30 November 2023

Posts Tagged ‘blue-winged teal’

Fitting and fortuitous

Sunday, September 21st, 2014
Bald Eagle, Monhegan Island, Maine, 21 September 2014.

Bald Eagle.

Big rains this morning, coming through in waves, but by the time I’d dropped Jack of at Boone’s house and arrived at the Monhegan boat dock, the sky had cleared. Seas were moderately bouncy, but right after I set foot on the island, the sun came out, so I dashed over to Trailing Yew and changed into shorts and sandals.


Monarchs, Monhegan Island, Maine, 21 September 2014.

Thing is, there weren’t a lot of birds around—fewest on any day I’ve been here, I’d say, weather conditions not being ideal for migration. On the other hand, monarch butterflies were everywhere.

Not much time to write out here, but that little bit of butterfly news seems fitting and fortuitous.

Monhegan List
I arrived on the island about 11:30 a.m.

1. Bald Eagle*
2. Herring Gull*
3. Double-crested Cormorant*
4. Great Black-backed Gull*
5. Blue Jay*
6. Yellow-rumped Warbler
7. Lark Sparrow
8. Carolina Wren (v)
9. Northern Flicker
10. American Crow*
11. Mallard
12. Belted Kingfisher
13. Blue-winged Teal
14. Black-capped Chickadee
15. Red-eyed Vireo
16. American Redstart
17. Song Sparrow
18. Cedar Waxwing


19. House Finch
20. Mourning Dove
21. Great Blue Heron

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Life and death

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
American redstart, Monhegan Island, Maine, 02 October 2010.

American redstart.

Up at dawn. Windy still but cold, with a painfully blue sky. Took a solo walk through town. Didn’t see much—rusty blackbirds, nuthatches in the spruces, a couple merlins flying over. I was watching sleeping ducks at the ice pond when firecracker explosions from the harbor announced the beginning of lobstering season and woke up the ducks in a hurry. Then I climbed the lighthouse hill and with the sunrise behind  me looked down at Manana for a little while.

Palm warbler, Monhegan Island, Maine, 02 October 2010.

Palm warbler.

After breakfast I spent a while photographing a redstart in an apple tree, which at one point also got a visit from a ruby-crowned kinglet. Then we all headed to town to see our friends Amy and Charlie off into the whitecaps on the early boat. On our return, Kristen, Bill, and I ran into a birding-tour group whose binoculars were trained on an “empid” (empidonax flycatcher). It turned out to be a least flycatcher. Afterward we sashayed over behind the school, where chippies were hanging out with a dickcissel, and up again to the ice pond, where waded a solitary sandpiper, we saw a blue grosbeak, and Kristen got her elusive (albeit common) black-throated green warbler. It seemed strange to be walking under such an empty sky.

But that sky would be great for flyovers, Bill predicted. And he was right. Falcons and sharpies, a northern harrier, a Canada goose. We also saw ravens—and the others spotted a small, flapping flock of great blue herons.

Ruby-crowned kinglet, Monhegan Island, Maine, 02 October 2010.

Ruby-crowned kinglet.

I’d booked passage on the 12:30 boat, but as boarding time neared we heard that island birding patriarch Tom Martin had a dead peregrine up on his porch. Right away we all knew what bird that’d be: yesterday’s young, sick male. Tom called us over, and we took a quick side-trip to see the bird. He held the dead thing up by its wings. A lovely young bird. And, sure enough, it had the band. The bird’s plumage was beautiful close up. Somebody found it on a porch nearby and brought it over to Tom (who is 89 himself). I don’t think it’d been dead long.

Least flycatcher, Monhegan Island, Maine, 02 October 2010.

Least flycatcher.

There’s also been juvenile great black-backed gull with a broken wing on the island. It hangs around near the road, and people have been feeding it donuts. I don’t expect it’ll last much longer. There’s the mourning dove here with the missing tail. Once or twice on every trip here I see a collection of feathers where a hawk has dined. We saw the carcass of a black-back on the rocks below the wharf this morning.

Every living thing dies. Birds’ lives are short. Still, I felt saddened about the falcon.

The trip back had some bounce in it but was nice and swift. I lugged my stuff to the pickup and headed for home. The inshore world seems so cosmopolitan after a week on a Maine island—all the cars and trucks and motorcycles driving so fast. Still, I couldn’t help but look forward to seeing Jack, my dog, again.

Then coming through Rockland, nearing home, I found myself suddenly behind an old pickup which, I couldn’t help but notice, had a dead moose in its bed.

Tom Martin holds a dead peregrine, Monhegan Island, Maine, 02 October 2010.

Tom Martin holds a dead peregrine.

Monhegan List
(Not in order of sighting.)

1. Canada goose
2. American black duck
3. Mallard
4. Blue-winged teal
5. Common eider
6. Ring-necked pheasant
7. Northern gannet
8. Double-crested cormorant
9. Osprey
10. Northern harrier
11. Sharp-shinned hawk
12. Merlin
13. Peregrine falcon
14. Solitary sandpiper
15. Herring gull
16. Great black-backed gull
17. Black guillemot
18. Mourning dove
19. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
20. Downy woodpecker
21. Northern flicker
22. Least flycatcher
23. Eastern phoebe
24. Blue jay
25. American crow
26. Common raven
27. Black-capped chickadee
28. Red-breasted nuthatch
29. Brown creeper
30. Carolina wren
31. Golden-crowned kinglet
32. Ruby-crowned kinglet
33. Gray catbird
34. Northern mockingbird
35. Cedar waxwing
36. Yellow-rumped warbler
37. Palm warbler
38. Blackpoll warbler
39. American redstart
40. Common yellowthroat
41. Chipping sparrow
42. Song sparrow
43. White-throated sparrow
44. White-crowned sparrow
45. Dark-eyed junco
46. Blue grosbeak
47. Dickcissel
48. Rusty blackbird
49. Purple finch
50. American goldfinch


51. Common loon

Blue grosbeak, Monhegan Island, Maine, 02 October 2010.

