Fourteen of us ventured out to see some winter birds this Saturday. We went in two seven-passenger vans with a leader in each van: Richard “Turk” Duddy and myself (thank you to Morong Falmouth for supplying a van for our use!).
We saw our first exceptional bird within a few minutes of the start, with a Glaucous Gull in Back Cove on a rock with some Herring Gulls. Next, on to East End beach for some beautiful winter ducks, including Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders, and Goldeneyes. At the Portland Fish Pier we saw three Iceland Gulls in various plumages. It was very nice to see these birds together so we could compare them side by side. We also got some really close up looks at Red-breasted Mergansers.
We crossed the bridge to South Portland and stopped at the bridge hoping to see a Peregrine Falcon. We saw one fly off the bridge and followed it up into the sky, where it interacted with a Cooper’s Hawk. The two birds flipped over to take a swipe at each other with their talons before they moved off.
While we were watching this, another falcon appeared near the bridge and landed so we could get the scope on it. All had excellent views. Next, we stopped at Mill Creek and saw a female Wood Duck among over 300 mallards.
Off to Dyer point in Cape Elizabeth to see a variety of sea sucks. We were fortunate to have some really good looks at the beautiful Harlequin Ducks. We scanned for alcids and were not disappointed when we saw a Black Guillemot. It was already changing plumage away from its winter colors to spring. We were all hoping that was a good sign. We also had a Great Cormorant fly by.
The day ended at Kettle Cove. We had all of our sea ducks and a Common Loon, but also 10 Brant. We had a total of 30 species for the day — and broke a record for the warmest Wings of Winter ever! Thank you to all who joined us for this excellent trip.