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 25 of 43

n Despite much searching in December, I could not come up with a Thick-billed Murre. Of course, I would find several in January of 2018, including one at Marginal Way in Ogunquit. Photo © Jeannette Lovitch Maine Big Year 24 Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | December 2018 result in a very respectable list, with just a little extra effort. A s the calendar changed to 2018, like many a real Big Year birder, I took a deep breath, relished the freedom of not being a slave to the list, grabbed my bin- oculars, and just went birding! No list. one bird was ranging up and down the coast, perhaps between Prouts Neck and Plum Island. Between June 9 and 12, it was reliable off of Pine Point, when I was Downeast with my WINGS tour. Until the last report on or about August 2, sev- eral birders lucked into it here and there, and several non-birders I knew excitedly reported their sightings—including our store's landlord, who texted me a phone photo of it flying past Long Sands Beach (Site Y3) in York while he was out surfing. Big Year or otherwise, that stings! So overall, I think I did quite well. It's safe to say I saw a large majority of the +/-343 species observed in Maine in 2017, or roughly 89%, at sites covered within Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide. I don't use eBird, so my list "doesn't count" according to some, but I took a look at the eBird year list for 2017. My list was good for second in the state, de- spite my self-imposed limitations, quite a bit of travel (a total of 35 days out of the state this year), and an exceptionally busy schedule all year—not to mention my usual aversion towards chasing more than the occasional mega-rarity. I also vis - ited 105 of the 201 sites covered in the book. Not bad. More important, it proved my two primary hypotheses correct: 1 • Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide has comprehensive coverage of just about ev- ery regularly occurring bird in the state, in- cluding localized breeders, migrant traps, and many of the best spots for finding and seeing vagrants. 2 • Using the guide to "just go birding" can n Rarely detected in migration outside of night flight calls in the fall, this Gray-cheeked Thrush was unexpected, and unexpectedly early, in yards of Biddeford Pool after an April fallout. Photo © Derek Lovitch

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