24 June 2024

Posts Tagged ‘Bonaparte’s gull’

Sun and moon

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
Sunset, from Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 05 January 2012.


A run-around day. May pigeons wheeling around town. A little cluster of Bonaparte’s gulls at Clam Cove. Not a lot of time to hike at the end of it for Jack and me—but it was a nice one. Nippy, fresh air. Chickawaukie Lake is about frozen over finally, but in a little river of open water, I spied the raft of coots.

Moon over Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 05 January 2012.


Mostly, though, I admired the setting sun and the rising moon.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American coot


2. House finch
3. American crow
4. Herring gull
5. Rock pigeon
6. Bonaparte’s gull

White CBC

Saturday, December 17th, 2011
Hooded merganser, Bear Hill, Rockport, Maine, 17 December 2011.

Hooded merganser.

Today being Christmas Bird Count day, I rose before dawn, had a good-sized breakfast, took dog out, and set off for the Rockland Breakwater, where I met fellow counters Kristen, Paul, Ron, Joe, and Paula. The sun rose in a golden line along the southeastern horizon. That golden line turned out to be a remnant clear patch, though, because the rest of the sky had gone overcast. In fact, it just might’ve been the coldest morning of the season—which didn’t surprise me, considering our recent run of frigid, icy CBC weather—but there wasn’t much wind, and the walk out across the harbor seemed almost mild.

Red-bellied woodpecker, Warrenton Street, Rockport, Maine, 17 December 2011.

Red-bellied woodpecker.

Highlights were a fast-moving merlin, four species of gull (I only saw three, having missed the great black-backed), horned and red-necked grebes, surf scoters, and a seal. Oh, and the fact that it began to snow.

And the snow grew heavier and continued for the rest of the morning. We walked the grounds of the Samoset Resort, where our friend Don had seen a lesser scaup in one of the ponds along the golf course. Yep, there it was, in the falling snow. Meanwhile, about a hundred Canada geese played through, which was not exactly a surprise. Then Ron thought he heard a yellow-rumped warbler and crashed off into the woods to look for it. And by-God-found it. (It turned out to be the only warbler seen in our entire section today.)

After that we took a little side-trip to a yard in the neighborhood, where a red-bellied woodpecker had been reported at a backyard feeder, and we found that, too. (Kristen spotted it first.) Also tree sparrows, titmice, chickadees, hairy woodpeckers, starlings, a mourning dove, a song sparrow. It turned out to be a productive little side-trip.

Not much at the Sea View Cemetery, but Clam Cove delivered a Bonaparte’s gull and an eagle. And a stop up at the entrance to the Bear Hill subdivision proved fruitful: three hooded merganser, two females and a male. (The male kept chasing one of the females around, and not in a loving way.) And at Chickawaukie Lake, we counted about six hundred coots.

American tree sparrow, Warrenton Street, Rockport, Maine, 17 December 2011.

American tree sparrow.

Then we stopped for lunch and conversation, and I skipped out on the afternoon.

Since Jack had been home alone for about six hours, on my return we took off for Beech Hill. A nice, brisk hike. You could see the huge raft of Chickawaukie coots all the way from up there. And I heard the voice of a crow.

Tonight it’s cold. I do believe the coldest night of the season so far (although not particularly cold for this season). Me? I’m still thinking about all those birds.

(You’ll find a few more photos below.)

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 2:30 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American coot
2. American crow


3. Black-capped chickadee
4. House sparrow
5. House finch
6. American goldfinch
7. Canada goose
8. Northern mockingbird
9. Herring gull
10. Mallard
11. Horned grebe
12. Black duck
13. Common goldeneye
14. Great cormorant
15. Ring-billed gull
16. Common loon
17. Common eider
18. Red-breasted merganser
19. Bonaparte’s gull
20. Long-tailed duck
21. Red-necked grebe
22. Merlin
23. Surf scoter
24. Black guillemot
25. Northern flicker
26. Bufflehead
27. Lesser scaup
28. Bald eagle
29. Tufted titmouse
30. European starling
31. American tree sparrow
32. Song sparrow
33. Hairy woodpecker
34. White-breasted nuthatch
35. Mourning dove
36. Red-bellied woodpecker
37. Northern cardinal
38. Hooded merganser

Hooded mergansers, Rockport, Maine, 17 December 2011.

Hooded mergansers.

Hooded mergansers, Rockport, Maine, 17 December 2011.

Hooded mergansers.

