The Harlequin – Winter 2016

Please click on this link to view the Winter 2016 issue of our Harlequin newsletter (with photos in full color!)

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Harlequin Winter 2016

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Winter Wildlife Day – Thursday, Feb 18th

WWD 2016

Join us for Winter Wildlife Day, 10 am – 2 pm, on Thursday, February 18th, at the Wells Reserve.


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YCAS announces the June Ficker Hog Island Scholarship for 2016

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 17-22, 2016 on famed Hog Island. Check the Scholarship Programs link under the Community Involvement heading above for more information.  The application deadline is March 15th.

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Gull ID Workshop with Derek Lovitch – Jan 30-31

Gull in flight. © Marie Jordan

This two-part workshop, on Saturday afternoon, January 30th and Sunday morning, January 31st, will get you started on unraveling the mysteries of gull identification.  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.

Part I – Saturday, Jan 30 will be indoors at the Mather Auditorium of the Wells Reserve at 342 Laudholm Farm Road in Wells 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.

Part II:  Field Workshop: Sunday, Jan 31 (8:00am – 12:00pm) will meet in Portland.

We’ll meet in Portland (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.

York County Audubon is sponsoring this Workshop. We are asking for a $10 fee to participate, payable by cash or check at the Saturday session. Space is limited. Please register by signing up on this website by clicking on the event link in the Calendar column to the right, and then scrolling down to the fields for making a reservation. Weather dates or Workshop updates will be posted on the York County Audubon website and Derek’s Web Page (

And for a review of our inaugural 2014 workshop, check out Derek’s blog, here:

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The Harlequin – Autumn 2015

Please click on this link to view the Autumn 2015 issue of our Harlequin newsletter (with photos in full color!)

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Harlequin Autumn 2015

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Christmas Bird Counts Approaching!

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The 116th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place around the world in December and early January.  Since the CBC began over a century ago, it has relied on the dedication and commitment of volunteer citizen scientists. We volunteers have replaced the hunters of old.  We count birds and you’re invited to join us to participate this year in the 116th Christmas Bird Counts (CBC), the longest running Wildlife census on the planet. Two Christmas Bird Counts are held in York County, the York County CBC on Monday, December 14th, and Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC on Saturday, January 2nd.

Each count covers the area within a designated 15 mile diameter circle. Teams of birders search sections of the circle area tallying the total number of birds seen within the circle. The York County Count extends from Moody Beach to Fort Foster; last year we found 94 species. The Biddeford/Kennebunk Count extends from Parson’s Beach in Kennebunk to the Cascades in Saco; last year we counted 85 species. You do not have to brave the cold and wind to contribute. You can also participate while staying warm by tracking the activity at your bird feeders.  There is no fee to participate and the annual published report, American Birds, is available on line.

Each circle is led by a Count Compiler. Therefore, if you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.  In addition, if your home is within the boundaries of a Count Circle, then you can stay home and report the birds that visit your feeders once you have arranged to do so with the Count Compiler.  We have lots of fun in the field during the day followed by a gathering of the team members at the compilation where we tally the species seen in the count circle, swap stories from the day’s hunt, and enjoy our supper.

If you are interested in joining a count please contact a Count Compiler:  Pat Moynahan at 207-284-5487 or for the York County Count, and Marie Jordan at 207-799-1408 or for the Biddeford/Kennebunkport Count. You are invited to our Christmas bird party.
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Saw-whet Owls and Veery Migration with Patrick Keenan – Tuesday, Nov 17th

Saw-whet Owl-2 - Patrick Keenan

Saw-whet Owls and Veery Migration. Understanding the annual cycle and movements of species is critical for implementing effective conservation strategies.   Patrick Keenan, Outreach Program Director at the Biodiversity Research Institute in Portland, will present a program about Saw-whet Owl monitoring at coastal and island sites in Maine, and about some results of using low cost high tech geolocators to study where some of Maine’s Veery population spends the winter, and how that impacts conservation efforts for this beautiful Maine summer resident.

York County Audubon programs are held at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!  No reservations required.


