The State of Maine’s Loons – with “The Birdist” Nick Lund – Tuesday, November 19th

The Common Loon is an iconic denizen and for many epitomizes a Maine summer. But how well do you actually know the Common Loon?  Do they migrate?  What do they eat? How long do they live?  How many Common Loons are there? Why are loons important?

This program will start with an in-depth look at the physiology and habits of the Common Loon, including how its body is built to be an effective underwater hunter, and the timing of its arrival on Maine breeding lakes. We will also take a look at the threats faced by loons.

Nick Lund is Maine Audubon’s Network and Outreach Manager. A Maine native and well known birder, he writes for publications like Audubon, Slate, Down East, and National Geographic.  On the web many follow his entertaining posts about birds and birding at “The Birdist”.

Maine Audubon has worked for more than 35 years to count loons in the state, and to examine the causes of loon mortality. This information has helped inform policies necessary to protect loons and ensure that their calls echo across Maine lakes for years to come.

This program will be held in the Mather Auditorium of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. This program is free and open to the public, and starts at 7 p.m.  Come early for social time and refreshments.

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Bird Seed Sale and Barn Social – Saturday, November 9th, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Warm up this Saturday as the Wells Reserve at Laudholm will provides cider and donuts to ward off the chill. Feeding birds in winter is a fun way to see chickadees, woodpeckers, blue jays, cardinals and other birds up close. If you’re getting ready to welcome feathered friends to your yard, stop by for good advice, fresh seed, and select feeders. A representative from Blue Seal’s Rochester store will answer bird-feeding questions, members of York County Audubon will offer bird-watching tips. Seed pickup is also available on Friday from 1 – 4 p.m.

To view an order form, click this link: http://www.yorkcountyaudubon.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/SeedSale2019.pdf

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Bird Sketching Workshop with Michael Boardman – Wednesday, October 30th

Sketching birds is a great way to increase your appreciation of birds and your abilities to identify them.  This fun and low pressure workshop will allow you to explore sketching birds using mounted specimens. Michael Boardman is a wildlife artist and master naturalist who will introduce you to or help you develop further your ability to sketch birds and nature.

Open to both beginners and those with more experience, we will work to loosen up your artist hand to eye coordination through fun exercises, talk about and practice some sketching techniques for making visual notes when watching birds in the field, and work on details of anatomy and structure. There will also be a brief watercolor demo with the opportunity to experiment with some color. All materials will be provided but people are welcome to bring their own supplies.

Michael is known for his watercolor bird portraits and nature journal sketches. He has connected his art to wildlife science through artist residencies at Acadia National Park, Hog Island Audubon Camp, Glacier Bay National Park, and most recently Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in June of 2019. He is also the owner and artist of Coyote Graphics, creating nature based garments from his artwork.

Group size is limited and advance registration is required.  To register, click on the link for this event in the Calendar column on the right side of this page, then scroll down and use the registration form. The price is $20/ person ($25/person for non-members), payable by cash or check at the workshop.

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Rare Birds in Maine – A Workshop with Doug Hitchcox – Saturday, Nov 2nd

Rare birds capture our imagination. They draw crowds, appear on headlines, and offer a unique opportunity to see something foreign to your area. Join Maine Audubon’s Staff Naturalist, Doug Hitchcox, for a workshop to learn how and why some birds appear out of their normal range, tools you can use to predict their occurrence, and tips on what to do if you find something unusual. During this, we will begin our day with a bird walk to check for any unusual sightings during “rarity season”, gather inside for a slideshow, then follow up with a second walk nearby.

Advance registration is required.  To register, click on the link for this event in the Calendar column on the right side of this page, then scroll down and use the registration form. The price is $20/ person ($25/person for non-members), payable by cash or check at the workshop.

We’ll meet at the Fire Station in Biddeford Pool at 7:30 a.m. and start with a little local birding with rarities (or at least uncommon birds) in mind.  Then we’ll have an indoor session in the second floor room of the FD building, then take another shot at some of the great local birding spots.

A Maine native, Doug Hitchcox grew up in Hollis and graduated from the University of Maine in 2011. The year he graduated, he traveled to every corner of the state trying to observe as many species as possible in what is known as a ‘Big Year.’ He ended the year having seen 314 species in the state, a new record for Maine. Throughout college Doug worked at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center running their store and leading walks and tours. Doug was hired as Maine Audubon’s Staff Naturalist in the summer of 2013, a long time “dream job” for him. In his free time, Doug is one of Maine’s eBird reviewers, owner and moderator of the ‘Maine-birds’ listserv, York County Audubon board member, and voting member of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

Photos below are LeConte’s Sparrow and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, two birds that were found in Maine, well outside their normal range

Posted in Workshop

Oaxaca Mexico: Rare Birds and Ancient Cultures – with Doug Hitchcox and Ken Janes – Tuesday, October 22nd

In March 2019, Maine Audubon, in association with Field Guides Birding Tours, made a trip to south-western Mexico in search of rare species that are unique to the Sierra Madre mountains area. Based in the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca, known for great birds, authentic food, and amazing human history, the group explored many habitats including the semi-arid deserts near Teotitltán and the pine forests of La Cumbre at altitudes of up to almost 10000 feet. 

