Birder's Guide

DEC 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 23 of 43

22 Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | December 2018 Maine Big Year effort also provided the uncommon fall shorebirds: Baird's Sandpiper and Stilt Sandpiper. My first Western Sandpiper of the year was there two weeks later. On our way back from a summer va- cation to New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy for the Semipalmated Sandpiper mi- gration spectacle, we stopped in Eastport (Site WN13) for a boat trip with our friend Chris Bartlett on August 20. Luckily, we found the Little Gull in Maine waters, as well as my first Red-necked Phalaropes of the year. Heading into the Book Big Year project, I was hoping a few of the book signings I would do around the state would give me the chance to add a couple of new species to the list, chase a bird or two I wouldn't have driven as far for, or otherwise just check out a few sites that I rarely if ever bird. A talk and signing in Bar Harbor on September 7 gave me the chance to find a Blue Grosbeak behind the Mount Desert Island High School (Site H6) before my program. It doesn't take a Big Year to get me to Sandy Point Beach on Cousin's Island in Yarmouth (Site C14) at every possible op- portunity—and attempt to quantify—the morning flight. As in most years, it yielded a Connecticut Warbler (on September 9), and on September 13 a Lark Sparrow—my 184th species for me here and the culmina- tion of a record-shattering run at "my of- fice". Somehow, I didn't have the sparrow in all of my time on Monhegan later that month, so this was a big score. It was just about time for me to leave the store on September 16 to pick up my rental van for my WINGS tour to Monhegan that was starting the next day. Then the phone rang. It was our friend Barbara Carlson visiting us from San Diego, who was out chasing the Little Egret at Gilsland Farm when she ran into Angus King Jr., who asked her to identify a bird he just pho- tographed. She called in excited panic as she attempted to explain to us, on King's cell phone she borrowed, that a mega-rare Fork-tailed Flycatcher was there as well. I pondered the timing, but was wise enough to go pick up the van first, before I missed closing time. I was happy the Fork-tailed (my 377th Maine state bird) stuck around long enough for me to do the right thing first and not jeopardize my tour. Joking about wanting to see the Little Egret and a Fork-tailed Flycatcher from the same spot, I turned around to scan the Presumpscot River and spotted two Caspian Terns. A species I see every year, usually just by birding the right places n Now basically annual in Maine, I was pleased to pick up this Pink-footed Goose overwintering in Rockland early in my Book Big Year…likely saving me a six-hour drive to "The County" in fall rare goose season. Photo © Jeannette Lovitch n The first state record Snowy Plover at Reid State Park was an easy twitch, once we convinced our brand-new neighbors that they wanted to join us instead of coming over for dinner. This was the first "life bird" for the Metzgers, and yes, they are still our friends. Photo © Jeannette Lovitch Seal Island for the year…or for my year list. A few other serendipitous twitches and finds in August really helped out my quest. There was the Black-necked Stilt found at Weskeag Marsh (Site KX2) on August 2 all of a one-mile detour on our way home from a weekend escape. I missed White-faced Ibis in Scarborough Marsh this spring, and all summer it was only being seen in and around Spurwink Marsh in Cape Elizabeth, which is not a site in the book. Therefore, I was ecstatic to find it back in Scarborough Marsh while I was searching for shorebirds along the Eastern Trail (Site C1) on August 7. This

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