Monday, June 17, 2013

Monhegan Island, Maine

I had the pleasure over the Memorial Day Weekend of leading the Hampshire Bird Club trip to Monhegan Island, Maine, The Island is located about ten miles off the coast of Maine and is easily one of the best birding locations in (Spring/Fall)  New England.

We arrived at Port Clyde around 1:30pm, unloaded the cars, got the tickets and waited in the rain. The rain was light but steady and would remain so for the next day and a half. The boat ride out on the Elizabeth Ann was about an hour and fifteen long minutes to Monhegan. The seas were rough, (6 ft) and by the time we were nearing port, a few on board were looking a little “Green”.

We checked into the Trailing Yew, unpacked and went over the schedule for the next few days. One thing was apparent on our way to the Yew, there were birds on the Island, “Lots of Birds”. We had landed into a fallout. The next morning we had several Magnolia Warblers just on the stone wall! During are walks we constantly had fantastic looks at everything we encountered. It seems that every trip I’ve been on, there is always one warbler that out numbers them all….this year’s winner was the American Redstart. Redstarts were everywhere! Even on the beach feeding on sand fleas.

Without question the majority of the Redstarts were females or young males. They were so common, that non-birder’s would walk up to us and asked what the little bird was with yellow flashes in the wings and tail…..I would respond, AMERICAN REDSTART…….they would immediately fire back and say, no, no, these birds have yellow not red. I know, there female American Redstarts….oh.
Then we would do this all over again when we ran into the next non-birder.

Back to the weather……it was lousy! Many, if not all of us had multiple layers of clothing and rain gear, mittens and warm hats. This same system that brought us our raw and rainy weather, dumped three feet of snow into upper New York state.  However, without this horrible weather we would not have had the birds we did. Besides the Redstarts, we had many Yellow, Magnolia, Canada, Wilson, Yellowthroats etc…all in all we had twenty one species of Warblers, five species of Vireo’s, and numerous Empid Flycatchers. We ended with 109 species of birds and 3 species of mammals.  

By late Sunday afternoon the clouds started to break up and on Monday (departure day) it was a beautiful day……and the ride home was extremely smooth.


Magnolia Warbler- Not as common as the American Redstarts this weekend, but provided everyone with killer looks.

American Pipit- up to four were present throughout the weekend on Fish Beach.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher- Not normally found on a beach! Part of a large Flycatcher fallout.

Common Yellowthroat

Yellow Warbler-very common and wet.

Chipping sparrow- Not many on the Island, but great views on the steps of the Trailing Yew.

Acadian Flycatcher- Another  standout on Fish Beach.

American Redstart- of the dozens & dozens seen during our stay...this was one of the few males we encountered.

Wilson's Warbler- Fish Beach area.

American Redstart-female. This was the most common warbler we encountered during the weekend. In fact, it was so common...many non-birder's stopped and asked us what the small birds were with yellow in their wings & tails. When I told them it was an American Redstart..they said "NO", it had no red on it! I said that's because they are females....."Yellow Starts"

Wilson's Warbler hiding out in front of the Island Inn.

Carolina Wren- A steady population on the Island

Swainson's Thrush-The only Thrush we had, but gave the group excellent looks. (Ice Pond)

Cape May Warbler-only one, but what a stunner.

White-crowned Sparrow-

Canada Warbler- One of the favorites of the weekend. 

Canada Warbler-up close

Northern Parula

Northern Gannet- Not a lot, but the ones that were around put on a nice show off of Lobster Cove.

Eastern Kingbird down on the rocks at Lobster Cove.

Black-throated Green Warbler-female.

Trailing Yew-Home away from home for the weekend.

Looking out from the Trailing Yew towards the Lighthouse

Monhegan Harbor at dusk

Looking down on the village of Monhegan

Monhegan Lighthouse

The marsh at dusk

Orchard Oriole- Imm Male.
Double-crested Cormorant at the Ice Pond...showing off his Double Crests.

Bay-breasted Warbler- Our only one -near the Schoolhouse.

Lincoln's Sparrow- a handful around that weekend.

Northern Parula with what looks like Chestnut coloring on the flanks?

Chestnut-sided Warbler-A crowd favorite.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Looking towards Whitehead from Burnthead

Blackpoll Warbler-

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Local Lobster fisherman's Co-Pilot!

Black Guillemot -very common from Port Clyde to Monhegan

Harbor Porpoise -on the way back to Port Clyde.

Harbor Seal- also seen on the way back to the mainland

Lighthouse just outside of Port Clyde

The group outside the Trailing Yew.....The Sun did come out!!!!