Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Aerial Antics

Sharp-shinned hawk (left) and Cooper's hawk
Hawk-watching isn't always action-packed although this day it was!! Usually when we see a small-sized hawk harassing a larger one, it's a sharp-shinned hawk. This day, one chose to harass a Cooper's hawk. Both are accipiters; short-winged, long-tailed hawks built for agility and bursts of speed.

Luckily they flew right overhead and Gerry clicked away with his camera. The Cooper's hawk is the larger of the two. 
 Seconds later, they both flew off unscathed.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Red-Tailed Hawk

While I was at Putney Mountain hawk-watching, Gerry took our westies out to a nice spot on our property that has a great view of the valley. While Merry and Pippin explored the area for chipmunks, Gerry enjoyed visits from an adult and immature red-tailed hawks.

adult red-tailed hawk

immature red-tailed hawk

One way to identify an immature red-tail, since he lacks the red tail, is the "belly band". Both adults and immatures have this characteristic.

Another identifying mark on red-tails is the "patagial bar", the dark bar on the leading edge of the inner wing. 
This is a great time of year to be outside and enjoy migrating hawks!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Putney Mountain Hawk Watch

Starting in late August through October, volunteer hawk-watchers count migrating hawks on Putney Mountain. Check out the HMANA site to follow Putney Mtn hawk migration.
Cooper's hawk
Sharp-shinned hawk (left), Cooper's hawk (right)
 Sharp-shinned hawks greatly out number their bigger relatives. So far, we've had 192 sharpies and 14 coops come through. These two, put on a nice sparring match.

Cooper's hawk
We had 8 ospreys migrating today.
immature broad-winged hawk
adult broad-winged hawk
we've had 3184 broadies so far this season!!
immature bald eagle
We're all looking in different directions to make sure we don't miss a hawk!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Casco Bay, Portland, Maine

looking back at Portland
We took the Casco Bay Lines "Mailboat Run" on our visit to Portland. The 3 hour long trip brings mail, passengers and freight to the islands; Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Cliff and Chebeague.
common tern
There were lots of gulls and terns, fabulous scenery and great photo ops!
double-crested cormorant taking off, running, across the water
common terns
I don't envy this boat owner's clean-up job! Maybe the terns didn't care for the boat's name, "Osprey"!
laughing gull
laughing gull
common loon
lighthouse and a profile rock

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Scarborough Marsh, part 2

Least Sandpiper
More pictures from our visits to Scarborough Marsh. I love this place, if I lived in Maine, I'd be here everyday.
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper preening, Semipalmated Plover in center
Lesser Yellowlegs
Semipalmated Sandpipers
Least Sandpiper
Double-crested Cormorants
Eastern Phoebe
Lesser Yellowlegs
Herring Gull flies across a photo-shopped moon!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Scarborough Marsh

 We visited friends in Maine a couple weeks ago and stopped at Scarborough Marsh for some birding. This is Maine's largest salt water marsh, covering 3100 acres. It's an amazing place for birds. Here's some of the ones we saw. I'll post more photos in the next blog.

Snowy Egret
Tricolored Heron on the left - Snowy Egret on right.
Tricolored Heron
A Northern Harrier was scanning the marsh for food. 

Glossy Ibis
This Forster's Tern was a nice find!
Great Egret
action shots of the Merlin