Spring 2007 - site updated July

BirdPage by Cindy McIntyre, Waldoboro, Maine 

Spring 2007 -  see Bluebird Page for the latest pix of bluebird family

May 9, 2007 - Osprey, Gulls and Alewives (fish)

Osprey with an Alewife, a fish that migrates like salmon, to the streams and lakes where it was born.  They arrive in May and the run will last around 6 weeks.  Damariscotta Mills, Maine is the place I did these photos - the screen behind the osprey keeps the fish out of the power plant behind it.  There are also runs in Warren and Waldoboro, but not as dramatic.

  Osprey hovering to zero in on a fish before diving with a splash

Osprey hovering, and then soaring, until the moment is right.  The alewives attract hoards of gulls, such as this Great Black Backed (right)

Alewives in May 2006.   Ospreys will turn the fish so the head faces forward as they fly back to the nest with it - more aerodynamic I suppose.

Alewives and a Great Black Backed Gull.  The gulls swallow the fish whole, then come back for more.  Often the gull who caught the fish drops it when pursued. 

Flocks of Double-Crested Cormorants are also a sign the alewives are running.  They are called "shags" by the locals. 

Herring Gulls are the most numerous (and loudest) of the birds feasting on the alewives.  I am gratified to see them actually working for a living instead
of looking for handouts or circling the dump

Cedar Waxwings

They are eating the petals from the apple blossoms. 

The pair in the middle was feeding each other apple blossom petals over and over - sweet!  The little guy in the birdhouse is a House Wren - the first for my yard!


Male Chestnut-Sided Warbler at Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, along with male Common (Maryland) Yellowthroat above.  He looks like the Lone Ranger. 

Black-Throated Green Warbler - first two are the male, and then the female, with another Common Yellowthroat at the end.

Male Yellow Warbler - note the red streaks on the breast.  Black-and-White Warbler passed through in full song in July.  Red-eyed vireo raised a family, too.

Spring Sparrows- late April/early May

White-Crowned Sparrow                                         Savannah Sparrow, with a yellow wash by the eye.        And a Chipping Sparrow
On the first warm weekend at the end of April my juncos and fox and tree sparrows skipped town, and the yard was sooooo quiet.  I was bereft, and even the spring
sparrows haven't quite filled that lonely spot.

White-Crowned Sparrows taking a bath                                                                                                         Song Sparrow                               

More Mid-Spring Birds

Oriole in apple tree                            Male Bobolink - they nest in the hayfields next to my house; they are one of the first to migrate south.  Catbird singing.

Evening Grosbeak - Male on both ends and female in middle

Robin's nest with four blue blue eggs                                     Lady Ruby-throated Hummingbird                                    Male brown-headed cowbird

Baltimore Oriole on the orange feeder                    Young Tom Turkey with beard eating scratch feed     Female American robin bathing

Male Bluebird watching Tree Swallows in "his" birdbox.  He decided the box by the pond would be perfect.

   Black-capped Chickadee checking out the real estate                                   Eastern Kingbird passing through        Rose-Breasted Grosbeak preening

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak male and female. Peterson's Guide says their song is like that of "a robin with voice lessons."  They arrived May 11.  Male has been
singing from the willow tree June 1

Tree Swallows have claimed 3 of the five bluebird boxes, but the back two "belong" to one pair, perhaps the ones that fledged there last year.  I'm sure they will decide which one will be their real home, and then remove the nesting materials from the other into the final choice.  That happened last year, too.  The swallow on the right has nesting materials in her beak.  Their bubbly song is more intense when they are near the nest.  When the oriole (above) landed on the top of the box they chased him away right quick.

