Date: 1/12/18 6:43 am From: RALPH ELDRIDGE <lightrae1...> Subject: [Maine-birds] MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND REPORT
One might almost characterize this as a non-report, although it's typical for mid-winter.
The handful of SONG SPARROWS recorded on the CBC has dwindled to 3, perhaps fewer. The RED WINGED BLACKBIRD that arrived amidst the Christmas blizzard disappeared after nearly 2 weeks. The blackbird has been replaced with the arrival of a JUNCO. Except for the 2 semi-resident RAVENS, the island songbird population stands at 2 species with a total of 2 to 5 individuals.
EAGLES conduct frequent foraging flights out to MSI and for miles beyond, picking off unwary pelagics. Usually they appear as singles but sometimes there are 3 to 6. This winter, PEREGRINES have been seen more than other years. They aren't common but I've seen one every week or so.
No SNOWY OWLS have been seen since Christmas.
Approximately 100 PURPLE SANDPIPERS form the shorebird population.
Approximately 30 COMMON EIDERS, 50 HARLEQUIN DUCKS & an occasional RED BREASTED MERGANSER represent the ducks.
Scattered COMMON LOONS, along with single DOUBLE CREASTED CORMORANTS and small groups of GREAT CORMORANTS represent the large divers.
Recently there seems to be good surface and near-surface feeding for some distance around the island. When the currents and up-wellings are right, it's common to see several thousand KITTIWAKES, hundreds of HERRING & GREAT BLACK BACKED GULLS, a sprinkling of ICELAND GULLS and occasional GLAUCOUS GULLS working the tide streaks. Most days the same waters host hundreds and sometimes several thousand RAZORBILLS.