Date: 7/22/17 7:03 am From: Donald Jones <dwilbertjones...> Subject: [Maine-birds] Wharton Point, Brunswick: Shorebirds, Peregrine Falcon, and cool gull behavior
This morning, I stopped at Wharton Point in Brunswick as the tide was coming in. There were a decent variety of shorebirds, including 2 Greater Yellowlegs, 3 dowitcher sp. (very distant and only seen briefly), 1 Black-bellied Plover, 4 Semipalmated Plover, a handful of Least Sandpiper, and roughly 40 Semipalmated Sandpiper. While I was watching, a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon came screaming in and chased the shorebirds for several minutes, took a shot at a gull, harassed a Snowy Egret, and flew by at point blank range before departing inland with empty talons!
Besides the nice migrants, I also observed a fascinating behavior by a Herring Gull which I had never seen before. One individual was repeatedly picking up mussels out on the mudflats, flying them in to the concrete boat ramp, and dropping them from height in order to break open the shells. It appeared to be an extremely effective technique; in 45 minutes or so, the bird consumed 10 to 15 mussels and left a large field of shattered shells on the ramp.