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Birdwalk Highlights for 11/4: Wolfe's Neck Center, Freeport (Yup, again!)

Updated: Nov 5

So it's hard to not keep going back to the same spot when it's so good, but it's also very instructive to follow the ebbs and flows of the season. With a big exodus of migrants this week, we expected fewer birds in the farm and weeds, more on the water, and maybe even a rarity as we enter Rarity Season. And guess what? We went 3 for 3!

The bird of the day was an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER we found along the edge of the fields. Brief but often quite good looks were had as it foraged its way along the scrub and trees, loosely associated with some BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES and 4-6 GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS. Although not nearly as rare in Maine as most people think, they are extremely uncommon. And somehow, in 19 years of Saturday Morning Birdwalks, this was amazingly our first ever! It was long overdue, and had become a bit of a nemesis, but Orange-crowned Warbler is All-time Saturday Morning Birdwalk bird #252!

Earlier, at the cove, three GREAT BLUE HERONS and a goodly 42 LAUGHING GULLS were lingering. Three tardy BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and 3 DUNLIN were also present, with 8 BONAPARTE'S GULLS roosting offshore. 42 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS joined about 25 MALLARDS, and the first of at least 3 RED-TAILED HAWKS on the walk appeared. About 30 BUFFLEHEAD were in the distance as winter waterfowl numbers continue to grow.

It was great before we left the cars, and soon thereafter we had a late NORTHERN FLICKER. While watching the Orange-crowned Warbler and associates a male SHARP-SHINNED HAWK dove in, taking a half-hearted run at one of our 3-4 RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS on the morning. A few YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were heard and seen overhead as well.

Eventually arriving at the garden, it was soon apparent just how far the season had progressed in the past week. Many fewer sparrows were present, and most were in the weedy water retention pond by the new building. Between the two sparrow hotspots, our totals today paled in comparison to previous weeks: about 20 SAVANNAH SPARROWS, 12 SONG SPARROWS, 3 SWAMP SPARROWS, 3 WHITE-THROATE SPARROWS, and 2 DARK-EYED JUNCOS.

In between, we encountered two pairs of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS and a couple of rather late "YELLOW" PALM WARBLERS - a three warbler morning in November is fantastic! Then, back at the vehicles, we enjoyed Mallards, black ducks, and the Great Blue Herons in the creek, all of which were joined by one particularly active (and successful) fishing GREATER YELLOWLEGS! (Photo above).

Stay tuned to see if we head back next week, or I try my luck somewhere else!

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