Sep 6, 2023, 4:06:15 PMSep 6
to Maine birds
It's been relatively uneventful this past couple of weeks.
There has been the expected trickle of post-breeding wanderers and early migrants, as well as resident birds.
The songbirds tally is still dominated by resident SAVANNAH SPARROWS but there is a very slowly increasing number of SONG SPARROWS, with occasional others, such as SWAMP & WHITE THROATED SPARROWS & JUNCOS mixed it.
There's an on-going mix of warblers, with some coming and others leaving nightly. Others seem to hang around and feed for a day or so. REDSTARTS; PALM, PRAIRE, YELLOW, BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK & WHITE, YELLOW RUMPED, BLACK THROATED BLUE, BLACK THROATED GREEN WARBLERS; WATER THRUSHES (Seems like a high year for these) are among the migrants.
In the last couple days there have been 2 or 3 BALTIMORE ORIOLES and a couple female ROSE BREASTED GROSBEAKS showing around the house.
Prior to that a small group of adult and juvenile CEDAR WAXWINGS spent several days hawking insects and Tuesday a new group of Waxwings, some 15 strong, arrived on the island and are hanging out near the house.
FLYCATCHERS are low in number but there is almost always 1 or 2 to be found near the buildings. PHOEBES are most common.
RAPTORS are spotty. There was one or more HARRIERS hunting the island daily, up until Monday, although I'm sure there are more to come. Next to PEREGRINES, they are our most frequent raptor.
Peregrines moved a bit last week with 5 spotted one day and 3 of them perched almost side-by-side without hostility ....... a family group, one would suppose.
Another two adults appeared to be a pair, perching close together, with a marked size difference between them.
Yesterday was also the first mornig for over a week that I haven't seen a singleton adult who has been staying right on the island.
Even though the Peregrines are our most numerous raptor and they often hunt the island, most don't seem to overnight here.
EAGLES have been scarce in recent days. Even the young adult who had taken to overnighting on the island has been absent for several days.
KESTRELS & MERLINS have been notable with only a couple of the little fellows and none of the Merlins spotted for the past couple weeks.
But, as things are wont to happen, I left off writing this to work outside yesterday (Tuesday) and within the space of two hours there were 3 Kestrels and 2 Merlins panicing the songbirds
Lots of HERRING & G. B. BACKED GULLS remain very numerous, sometimes with several thousand roosting (when the fog clears enough to see them).
They are a particular nuisance this time of year. Every evening and early morning they want to congregate on the lawns to gorge on earthworms.
Of course they want to roost on the boardwalks, helicopter pad et cetera where they confirm their unflattering but accurate name of SHITHAWK..
Thankfully, most will eventually migrate.
Shorebirds are trickling through, with a few PEEPS to be found around the intertidal pretty much any time.
Of note this year: more than the expected number of WHIMBRELS. Last week I saw and/or heard upwards of 40 over 6 days. That's high for here, especially since they were in ones and twos, with a single group of 3. I'm still seeing one every day or so.
Other activity close around the island that we can see is mainly D.C. CORMORANTS, a few resident EIDERS. Many of the Eiders are not-quite fully grown ducklings.
I see a fair number of GANNETS migrating through area whenever the visibility improves enought to see offshore. Many, perhaps most, are sub-adult.
PUFFINS have dropped sharply these last few days, with the apparent departure of the non-breeders, hanger-ons, late season prospectors et cetera.
With almost no birds lounging around on the rocks, the colony has taken on a decidely deserted appearance.
By my guesstimate, there are likely well under 200 active Puffin nests. I'm seeing occasional PUFFLINGS around the lighthouse but not every night and only one or two on any date.
Generally they have appeared to be in decent shape: fully feathered and with okay weights.
Monday night I picked up one that wasn't in such good condition.That chick was still showing excessive down and was significantly underweight. I do fear for it's survival, but like the others, it got a ride to the shore to start it off. Last night I took 3, all small-ish but seemingly in otherwise good condition.
LEACH'S STORM PETRELS are showing some feathers.
Lots of GRAY SEALS around, including one showing a sever bite mark.
I have seen single BATS on two recent nights. I'd like to think that they were LITTLE BROWN BATS, a suppose it's unlikely.