Bringing Nature Home with Eric Topper on Tuesday, March 19th

Bringing Nature Home is Maine Audubon’s new community engagement and habitat stewardship initiative based on the bestselling book of that title by Doug Tallamy.  Join Maine Audubon’s Director of Education, Eric Topper, to explore the plants, practices and perks involved in restoring native food webs in our gardens, yards and communities.

Like many places, the landscape of coastal Maine has changed dramatically.  Today, gardens, yards, neighborhoods and towns are playing increasingly critical roles in supporting native food webs for birds, pollinators and other wildlife.  Our individual efforts to support wildlife can be both intimately rewarding and broadly beneficial.

With an overall focus on Maine birds and their habitats, Topper will introduce what individuals and groups can do, including what plants to choose and how to manage and maintain our gardens for their full ecological function and benefit.   He will also discuss the large selection of beautiful native flowers, shrubs and trees we can incorporate into our yards to attract and support a multitude of birds, butterflies and other interesting native wildlife.  YCA programs are free and open to the public.  Come early for social time and refreshments.

The program will be at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.  Free and open to the public.  Come early for social time and refreshments.

  

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The Harlequin – Winter 2019

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

Harlequin Winter 2019

  

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The Maine Young Birders Club (MYBC) Announces Hog Island Scholarships for Teens

MYBC, in conjunction with York County Audubon and Friends of Hog Island, is sponsoring two scholarships for Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens.  This intensive 6-day, 5-night program on Hog Island allows enthusiastic young birders to work with some of the country’s best-known birders and ornithologists on field identification, bird ecology and conservation. This program includes the unique opportunity to see Audubon’s seabird restoration work in action, and visit Eastern Egg Rock during the puffin breeding season (weather and sea conditions permitting). The program runs from June 16th to 21st.

The scholarships will pay 80% of the recipient’s cost for program tuition, room and board. Additional funds may be available if an applicant demonstrates financial need.  Applicants must be 14-17 years old to attend.

Scott Weidensaul photo

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YCAS announces the June Ficker Hog Island Scholarship for Educators for 2019

Hog lsland chickadee - Christine Caprio    A view of Hog Island

Hog Island on midcoast Maine

YCAS will again be awarding a scholarship for the Educator’s Week program, July 14-19, 2019 on famed Hog Island. Check the Scholarship Programs link under the Community Involvement pull down heading above for more information.  The application deadline is March 15th.

YCAS announces 2019 Hog Island Scholarship flyer

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Gull ID Workshop with Derek Lovitch – Jan 26-27, 2019

York County Audubon is very pleased to present again its popular Gull ID workshop, led by the very knowledgeable birder Derek Lovitch.  It’s a two-part workshop, indoors in Wells on Saturday afternoon, Jan 26th, and outdoors in greater Portland on Sunday morning, Jan 27th.  It will get you started on unraveling the mysteries of gull identification.

There is a registration fee of $20 for YCA (or Maine Audubon) members and $25 for non-members. Space is limited and advance registration is required.  To register, please click on this Event under What’s Coming Up on the right hand side of this webpage, and scroll down to find the form.

Actually, most gulls are not very difficult to tell apart, though adult and juveniles of most species look very different. We’re going to give ourselves confidence with identifying the easier plumage’s of our common species, and then tackle the more challenging intermediate plumage’s and the less-common species.

Iceland Gull in South Portland. Photo by Marie Jordan

Part I of the Workshop on Saturday January 26th will be at the Mather Auditorium of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, and will be divided into two sections (you need not be present for both):

1:00 pm-2:30 pm Beginning Gull Identification. Using Powerpoint and book resources, we’ll start with the basics of gull identification, such as feather topography and aging. We’ll then focus on our most common species: Ring-billed, Herring, Great Black-backed, Laughing, and Bonaparte’s Gulls.

3:00 pm-4:30 pm Advanced Gull Identification. Now comfortable with the basics, we’ll move on to the uncommon species: Lesser Black-backed, Iceland, Glaucous, and Black-legged Kittiwake. Next up will be the rarities: Little, Black-headed, and yes, even “Thayer’s.” We’ll touch upon “Megas” such as Mew, Slaty-backed, and Sabine’s, and we’ll discuss hybrids. Finally, we’ll apply what we have learned to tackle and understand some identification quandaries, such as the famous “Westbrook Gull” before we finish up with some photo quizzes to test our new-found knowledge.

For Part II on Sunday, January 27th, we’ll be in the greater Portland area from 8:00am – noon.  We’ll meet at the Back Cove parking lot on Preble Street Ext. (opposite the Hannaford’s)  to carpool around the area to apply what we have learned. We’ll spend some time with our most common species: Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed, and then seek out Iceland and Glaucous, and perhaps we’ll find something even better!

