Thank you to everyone who took part in the inaugural GYBOB (Get Your Butt Out Birding)! The weekend had mixed weather, sometimes unfavorable for birding, but many of you still got your butts outside and found some great birds. Here is a summary of the results:
Between the two days, October 29th and 30th, a total of 129 species were counted with 108 different checklists being submitted.
Waterfowl through Shorebirds
A blue-morph SNOW GOOSE that had been hanging around agricultural fields in Cumberland was spotted again on the 30th. 23 species of ducks were highlighted by a drake KING EIDER seen flying with a large flock of Common Eiders.
The increase in Red-necked and Horned Grebes, 47 and 13 respectively, is a usual sign of decreasing Double-crested Cormorants with only 213 counted. Single skeins on 200 Double-crested Cormorants could be seen just a few weeks ago. The large fields of Fryeburg have become well known stopover locations for SANDHILL CRANES moving south and 14 birds were counted here on the 30th.
Hills Beach and Biddeford Pool have been one of the locations for shorebirding this fall and that continued during GYBOB with continuing AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, a MARBLED GODWIT, and a late RED KNOT among the other more expected species.
Alcids through Wrens
Typical of October, the only alcid seen this weekend was a Black Guillemot. Gulls, while usually not a very exciting group of birds (for most people), did provide the rarest bird to be spotted: a SABINE’S GULL at Sabattus Pond. Also uncommon at Sabattus, three Iceland Gulls were seen although one fell victim to a local Bald Eagle.
During the Friday before GYBOB a low pressure system moved through Maine. This storm produced high winds which at one point seemed to be funneling from across the northeast seaboard right onto the coast of Maine (see video below). Storms like this have been known to drop typical ‘sea-birds’ on inland lakes, so it is easy to assume this was the catalyst for a Sabine’s Gull being at Sabattus Pond.
Both Great Horned and Barred Owls were reported over the weekend. Lingering ‘summer birds’ like Eastern Phoebes and Red-eyed Vireos were seen in low numbers. A few Carolina Wrens around southern Maine are a welcome sign of a hopefully rebounding population following their decline in the winter of 2014-15.
Kinglets through Finches
The dramatic decline in the number of Ruby-crowned Kinglets is typical of this date, while Golden-crowned Kinglets remain in decent numbers. Only five species of warblers were reported. The species reported are generally expected at this time of year (Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warbler) but this number is surprisingly low given the variety that have lingered my later in recent years.
A few Pine Grosbeaks were reported in the northern half of the state but all attention is currently on EVENING GROSBEAKS irrupting south. The current movement of Evening Grosbeaks hasn’t been as large or early as the flight in 2012 but increased reports of birds making it to southern Maine and throughout New England are increasing.
Thank you again to everyone who GYBOB and eBirded your sightings!