frogs (most appeared to be Wood Frogs, some egg-bearing females), 1 dead Spotted Salamander, 1 unidentified dead Salamander (probable Blue-spotted/Jefferson's hybrid), and 2 living Spring Peepers

FOY Bird observations:

  • 2 Wilson's Snipes at the Sanford Lagoons
  • Barred Owl giving single-hoot calls in K'port
  • male American Kestrel (possibly an overwintering bird) on wire along Irving Rd., Arundel
  • 4 Piping Plovers and 1 "Ipswich" Savannah Sparrow at Goose Rocks Beach, K'port on Friday; high count of 5 Piping Plovers on Monday afternoon
  • 15 Brant and 3 Tree Swallows from Vines Landing, Biddeford Pool
  • Red-shouldered Hawk flying over Guinea Rd., K'port
  • continuing overwintering Gray Catbird along Timber Point Trail, Biddeford
  • Pied-billed Grebe on Lily Pond & Mute Swan (rare for Maine) on Lords Pond, both along Fortunes Rocks Rd., Biddeford
  • Eastern Phoebe along Harbor Rd., Wells

Miscellaneous happenings:

  • 215 Purple Sandpipers, 1 Razorbill, and 10 Great Cormorants off Ocean Ave., Biddeford Pool
  • Northern Shrike and drumming Ruffed Grouse at Emmons Preserve, K'port
  • Quaking Poplar flowering
  • 5" of snow on Sunday morning, mostly melted by sundown

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