We hope that you will join Derek for this workshop to foster appreciation for this fascinating group of birds. Derek (with his wife Jeannette) owns and operates Wild Bird Supply in Freeport. He’s the author of “How to Be a Better Birder” and “Birdwatching in Maine, A Site Guide,” the most comprehensive guide to where to bird in Maine.

 

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The Christmas Bird Counts Are Coming

    Harlequins DH 5196837123_369eef562e_z crop

Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, the   Audubon Society has been sponsoring Christmas Bird Counts (CBC’s) to help monitor the health and status of bird populations throughout North America.  In that first year, there were 25 count circles with a total of 27 birders.  Now, there are over 2300 count circles each year with over 70,000 birders participating, with the locations stretching from Alaska to South America.

Each year, York County Audubon sponsors two counts.  The Southern York County circle extends from Kittery to Ogunquit, while the Biddeford/Kennebunkport count circle reaches from Kennebunk to Saco.  Each count territory is a geographic circle, carved out into six or more territories.  Each territory has a team that scours it during “count day” looking for all bird species, and recording the numbers seen of each.  It can, at times, be a bit more art than science, as we attempt to count – but not double count – the birds we find. We also have supporters who monitor their home feeders during the day and contribute their totals.  To avoid double counting, we ask them only to report the greatest number of each species that they see at any one time during the day.

At the end of the day (at 5 p.m.), we meet to compile the counts and share highlights.  Once compiled, the counts are forwarded to National Audubon for their master compilation.  Both locally and nationally, the totals are reviewed to assess trends in the populations of all species.  While the totals can vary fairly dramatically year to year due to the weather that happens to grace us on count day, the bigger picture over time can be very informative.

This year, the Southern York County CBC will be held on Monday, December 17th, while the Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC will be on Saturday, December 29th.   The Southern YC compilation will be held in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve, while the Bidd/Kport compilation will held at the Church on the Cape in Cape Porpoise.  If you might like to find out about participating in one or both, please contact Monica Grabin at 207-985-3342 or grabin@roadrunner.com for the Southern York County CBC, or Kathy Donahue at 207-967-4102 or kadona11@roadrunner.com for the Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC.

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The Outlook in Augusta: a Legislative Update with Eliza Donoghue on Tuesday, November 13th

What will be happening in the Maine Legislature after the November election?  How will environmental concerns fare in Augusta next year with a new governor and new legislature?  What’s the outlook for advancing solar and other alternative energy sources in Maine, and for protecting Maine’s forests, waterways and wildlife?

Eliza Donoghue is Maine Audubon’s Senior Policy and Advocacy Specialist, and spends much of her time advocating for these concerns in Augusta.  She joined Maine Audubon in July, 2017, bringing with her extensive experience and familiarity with the Maine State House, the Land Use Planning Commission, the Land for Maine’s Future program, and the extended network of legislators and stakeholders involved with environmental policy in Maine.

A graduate of Vermont Law School, Eliza has also worked with the Conservation Law Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Office of the Maine Attorney General. She is a native Mainer and lives in Brunswick with her family.

The program will be at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.  Free and open to the public.  Come early for social time and refreshments.

 

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Diving and Birding in the Heart of the Coral Triangle with Monica and Bill Grabin on Tuesday, October 16th

There is an area in the southwest Pacific known as the Coral Triangle.  It encompasses parts of six different island nations, and it has the greatest marine biodiversity of any area on earth.  And at the heart of the Coral Triangle, on the eastern edge of Indonesia, lies an area of West Papua known as Raja Ampat, meaning Four Kings.  Over 1,300 species of fish and 500 species of coral have been documented in this one area, and in 2017, Monica and Bill Grabin had the good fortune to explore it for themselves.

On their fifth trip to Indonesia for scuba diving, they delighted not only in the amazing diversity of fish, molluscs, shellfish, and corals, but also the fantastic birds of the area, including the incomparable Wilson’s Bird of Paradise.  On Tuesday, October 16th, York County Audubon is pleased to have Monica and Bill present a program on some of the wonders they’ve encountered.  Join us for an evening of amazing creatures and experiences, as well as a little background on the sport of SCUBA.

The program will be at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.  Free and open to the public.  Come early for social time and refreshments.

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Our 20th 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 26th

Order pick up will be at the Wells Reserve November 8th and 9th from 2 – 4 p.m., and Nov 10th from 10 a.m. to noon, with easy access and volunteers on hand to help load your car. 

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

SeedSale2018

     

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The Harlequin – Autumn 2018

Please click on the link below to view the Autumn 2018 issue of our Harlequin newsletter (with photos in full color!)

Harlequin Autumn 2018

 

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