Doug and Ken will report on the successful search for rare endemic species like Dwarf Jay, Gray-barred Wren, Mountain Trogon and Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo in the mountains as well as the Oaxaca Sparrow, Boucard’s Wren, Gray-breasted Woodpecker, and Dusky Hummingbird in the desert areas. Many other species were added to the list including flocks of Gray Silky-flycatcher, rare Ocellated Thrasher, and the beautiful Red Warbler. 

The presentation will include a description of the city of Oaxaca and the surrounding area, home of the ancient pre-Columbian Zapotec culture. The group had a chance to explore the imposing ruins of Monte Albán and Mitla, learning about early indigenous people and their impressive engineering and architectural skills. We also had ample opportunity to watch local artisans weaving traditional tapestries and sample the world- famous cuisine. Where else can you watch Blue-throated Hummingbirds while enjoying a lunch of Aztec stew? 

Doug Hitchcox is the Staff Naturalist at Maine Audubon and was one of the guides. Ken Janes is a Kennebunk resident and enthusiastic birder. Both are members of York County Audubon and serve on the Board of Directors.

The program will be held in the Mather Auditorium of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. This program is free and open to the public, and starts at 7 p.m.  Come early for social time and refreshments.

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Our 21st Annual Bird Seed Sale is coming!

Keep your feathered friends happy this winter by treating them to tasty and fresh, premium quality bird food and help support two of your favorite environmental organizations at the same time.  Profits from our annual sale support the educational programs of both York County Audubon and the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.  A wide variety of types of seed and suet is available, with great pricing, especially if you order early.

Early bird pricing is available if you place your order by 4 p.m. on Friday, October 25th

Order pick up will be at the Wells Reserve on Friday, November 8th from 1 – 4 p.m., and Saturday, Nov 9th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with easy access and volunteers on hand to help load your car. 

For more information, please access the order form via this link:

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The Harlequin – Autumn 2019

Please click on the link below to view the Autumn 2019 issue of our Harlequin newsletter (with photos in full color!)


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Photographing the Night Sky: Capturing the Stars, Milky Way, and Northern Lights with Mike Taylor – Tuesday, Sept 17th

Photographing the Night Sky: Capturing the Stars, Milky Way, and Northern Lights with artist, astro-photographer, philosopher, musician, movie buff, and self-proclaimed connoisseur of beverages made from malted barley Mike Taylor.

Mike Taylor been interested in observing and photographing the features of the night sky since he was a child.  He says it is an awe-inspiring experience that too few people ever get to enjoy. Nature at night is so radically different from the day! Moonlight, unusual noises, or unfamiliar sights can awaken your inner child. We marvel at the world again.

Mike is a contributing member of the International Dark-Sky Association and he has been working in conjunction with their organization to help raise public awareness of artificial light pollution and its negative effects on human health, wildlife, safety and energy waste.

His landscape astrophotography and scenic/nature images articles have been featured in many places including Down East, Outdoor Photography, Astronomy, social media, and television news programs to name just a few.  Marvel at the sights of the night sky!

FMI: www.miketaylorphoto.com  or on Facebook: Taylor Photography

The program will be held in the Mather Auditorium of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. This program is free and open to the public, and starts at 7 p.m.  Come early for social time and refreshments.

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The State of Maine’s Wildlife – with Judy Camuso, Commissioner of Maine IF&W – Tuesday, June 18th

Judy Camuso’s career began at Maine Audubon and she has been engaging people with wildlife ever since. Knowing that people will conserve and protect the things they love, her mission became to share her passion for nature.

An important opportunity led her to become Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s first female regional biologist and later to become the Director of the Department and most recently Commissioner.  This amazing woman is a licensed bird bander and an avid birder, as well as a hunter, who canoes, hikes and bikes. Camuso is a leader in protecting Maine’s inland fish, and wildlife.

We hear that visitors to Maine annually contribute more than a billion dollars to our economy in their pursuit of wildlife-related activities.  Governor Mills’ appointment of Judy Camuso to become Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife gives her an incredible opportunity to spread her enthusiasm and passion.

Camuso is respected for her science-based management decisions regarding Maine’s inland fish, wildlife, and non-game habitats.  We look forward to hearing updates on endangered species as well as our iconic species like loons, moose and arctic char.

This program is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.  Come early for social time and refreshments.  The program begins at 7 pm and will be preceded by a brief annual meeting starting at 6:45 pm.

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Annual Election of Officers and Directors

The Nominating Committee has presented a slate of Officers and Directors to the YCA Board, and that slate has been approved by the Directors.  At the Annual Meeting on June 18th, the following slate of Officers shall be voted upon by the Membership:  Bill Grabin, President, Joyce Toth, Vice President, Kathy Donahue, Treasurer, and Monica Grabin, Secretary, as well as the following slate of Directors: Mary Bateman, David Doubleday, Doug Hitchcox, Ken Janes, Marion Sprague, Seth Davis, Eileen Willard, Marian Zimmerman

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