To follow the progress of the Tree Swallows in my yard, click on TREE SWALLOW PAGE - (warning - some photos rated "XXX")

Blue Jay in mailbox "feeder"...         Female brown-headed cowbird and two males with her           Catbirds love the grape jelly I put out for the orioles

Male and female ruby-throated hummingbirds taking refuge under the eaves during a rainstorm.  The male eastern towhee was at Beech Hill in Rockport, Maine

April 14th, 2007 - Sharp-Shinned Hawk

The way the chickadees were carrying on, I figured he'd gotten one, but it may have been a junco.  I walked into the backyard just after he had made the kill - right under the Bird Cafe.  I couldn't believe my good fortune!  He allowed me to approach to about 15 feet before flying off with his meal.  The chickadees stayed upset for awhile, and the yard was quiet for about an hour afterwards.  I didn't have the heart to refill the feeders as I had intended.  The pile of feathers is a testament to the mayhem, and I'm really glad he didn't get "my" woodcock, who is often feeding in that very spot!

I have seen a Cooper's Hawk several times as well.  They are very similar but the Cooper's breast was redder and it had a darker head "cap."  Junco above was taken after the April 13 snow.

Hawk finally got tired of having an audience.  This afternoon I also saw a FEMALE purple finch singing as passionately as a male.  The chairs were from yesterday morning.

    It's SPRING!!!!  It's a Timberdoodle (Woodcock)!

Mr. Woodcock was back in the snow-free patches of dirt in my backyard.  I call him "Mister" because there was a "peenting" woodcock in the yard on April 1, a male calling for a mate.  It sounds like the call of a nighthawk, only with one syllable, repeated over and over until he launches into the darkened sky with a twitter, circling high, then a down-cycling squeak announces his impending dive to earth, often near where he started, to begin "peenting" all over again.  I first saw him April 8, and almost stepped on him yesterday while retrieving the garden hose.  I could see him better today from my back window, because I had already shoveled 3 feet of snow from the ice pile that has been forming since Valentine's Day.  It had come from the roof during several thaws, obscuring my view so I had to stand on tippytoes to even see my backyard.  He is ridding my flower bed of grubs and worms, and I hope not hurting the perennial roots. 

Woodcock and Dark-Eyed Junco, April 10.  The bill is thrust the entire length into the soil in search of food.  It was a busy day in the yard - Mr. Woodcock is well hidden.  The photo on the end shows the lovely markings on the Woodcock's back and neck.  I have decided the Woodcock is one of my favorite birds, and I especially love the nickname Timberdoodle. 


April 8 - Easter Sunday

No Easter Bunny, but a Woodcock, which stayed in the backyard for about 2 hours this afternoon.

This fellow is well camouflaged for the dirt and forest duff which provides worms and grubs, but he stands out beautifully in the snow.  When feeding, the Woodcock thrusts its beak all the way into the soil, probing a small patch thoroughly before moving on to another.  When walking they often have a jello-y kind of wobble, which is rather cute, as if they're testing the footing.  His head, however, does not move, making the effect even weirder.  Below you will see a song sparrow on the birdbath and the woodcock below to the left.  A fox sparrow (look closely) brushing by startled him, making his stubby tail flip up.  A blue jay came by for a drink while Mr./Ms. Woodcock was busy.

I was lucky enough to look up from work in my studio this afternoon to see this Cooper's Hawk alight in a maple (second time this Spring).  Although it has been as busy as a beehive in the front and backyards, as soon as the hawk flew over not a bird was to be seen or heard.  A few froze where they were hiding in brush or trees; it was as if somebody had turned off the sound.  Five minutes later they came trickling back, and though I searched, I could not find the hawk again. 

The birds are as colorful as Easter Eggs - the male American Goldfinches are moulting from their drab winter garb into breeding yellow.

Male American Robin                                        White-Throated Sparrow                                                               Fox Sparrow


April 5 - It Snowed 12 inches
The calendar says April 5, 2007 but we got a foot of snow overnight                 Two female purple finches and a dark-eyed junco at the feeder
 - the Song Sparrows and singing House Finch didn't mind though

Song sparrow sits on chair under the arbor                 Cindy feeding the birds


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Noreen O'Brien's Bird Blog in Midcoast Maine

Contact me:  cindy@cindymcintyre.com

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