Nature trips



MACHIAS, July 3 – 6, 2009



Nineteen birders including the leader headed up to Machias for the 28th Annual Machias, ME.  Weekend from July 3-6, 2009.  The goal of this trip was to seek out the Boreal Species and birds not usually seen in Massachusetts.  Several of the birders were very experienced, a few were beginners.  All contributed greatly to the sightings because of their ability to spot and hear the birds and their knowledge about them.  The weather was perfect for birding; cloudy but mild when birding on land, sunny but cool when out to sea and on Machias Seal Island.

Participants drove through fog most of the way,  arrived separately at the Bluebird Motel in Machias on Friday, July 3 and met at 2 PM to bird around the Motel and the Rogue’s Bluff Area.   Within minutes from stepping out of the car on Birch Point Road, in Rogue’s Bluff, a hen SPRUCE GROUSE was spotted along with two chicks.  . 

On Day 2, we birded in Topsfield, ME in a vast Boreal forest with Marion Bates as our Guide.  We went out to sea on day 3 to Machias Seal Island, then  to West Quoddy Head in the afternoon.  We returned to the Boston area on Day 4, but stopped at Lake Messalonskee in Belgrade, then we drove over to the Weskeag Marsh in Thomaston before finishing the trip. 

Highlights of the trip were the 4000 PUFFINS, 2000 RAZORBILLS, 1000 COMMON MURRES,  3 FULMAR, Eagle’s nest with two young , 14 SPRUCE GROUSE,


 Locations listed below

MSI = Machias Seal Island., MB = Machias Bay; RB = Rogue’s Bluff,;

 WC = Washington County; T = Topsfield; QH = Quoddy Head;  

WM = Weskeag Marsh; M = Lake Messalonskee

Below is the complete Bird  list:  Total Species: 107

Common Loon      (3) – WC, MB,

Pied-Bill Grebe       (3) –   M


Greater Shearwater   ( 1) – MB

Sooty Shearwater      (3)  –  MB

Wilson’s Storm Petrel  (30+) – MB

Northern Gannet (3)  – MB

Double-crested Cormorant (30+) – WC, MSI

American Bittern  (1)  – M

Great Blue Heron  (6) – MSI, M, WM

Great Egret (2)  – WM

Snowy Egret (2)  – WM

Canada Goose  (50+) – WC

Wood Duck (5)  Mallard (2) – WM

Common Eider  (30+)  – MB, QH

Turkey Vulture  (1) – WC

Osprey (4) T, MB, – Rte 95

Bald Eagle  (10) – WC., M.B.

Cooper’s Hawk (1) – WC

Broad-winged hawk (3) – W.C.