Blue grosbeak.


Thursday, September 30th, 2010
Northern gannet, Monhegan Island, Maine, 30 September 2010.

Northern gannet.

Up early. Mostly overcast, but with breaks in the clouds to the east. After breakfast, I took off along down to Lobster Cove. En route, a merlin swooped over and perched in the tip of a spruce tree, silhouetted against the golden sunrise.

I walked all over the place. Back through town to the ice pond, where I spotted a Nashville warbler in some low foliage amid the ever-present yell0w-rumps and a couple chickadees. Mallards in the pond, along with a couple of black ducks and the pair of blue-winged teals. No kingfishers today that I could see. But plenty of flickers, and sparrows, and, of course, ‘rumps.

Yellow-rumped warbler, Monhegan Island, Maine, 30 September 2010.

Yellow-rumped warbler.

Up the narrow path through the thicket behind the schoolhouse. On the ledges near where someone left some seed I saw a blue-headed vireo flitting about. Then around back of the meadow, where I met a woman who asked if I’d seen an older gentleman wearing a blue sweatshirt and carrying a cane. I hadn’t. If I should see him, I was asked to mention that he was missed at The Island Inn. I figured someone would track the old gent down.

The sun would emerge, the air would grow instantly warm, and I’d tie my over shirt around my waist; the clouds would overspread, a chill would rise, and I’d put my overshirt on again. Up beyond the lighthouse I found no sparrows or dickcissels, so I decided to head down the trail toward White Head. About a hundred yards in, I noticed a number of small birds zipping around in a stand of small trees: red-breasted nuthatches, chickadees, more ‘rumps, and a single black-and-white warbler. Just as I was starting to photograph the warbler, it took off in a hurry. I brought my camera down in time to see all the small birds vanish as a sharp-shinned hawk burst noisily through some leaves.

Chipping sparrow, Monhegan Island, Maine, 30 September 2010.

Chipping sparrow.

Nearing the cliffs, I heard voices and decided to take a side path to the north. The path wound around over roots and into a wood of tall trees, crossed a running stream, and met another small path. I turned west, and within a couple minutes ran into Ted, an older fellow birder whom I’d met earlier in my stay. Ted had had a stroke, so I was told, which explained why he walked very slowly, aided by a cane. He was wearing a blue sweatshirt. He was far from town—essentially in the middle of nowhere. It’d been a good half-hour since I’d seen the lady asking for him.

I turned around and walked with Ted through Cathedral Woods, down the trail lined with secret fairy houses made of bark and twigs, ornamented with shells and feathers and sea glass. At his diminished pace, it took us a good hour, hour-and-a-half to make it back to town, but Ted tells a good story.

After saying goodbye at The Island Inn, where Ted had a boat to catch, I returned to the birdy trail behind the schoolhouse, where I saw a pair of cardinals and about four or five dozen more yellow-rumped warblers. Then I headed back through town and down to Lobster Cove again. It was early afternoon. I made my way out to the exposed eastern rocks, just above the tide, where waves broke in white fountains below me. Fog hung low over the ocean. Northern gannets flapped on long wings back and forth not far from shore.

I must’ve sat there for a half-hour, forty-five minutes, watching the gannets fish. They’d flap by high, slow or circle, pull their wings in, then veer over and down—spiraling down, it looked like—and splash cleanly into the gray swells. Soon they’d emerge, float a moment, then take wing again. Over and over. I loved the feel of the sea wind, the sound of the waves, the ghostly appearance of gannets.

Got a few new birds. Had drinks with friends after. And just now I’m recollecting my time with the gannets.

Red-breasted nuthatch, Monhegan Island, Maine, 30 September 2010.

Red-breasted nuthatch.

Monhegan List
(Not in order of sighting.)

1. American black duck
2. Mallard
3. Blue-winged teal
4. Common eider
5. Ring-necked pheasant
6. Northern gannet
7. Double-crested cormorant
8. Sharp-shinned hawk
9. Merlin
10. Herring gull
11. Great black-backed gull
12. Mourning dove
13. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
14. Downy woodpecker
15. Northern flicker
16. Eastern phoebe
17. Blue-headed vireo
18. Blue jay
19. American crow
20. Common raven (voice)
21. Black-capped chickadee
22. Red-breasted nuthatch
23. Carolina wren (voice)
24. Golden-crowned kinglet (voice)
25. American robin (voice)
26. Gray catbird
27. Cedar waxwing
28. Nashville warbler
29. Yellow-rumped warbler
30. Palm warbler
31. Black-and-white warbler
32. Common yell0wthroat
33. Chipping sparrow
34. Clay-colored sparrow
35. Song sparrow
36. White-throated sparrow
37. Dark-eyed junco
38. Northern cardinal
39. Rusty blackbird
40. Purple finch
41. American goldfinch

Merlin, Monhegan Island, Maine, 30 September 2010.


Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

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