Hooded mergansers, Rockport, Maine, 17 December 2011.

Hooded mergansers.

Owls Head Light, from the Rockland Breakwater, Maine, 17 December 2011.

Owls Head Light.

Christmas Count

Saturday, December 18th, 2010
American wigeon (juvenile), Chickawaukie Lake, Rockport, Maine, 18 December 2010.

American wigeon.

The day began early. I rose and dressed in many layers, as I had an 8 a.m. date at the Rockland Breakwater—the nearly-mile-long granite structure that stretches out into Rockland’s wide harbor. In the past few years, it’s seemed that our local Christmas Bird Count happens to fall on one of the coldest, windiest days of the year so far. Today was a happy exception.

Herring gull (juvenile), Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 18 December 2010.

Herring gull (juvenile).

Oh, it was chilly. I was happy to have on a few layers. But the air was still, and the temperature soon rose into the upper-20s (F)—as opposed to the low-teens of recent years—and this mostly sunny day delivered an ample supply of birds.

As always, I met my friends Kristen and Paul, along with Joe from Coastal Mountains Land Trust. Notable was the state of the tide: high. I thought first, on seeing this, that we might miss out on purple sandpipers. In my experience, they seem to prefer mid-tide, when they can poke around in the marine plant life clinging low on the granite stones. But the thought soon vanished amid the calls of the large raft of Canada geese floating in the lee of the breakwater (a challenge to count) and the adult bald eagle that sailed overhead within minutes of the beginning of our excursion.

Soon we were counting eiders, guillemots, mergansers, gulls, long-tailed ducks, loons, great cormorants. Across the way, the Owls Head Light stood sentinel against a golden morning sky. And about half-way out—a sandpiper.

Mallards, Chickawaukie Lake, Rockland, Maine, 18 December 2010.


All told, we saw at least a half-dozen purple sandpipers. Herring and ring-billed gulls. And around the shore of the Samoset Resort property, goldeneyes, black-ducks, mallards, horned and red-necked grebes. The air warmed genially. Finally, with the fifteenth species, we counted a regular ol’ songbird: an American goldfinch.

In other locations nearby, we saw finches, sparrows, chickadees, woodpeckers, and other common passerines. We even saw a solitary great blue heron flapping away across the harbor. At Clam Cove, a large flock of small gulls swept in: Bonaparte’s. Soon after, we stopped at the entrance to a hillside subdivision, a place marked by alders and cattails, and spotted a small flock of common redpolls.

At the southern shore of Chickawakie Lake (also in our territory), we counted the usual dozens of mallards—but among them Kristen spotted a single American wigeon. A young bird, it seemed, and not very skittish. I managed many photos.

An adult eagle sat on the ice far across the lake. A tight-bunched collection of coots hung together just beyond. And overhead, a red-tailed hawk soared just this side of the sun.

Purple sandpiper, Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 18 December 2010.

Purple sandpiper.

I ditched the count in early afternoon—and no doubt Kristen and Paul found many more interesting species this afternoon—but that’s OK. I so appreciate this single momentous annual birding day. It seems even more momentous being so near the solstice.

Later, Jack and I walked Beech Hill, as usual. Only a crow and a flicker up there this afternoon—and I could only tell from their voices—but a lovely hillside, a few small groups of friendly humans (and one young dog), and a lovely rising moon. Our routine hike seemed the perfect ribbon with which to tie a bow on the gift that was this lovely, birdy day.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 2:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Northern flicker (voice)
2. American crow (voice)


3. House sparrow
4. Canada goose
5. Bald eagle
6. Common eider
7. Red-breasted merganser
8. Herring gull
9. Bufflehead
10. Black guillemot
11. Ring-billed gull
12. Long-tailed duck
13. Common loon
14. Great cormorant
15. Purple sandpiper
16. Common goldeneye
17. American goldfinch
18. Black duck
19. Mallard
20. Horned grebe
21. Red-necked grebe
22. Blue jay
23. House finch
24. White-throated sparrow
25. Black-capped chickadee
26. Northern cardinal
27. Downy woodpecker
28. White-breasted nuthatch
29. Hairy woodpecker
30. American robin
31. Great black-backed gull
32. Great blue heron
33. European starling
34. Bonaparte’s gull
35. Tufted titmouse
36. Common redpoll
37. American coot
38. American wigeon
39. Red-tailed hawk

Owls Head Light, from the Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 18 December 2010.

Owls Head Light.

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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