Red-tailed Hawk (1)  – WC

American Kestrel (5) – MSI, T, WC

Peregrine Falcon (1)  – MSI

SPRUCE GROUSE (13)  (4 adult, 9 young) – R.B., T

Wild Turkey  (4) –  rte 95

Killdeer (2) – WM

Spotted sandpiper (1) –  MSI

Semipalmated sandpiper (1) – WC

Laughing Gull (2) – MSI

Herring Gull  X –  several places

Great Black-back Gull  X  –  MSI

Arctic Tern (50+) – MSI

Black Tern  (4+) – M

COMMON MURRE  (1000 +) – MSI



Black Guillemot (3) – MB

Rock Dove   X – WC

Mourning Dove  X – WC

Common Nighthawk (1)  QH

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2) – T, WC

Belted Kingfisher (2) T, M

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1) – T

Downey  Woodpecker (2) – T, QH


Northern Flicker  (6) – T ,QH

Olive-sided Flycatcher (1) – T

Eastern Wood-Pewee (1) – T

Alder Flycatcher (1) – Motel

Eastern Phoebe  (1)  –  T

Great-crested Flycatcher (1) – RB

Eastern Kingbird (2) – T, QH

Tree swallow (13) – RB, T, MSI, M

Barn Swallow (4) – T, MSI, M

GRAY JAY (14) – RB, T

Blue Jay (2) – RB, T, QH

American Crow X – Various places

Common Raven (5) – RB, T

Black-capped Chickadee (16) – RB, T., QH


Red-breasted Nuthatch (11) – RB, T

White-breasted Nuthatch (2) – T

Winter Wren (4) –T, QH

Golden-crowned Kinglet (6) – RB, QH

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1) – T

Eastern Bluebird (1+) – T., WC

Veery (1)  T

Swainson’s Thrush (2) – T

Hermit thrush (23) – RB, T, QH

American Robin  (X)  – various places

Gray Catbird (1) – T

Cedar Waxwing (20+) T

European Starling  (X)  Machias, T,

Blue-headed Vireo (2) – T

Warbling Vireo (1) – M

Red-eyed Vireo (3) – RB, T

Warblers:  Nashville (3) – RB., T., QH

                 Parula (5) – T, QH

                 Yellow (4) – RB, T, QH

                 Chestnut-sided (1) – T

                 Magnolia  (14)  – RB, T

                 Black-throated Blue (3) T, QH

                 Yellow-rumped (12) – RB, T, QH

                 Black-throated Green (11) – RB, T, QH, Motel

                 Pine  (20)  –  RB, T

                 Palm  (1) – T

                 Black & White (13) – RB, T, QH

                American Redstart (8) –  RB, T, QH

                Ovenbird (1) – T

                Common Yellowthroat (21+ ) RB, T, QH

 Wilson’s  (1) – T

Rose-breasted Grosbeak ( 1) – T

Indigo Bunting (1)  – T

SPARROWS:  Chipping (2) RB

                         Savannah (5)  RB , MSI

                          Salt-marsh Sharp-tailed (1 +) – W

                          NELSON’s SHARP-TAIL (4+)  – W

                          Song  (5)  RB, Motel, T, QH

                          Lincoln’s  (2) – T, QH

                          Swamp (2+)  QH, M

Dark-eyed Junco (4)  – RB, T, QH

Red-wing Blackbird (5)  QH, M W

Common Grackle (7) – RB, WC, T

House Finch (1)  QH

White-wing Crossbill (2) T

American Goldfinch (11) – WC, RB, T

House Sparrow (1) – Machias

MAMMALS etc,:  Moose (1), Bear (1), Snow-shoe Hare (2), Gray squirrel, Red-bellied snake(1).




Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2006 15:29:42 EDT
Hi Massbirders,
    Today I led a group of 8 birders to South Beach, 8am - 12 noon,
southerly winds (~10mph and less), sunny and clear. We landed at the tip, did a
large circle to the "Curlew SP" flats and then back to the E buoy.

    Shortly after landing and beginning to walk (on flats near E buoy), we
observed a banded 'sandpiper' feeding with a second sandpiper.   My initial reaction was
Semi-palms, however the more I looked at the banded bird, the more I knew it
wasn't a Semi-palm.   As well, a Sanderling was feeding with these 2 birds and the
size of the Sanderling was noticeably larger than the 2 'sandpipers'.  

    What struck me about the banded bird was the amount of red seen on the
front of its face and under its chin/upper breast.   Although not breeding
plumage brilliant, the red color was indeed noticeable.  Other observations
written down include: dark eye lore and 'spot' after the eye; reddish coverts
on wing; legs black with tibia shortish & tarsus longer; head was streaky with
dark and white; a circle of white plumage appeared around the base of the black
bill; undersides all white; tail of bird dark plumage.   The birds ultimately
flew after several minutes of viewing and couldn't be relocated.   The banding
(which I will also report appropriately): left leg - dark green flag on tibia
and a orange band on the 'ankle';   right leg - tibia either white or silver

One participant had a camera and has taken some photos that will be forwarded
to me.   While observing the bird, I did put a call into Blair Nikula who
wasn't available at the time. I am hoping to share any photos with him as our
local expert!

Other highlights:
Curlew Sandpiper - excellent looks at it bathing and preening
Marbled Godwits - 2
Hudsonian Godwits - 2
Dunlin - 3
Snowy Egrets - 4 in flight near Outermost Harbor

The tide was high, descending around 10am.   The number of birds where we
birded wasn't as great as what I observed last week on 3 different visits. The

usual suspects were still there though:

Black-bellied and Semi-palm Plovers were the most numerous
Piping Plover - 2
Red Knots - lesser amounts than last week
SB Dowitchers - Lesser amounts than last week
American Oystercatchers - 16
Ruddy Turnstones - 8
Least SP's
Least Tern - 6
Whimbrel - 1
Willets - 18 (including a couple of 'western')
Common Terns
Laughing Gulls
Herring Gulls
Greater Black-backed Gulls
Horned Lark - 1

Didn't see any Roseate or Black Terns.

Good birding, Diane

Diane Silverstein
Dennisport, MA
birder526 AT (Cape Cod Bird Club)


  Participants on an all-day pelagic trip aboard the Captain John boat
  Tales of the Sea sponsored by the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance
  on Sunday, June 11, found themselves surrounded by whales, dolphins,
  shearwaters and storm-petrels. Unlike the mainland, it was even cool.
  Leaving Plymouth, the boat rounded Race Point and cruised down the
  outside of the Cape until reaching a "feeding frenzy" off Orleans.

  Totals for the trip, some of them guesstimates, according to the
  naturalists aboard (Wayne Petersen, David Clapp and John Jahoda), were:

     8 Common Loons
     1 Red-throated Loon (in breeding plumage)
     ca. 10 Double-crested Cormorants
     1 Brant
     1 Piping Plover
     1 Least Tern
      "several" Common Terns
     600 Sooty Shearwaters
     600 Greater Shearwaters
     4 Manx Shearwaters
     1000 Wilson’s Storm-Petrels
     30 Northern Gannets
     1 or 2 Parasitic Jaegers
     3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
     Uncounted Great Black-backed, Herring and Laughing Gulls
     1  Gray Seal
     8  Finback Whales
     30 Humpback Whales
     7 Minke Whales
     250-300 White-sided Dolphins
     1 Basking Shark

     All of the above illustrating that in 10 hours a pelagic trip can get to locations
  impossible to access in 4 or 5 hours.  It was a great trip.

This chap was on the boat and had some amazing pictures. Here’s a link to his website which represents a lot of what we saw on Saturday:


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