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Birdwalk Highlights for 12/14: Staying Dry!

December 14, 2019

It was a deluge. Biblical-quality even. And no break was in sight. But even without Snowbirder Points, FOUR people showed up.  WHY!? It was going to be a challenge to see birds and avoid hypothermia. 


So I took the group home. And for the next hour we watched our feeding station at our home in Pownal - from inside. While the driving rain reduced visibility through the windows and screens, we had a full hour of near-constant activity- not an easy thing to find on a day like today!  Diversity wasn't as great as expected, but we compared HAIRY vs DOWNY WOODPECKERS as they fed next to each other, watched DARK-EYED JUNCOS scurrying on the ground, and plenty of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES (12) looking wet, forlorn, and ready for a break from the maelstrom.  8 TUFTED TITMICE, 4 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, a pair of NORTHERN CARDINALS, and a lone WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH rounded out the list as several of our regular visitors were no-shows.  But we were dry!


We then went to the water, as there are two places to view the Lower Harraseeket River in South Freeport with a roof over our heads - the Town Wharf and the Yacht Club.  From the two mostly-dry vantage points, our list grew, with the likes of 30 COMMON EIDERS, 10 BUFFLEHEADS, 6 HERRING GULLS, 4 COMMON LOONS (including one incredibly close within the marina), 4 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 2 AMERICAN CROWS, 1 BALD EAGLE, and 1 RING-BILLED GULL. These were not impressive numbers, but we really just could not see too far into the rain and fog. 


Our 20-species goal looked to be in jeopardy, but as we drove through the village checking feeders, our list grew. 5 ROCK PIGEONS...4 MOURNING DOVES, more Black-capped Chickadees, American Goldfinches, American Crows, and at our last stop, 6 Dark-eyed Juncos. As I looked through them, hoping for an additional species of sparrow, 4 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS appeared, soon followed by our 20th species of the morning: 4 BLUE JAYS.  


Reaching 20 species without getting soaked today was actually a surprising accomplishment!


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