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home : birding w/don reimer : birding w/don reimer
January 29, 2020

12/24/2014 10:27:00 AM
Christmas Bird Count - Results from Thomaston-Rockland count
Clockwise from top left: Ring-Necked Duck, Common Redpoll, Ruddys and Gray Catbird (Photos by Don Reimer)
Clockwise from top left: Ring-Necked Duck, Common Redpoll, Ruddys and Gray Catbird (Photos by Don Reimer)
Clockwise from top left: male Hooded Merganser, American Coots, Barred Owl and Eastern Bluebird
Clockwise from top left: male Hooded Merganser, American Coots, Barred Owl and Eastern Bluebird
by Don Reimer

As part of National Audubon Society's 115th Christmas Bird Count, the annual Thomaston-Rockland Bird Count was conducted this past Saturday, on December 20. Currently there are 32 Christmas Bird Counts held across the state. The count period extends from December 14 through January 5 and is intended to provide a winter snapshot of bird populations and distribution across the western hemisphere.

Two dozen hardy volunteers tallied 78 species and 6,311 individual birds within the 15-mile count circle that is geographically centered at the Knox Mansion in Thomaston. Bare ground conditions made for easy travel conditions this time around, and some of the larger water bodies remained open. Chickawaukie Lake, in particular, offered up a nice variety of waterfowl, including Scaup ducks, Ring-Necked and several other species of divers. A flock of 148 American Coots near the Route 17 lake margin was certainly a highlight there.

Due to poor cone crops across our region this year, we had not anticipated groups of winter finches, and, clearly, this prediction came true on Saturday. With the exception of a few Common Redpolls, 10 Bohemian Waxwings and three colorful Evening Grosbeaks, the northern finch contingent was virtually absent. Not a single Cedar Waxwing was recorded on any of the three local bird counts this year.

Each count presents some surprises: A Clay-Colored Sparrow found at the Samoset Resort is a new species for this count and is an exceptional find at this season of the year. A Black-Legged Kittiwake, spotted by a Vinalhaven Ferry birder near Owls Head, was another notable find. A lingering Gray Catbird, two Red-Winged Blackbirds and a Double-Crested Cormorant loafing in a quarry added a hint of summer past to the results.

We note a continent-wide march of northern range expansions for dozens of species. Here in Maine, numbers of Cardinals, Mourning Doves, Carolina Wrens and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers continue to build as these former southern species now overwinter in Maine. The gradual recovery of Eastern Bluebirds is very encouraging (over 300 bluebirds were recorded across Maine on last year's counts).

Thomaston/Rockland CBC Results December 20, 2014
Red-throated Loon9Downy Woodpecker26
Common Loon79Northern Flicker2
Red-necked Grebe9Pileated Woodpecker5
Horned Grebe32Northern Shrike1
D-crested Cormorant1Blue Jay157
Canada Goose682American Crow351
Black Duck64Common Raven28
Mallard732Bl-capped Chickadee425
Ring-necked Duck2Tufted Titmouse23
Greater Scaup10R-breasted Nuthatch20
Ruddy Duck1W-breasted Nuthatch39
Common Eider196Brown Creeper9
Long-tailed Duck88G-crowned Kinglet3
Black Scoter1American Robin34
Surf Scoter59Eastern Bluebird9
Common Goldeneye37No. Mockingbird2
Bufflehead169Gray Catbird1
Hooded Merganser11Bohemian Waxwing10
Common Merganser39European Starling551
R-breasted Merganser101No. Cardinal54
Bald Eagle:12 adultsAm. Tree Sparrow53
6 immaturesSong Sparrow17
Northern Harrier2Clay-colored Sparrow1
Sharp-shinned Hawk2Wh-throated Sparrow31
Cooper's Hawk1Dark-eyed Junco40
Red-tailed Hawk14Red-wing Blackbird2
Rough-legged Hawk1House Finch56
Merlin1Common Redpoll10
Wild Turkey93Pine Siskin17
Ruffed Grouse4American Goldfinch166
American Coot148Evening Grosbeak3
Purple Sandpiper8House Sparrow61
Bonaparte's Gull21
Kittiwake1Total:78 species
Ring-billed Gull25and 6,311
Herring Gull728individual birds
Glaucous Gull2
Gr. Black-back Gull19
Thick-billed Murre1
Belted Kingfisher1
Black Guillemot22
Rock Pigeon402
Mourning Dove273
Barred Owl2
Red-bellied W-pecker2
Hairy Woodpecker21

Note: "Count Week" birds (birds that are not found on the official count date, but are seen within a 3-day period prior to the count date and 3 days after the count date) so far include Iceland Gull, Great Blue Heron, Snow Bunting, Pintail

Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, January 1, 2015
Article comment by: John Fitzgerald

Don - I live in Camden - just outside of town toward the Snow Bowl - and I'm a backyard birder. I read this year's bird-count results and noted that there were no Cedar Waxwings sighted. Early morning on Dec 31 I observed a small flock of about 8-10 in a fruit tree we have and they were back today, Jan 1. They did not look as colorful as they are when I've seen them in the spring but they were definitely Cedar Waxwings. We have all of the regular birds you would expect, including a family of cardinals for the past several years. Most summers we have nesting bluebirds in boxes we have on the property.

My mother was a great backyard birder and it was she who really sparked my interest. She lived in a small town outside of NYC and on one visit with her, we were having breakfast and I was telling her about my first sighting up here of a large flock of Cedar Waxwings in the berry trees we have on our property - they are such a beautiful bird. Her breakfast nook looked out over a berry tree and about 5 min after I told her that story, a large flock of them alighted in the tree and began to feed. It was an amazing coincidence.

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