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A Birder Am I, Oh My, Oh My

*Sigh*. Yes, I am a birder. I didn’t start out intending to be a birder. However, each weekend of my adolescence and young adulthood was spent on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I was often left to my own devices on the seaside farm that my parents owned. I would often sit on our dock to watch the tidal creek ebb and flow and gaze out over the salt marsh that rings our property.

At first, the marsh seemed deadly dull with nothing going on. Then, slowly, I realized that if I quieted my inner hamsters and paid attention, there was a tremendous amount of life and activity all around me. I became fascinated with all the different bird sounds and dramas around me. This obsession (because it definitely is one)  manifests itself everywhere I go, causing a degree of concerned startlement for those who aren’t aware of my compulsion.

You see, the avid birder will not be denied. A new song? An unfamiliar pattern of flight? A dash of color that is unfamiliar? This causes a birder to immediately stop what she/he is doing and take the age old birder position: Complete stillness, eyes sharply focused to catch a glimpse of the new treasure and head cocked to listen to the new song, — to the exclusion of everything else, I might add. Yeah, weird. I know.

I’m very lucky that my husband Chris is a patient man because I regularly assume this position. In the car, walking down the street, it doesn’t matter. I’m also lucky that he has become interested in my obsession and thinks this treasure hunt activity is actually kinda fun.

While in Maine recently, we saw a whole host of new birds. The list is below if you’re interested. If you are getting bored with this post, stay with me for just a few more lines.

Perhaps the most glorious sighting for us was the Hermit Thrush. As the name suggest, this little guy is, shall we say, reclusive. It lives in the deep forest, is the same brown as the tree trunks and is nigh unto impossible to see. But, we saw one!! And it’s song. Oh, it’s song! Flutelike and haunting, it drifts down from the heights of the trees like an ethereal rain. Just listen…

OK. That’s all I ask of you if you’re not into birds. If you are still interested, keep reading.

Near the cabin where we stayed, there were three juvenile Merlin falcons. Very cool to see them chasing each other and hunting. We actually saw one with its catch — an Eastern Phoebe — that it was quite contentedly devouring about midway up a balsam pine tree.

Also near the cabin were a whole host of warblers. We were particularly fortunate to see the Northern Parula and the Black Throated Green Warbler — tiny, perpetually moving jewel-colored beasties of the pines and Spanish moss.

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Northern Parula Photo courtesy planetbirds.blogspot.com
Black Throated Green Warbler
Black Throated Green Warbler
Photo courtesy of allaboutbirds.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third truly “How awesome!” moment came when we took a dip in Megunticook Lake. We were standing knee deep in water and what should pop up about a foot from us but a massive loon. It could have cared less about us because it was fishing the pool of perch that were in the shallows. What was even better is that we could see it swimming around our legs to catch the fish since the water was so clear.

If you’re still with me, below is the full list of our birding in Maine. Enjoy.

  • Northern Parula
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Black Throated Green Warbler
  • Myrtle Warbler
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Brown Creeper
  • White Throated Sparrow
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Flicker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Osprey
  • Cormorants
  • Eider Ducks
  • Guillemots
  • Northern Gannets
  • Loons
  • Bald Eagles
  • Arctic Terns
  • Common Terns
  • Kingfisher
  • Black Backed Gull
  • Laughing Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Canada Geese
  • Blue Heron
  • White Egrets
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Semipalmated Plovers
  • Semipalmated Sandpipers
  • Song Sparrows
  • Merlin Falcons
  • Black-capped Chicadees
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Dark-eyed Juncos
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Cedar Waxwings
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Turkey and Black Vultures
  • Mourning Dove
  • Crows
  • Goldfinches
  • Cardinal
  • House Sparrow
  • Savannah Sparrow

 

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