Date: 4/30/18 10:54 am
From: RALPH ELDRIDGE <lightrae1...>
Subject: [Maine-birds] MACHIAS SEAL ISLAND REPORT
So far it's been shaping up as one of those, "Don't blink or you'll miss
it." type of spring migrations out here. Little pulses with some of the
most common species just serve to highlight the scarcity or absence of
other expected arrivals.

SONG SPARROWS have put on a strong showing but are tapering off now. JUNCOS
were also strong but have virtually disappeared. Those two species have
been pretty much replaced by the influx of SAVANNAH SPARROWS. WHITE
THROATED SPARROWS have been at a modest level for about a week.

FLICKERS are still trickling through. Saturday, one of those tried the old
"fly through a wall" trick to escape a raptor. When he came to he was
inside a dark plastic pail ...... my bird revival room. A half hour later I
released him, screaming and (fingers crossed) with no serious injury.
Tonight (3AM Monday) there is a Flicker trying to roost on a living room
window, about 3 feet from my head. He's switching between head-tucked
snoozing and anxiously eyeing me. I expect that caution will soon move him
to a less stressful perch.

Several species have been notable for their scarcity, to date. Perhaps it's
just a slow start.
Saturday saw a single INDIGO BUNTING and a VEERY pop by briefly. Mostly,
though, it was hard to see a single passerine for all of that day. Even our
patio SAVANNAH SPARROWS deserted for reasons unknown. There weren't any
predators around so it was a bit odd.

Sunday morning was dripping wet after a second night of dense fog with rain
in between.
However, the lawns were alive with birds. Most were Savannah Sparrows but
there was also a sprinkling of SONG SPARROWS, ROBINS, FLICKERS and Thrushes.
A quick check around the boardwalks and other structures revealed numerous
VEERYS; several SWAINSON THRUSH; at least one WOOD THRUSH; 4 CATBIRDS; 6
COWBIRDS; 3 RED WINGED BLACKBIRDS; a few YELLOW RUMPED WARBLERS; 3 or 4
PALM WARBLERS: all probable new Saturday night arrivals.

Sunday's Bird Of The Day: a single bright male BALTIMORE ORIOLE.

Sunday continued to be a day of hectic feeding, interspersed with
occasional bouts of posturing and squabbles. The thick weather apparently
blocked any raptors.
That changed when a brief period of clearing, just before dark, brought
first one and then a second male HARRIER.
For near an hour, until full dark and thick fog intervened, the raptors
lived up to their name, driving flocks of sparrows and panicked Flickers
back and forth the island.

Somewhat surprisingly, there is no sign of the Harriers this morning (Monday).
They were here right up to nightfall yesterday. I doubt that they would
embarque on an over-water flight, in full dark with low ceiling and dense
fog, even with a full moon. Nonetheless they are gone; either a night
flight or a dawn departure without breakfast.

Thanks to the harrying, I can say with some certainty that on Sunday there
were 23 Flickers, 11 Robins, 9 Cowbirds & 4 RW Blackbirds on the island.
I didn't see any kills and I was a bit surprised that the Harriers seemed
to ignore the alcids. I can see that a Razorbill or Murre might be
intimidatingly large but a Puffin is just manageable. Admittedly, every
Harrier that I've seen kill a Puffin has been a female so perhaps their
extra size is enough to give the females the advantage.
In any event, the alcids weren't very alarmed by the male Harriers.

Alcids are settling into their colonial routines.

I ran across three PURPLE SANDPIPERS on Sunday, the 1st that I've seen for
some time.

I also found a freshly dead HARBOUR SEAL pup. It was newborn, with cord
still attached. At first glance I thought it must be a very late GREY SEAL
but it proved to be a very early Harbour.

Gulls are increasingly present and some are pairing up. Some of them haunt
the seabird colony, looking for any opportunity to get a meal.
GLAUCOUS GULLS are still evident in above usual numbers. It's been a rare
day that 1 or 2 couldn't be seen at a moment's glance. 2, 3 or 4 together
have been common and I've seen as many as 10 at once.
This is the first winter that I've seen Glaucous outnumber ICELAND GULLS.

Very little over-the-water migration has been visible due to fog these past
days. However, occasional flocks of DOUBLE CRESTED CORMORANTS, some
SCOTERS & EIDERS or an occasional GREAT BLUE HERON either over-flies or
passes close to the island. 7 CANADA GEESE stopped momentarily on Friday.

Some 25-30 HARLEQUIN DUCKS remain, routinely mixing with the Alcids on the
water.

Today's Bird-of-the-Day: FOY RUBY CROWNED KINGLET.


--
Maine birds mailing list
<maine-birds...>
http://groups.google.com/group/maine-birds
https://sites.google.com/site/birding207
---
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Maine birds" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to maine-birds+<unsubscribe...>
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

 
Join us on Facebook!