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An Evening with a Few of Our Friends – Tuesday, October 20th

chicks          center for wildlife  kristen-and-ruby

Over the years, York County Audubon has worked with and sponsored a number of outstanding organizations.  As a special treat, we’ll let these friends share their work with brief presentations in a program at the Wells Reserve at 7 pm on Tuesday, October 20th. This will include:

The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick focuses on wildlife rehabilitation, treating over 1500 injured animals every year.   In this program, they will share “Hawk Eye,” with a special winged guest.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine
has been working to protect Maine’s environment for over 50 years. In this program, Executive Director Lisa Pohlman will discuss the proposed Northern Maine National Park and Recreation Area.

Hog Island Audubon Camp.  Each year, YCA sponsors a local educator to spend a week at this famed camp.  One of the recipients of this year’s June Ficker Hog Island Scholarship will present “Implementing Nature Lessons in Our Schools.”

The Stratton Island Audubon Sanctuary in Saco Bay, is a key nesting refuge for a variety of threatened seabirds, and has the highest diversity of nesting waterbirds of any Maine island. Two hundred and forty species of birds have been seen on and around the island.  We’ll get an update on this summer’s activities there.

This diversity will make for an interesting evening.  The program will be held in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve, starting at 7 pm.  There’s no charge and all are welcome!



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Sparrow ID Workshop with Louis Bevier – Sunday, Oct 18th

nelson's IMG_8677 crop     Maine: Somerset Co., Pittsfield

Want to learn more about the many sparrow species that breed in and migrate through Maine? Want to know the difference between a sparrow and a finch? How can one bird be both a bunting and a sparrow? Why are longspurs no longer sparrows? Often skulking, elusive, and confusingly similar, sparrows can make any birder prefer fall wood-warblers. As part of this workshop, you will learn how to find and observe sparrows in their preferred habitat. We will learn through classroom and field time useful foraging behaviors, flight characteristics, and vocalizations helpful for identification and appreciation of Maine’s sparrows. The workshop will feature some of the rare species that have turned up in Maine, and some that might yet so you’ll be prepared! The marsh sparrows, Le Conte’s versus Grasshopper, who was Henslow, and the tricky Spizella are some of the featured sparrows.

This workshop will be led by well known (and well liked!) Maine birder Louis Bevier.  Since the 1960s, birds have drawn him to explore most of North and South America, leading to months at sea off Alaska and California, backcountry surveys in the high Sierra, plant and bird expeditions to several countries, and many other adventures. He has worked as a tour guide for Field Guides, as an editor for The Birds of North America series, as Associate Editor for the journal North American Birds, and is past Chair of the Maine Bird Records Committee.

The workshop will be held on Sunday, October 18th at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.  We’ll meet at 8 a.m. and take a short walk. Then we’ll move to the Mather Auditorium for a talk on “all things sparrow.” We’ll break for lunch (you’ll need to bring your own), after which we’ll head to Mile Rd. to try for Saltmarsh or Nelson’s Sparrows, or anything else, at high tide, and then continue on to Beach Plum Farm and possibly Ogunquit Beach.   At least that’s the plan!

This workshop is proudly sponsored by York County Audubon.  The cost is $10/person, payable by check or cash at the workshop.  But space is limited and advance reservations are required via this website!  Please register by going to the “event” page, which you can reach by clicking on the link for this event in the Calendar box on the right side of this page. Please bring lunch and snacks.  Hope you can join us.


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Hawk ID Workshop – Sept 22nd on Mt. A! (rain date: Sept 29th)

Late September is the time to be looking for migrating hawks!   YCA is collaborating with the Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region to present a workshop on Tuesday, September 22nd (with a rain date of Tuesday, September 29th) in the Learning Lodge atop beautiful Mount Agamenticus, an excellent spot to see the Fall raptor migration. The workshop will run from 10:00 a.m. till noon.  Then we’ll eat our bag lunches and step outside and see what the winds bring in and if the Broad-wings are kettling. It should be an exciting day.

The workshop leader is Katrina Felton, a biologist and naturalist who has worked as a counter for raptor migration projects in Maine and New Hampshire.  She will teach us about hawk migration and identification, as well as current ebird and hawk data.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. There is a $10 registration fee, payable at the door. Please register by going to the “event” page, which you can reach by clicking on the link for this event in the Calendar box on the right side of this page. Please bring lunch and snacks.


kettle - broad winged and swainsons   Hawk ID Northeast

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