By – Stan DeOrsey
As with many trips, the weather has a lot to say about the trip success. This one had an early prediction of rain or snow but as the forecast evolved a hint of perhaps 40 degrees and light wind made for good expectations. This is one of those trips with minimal walking replaced by driving to multiple nearby locations.
The trip was well lead by Andrew Gilbert and Gordon Smith. It started with about 16 people at the Portland Head Light. We were greeted by a Northern Mockingbird, and later by four Eastern Bluebirds. Neither of which is why you stop here. We did find many Common Eiders, and 30 White-winged Scoters with 14 Black Scoters. 26 Great Cormorants were seen by scope on the Ram Island Light catwalk.
The next stop was Pond Cove and some found the Eastern Phoebe reported here. We also had a Red-bellied Woodpecker and heard a Caroline Wren. Then continued to Two Lights Park. The “best” birds here were six Harlequin Ducks and three very cooperative and close Surf Scoters. One Black Guillemot was seen well but briefly. A Black-legged Kittiwake also flew low over us. Next was Dyer Point for more Harleguins and Common Goldeneyes.
The caravan then stopped at Kettle Cove and turned around. 13 Common Loons awaited here and 25 Tree Swallows (not Tree Sparrow although 5 were seen). The Swallows were across the cove by scope best identified by their flight. The nearly last stop was Mill Creek Cove in “downtown” South Portland where Gordon counted 665 Mallards and John Berry photographed a first year Iceland Gull.
The real last stop was the Portland Fish Pier where the Peregrine Falcon was spotted under the Casco Bay Bridge. Some saw the MOD (mammal of the day) two Gray or Harbor Seals.
Other sea birds were seen at the various stops but mostly via scope or as quick flybys. Seen well but not mentioned were Buffleheads, Long-tailed Ducks, Great Black-backed Gulls and a few others. It was a fun trip but no Purple Sandpipers were found. And it was cold by the end, not to mention the strong wind at most stops.
The complete eBird checklists are:
https://ebird.org/checklist/S63793573 Portland Head Light
https://ebird.org/checklist/S63793767 Pond Cove
https://ebird.org/checklist/S63794190 Two Lights SP
https://ebird.org/checklist/S63794309 Dyer Point
https://ebird.org/checklist/S63794850 Kettle Cove
https://ebird.org/checklist/S63774377 Mill Creek Cove
https://ebird.org/checklist/S63774887 Portland Fish Pier