Photographs by Frank

30 June 2014

Coastal Maine Trip, Part III (Hog Island Birds)

Filed under: Birds,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 6:00 PM

Part II  is here.

Wednesday morning after breakfast the entire group set out for the mainland for birding at the The Damariscotta River Association’s Salt Bay Farm property. As we arrived at the parking area we noted a juvenile bald eagle perched on a rock in the middle of the pond… too far away for good photographs.  There were large numbers of bobolinks nesting in the meadows that are managed for grassland nesting birds. There were also red-winged blackbirds, common yellowthroats and sparrows present.

We were back on Hog Island for lunch and spent the afternoon working on various projects individually and in small groups. I spent the afternoon staking out a tree where a pair of nesting merlins were know to make regular transfers of prey from the hunting male to the female who was tending the nest*. More on this later, in the last Hog Island post.

The evening program was given by camp director Scott Weidensaul. His wonderful presentation, on avian migration, was based on his book Living on the Wind.

The photos of the female osprey shown below are of the individual tending three youngsters in the nest at the Hog Island camp. There is a webcam on this nest which can be viewed by clicking here. Our room while we were on Hog Island was not more than a hundred feet from this nest.

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Female Common Eiders with Chicks at Dawn
Female Common Eiders with Chicks at Dawn
Merlin Pair with Prey
Merlin Pair with Prey
Female Merlin
Female Merlin
Female Osprey on Nest
Female Osprey on Nest
Herring Gull
Herring Gull
Bobolink in Tall Grass
Bobolink in Tall Grass
Common Yellowthroat with Prey
Common Yellowthroat with Prey
Red-winged Blackbird Calling
Red-winged Blackbird Calling
Female Osprey on Nest
Female Osprey on Nest
Female Merlin
Female Merlin
Male Merlin
Male Merlin
American Robin with Prey
American Robin with Prey

*When actively nesting, the female merlin broods the eggs (and  young nestlings) while the male hunts. The pair uses a regular perch high in the trees to transfer prey. The male alights on the perch with the prey then the female swoops in at full speed, snatches the prey from the male and, in a flash, heads back to the nest.  All of this is accompanied by raucous calling, by both the male and female, that begins when the female first spots the male, as much as maybe 30 seconds before he appears at the perch.

Part IV is here.


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