Gull ID Workshop with Derek Lovitch – Jan 28-29

THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN FULLY BOOKED.  IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITING LIST, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO ycas@yorkcountyaudubon.org WITH “WORKSHOP WAITING LIST” AS THE SUBJECT

This two-part workshop, on Saturday afternoon, Jan 28th and Sunday morning, Jan 29th, 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.  (Please note that this workshop was originally planned for Jan 21st-22nd, but has been changed to the 28th/29th.)

Gull in flight. © Marie Jordan
Ring-billed Gull in flight. Photo by Marie Jordan

Part I of the Workshop on Saturday January 28th 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: Sunday, January 29th (8:00am – 12:00pm):

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. 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 is well respected as one of the premiere birders in Maine and beyond.

York County Audubon is sponsoring this Workshop. We are asking for a $10.00 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 (freeportwildbirdsupply.com/birdingtoursinMaine.asp).

Posted in Events, Workshop

Video of Lake Baikal program now available

lena-from-wildside-nature-tours Bluethroat-1

For anyone who missed Lena Moser’s wonderful YCA October presentation on her trip to Lake Baikal, it’s now available for your viewing! Special thanks to Saco River Community Television for recording it and making it available in such high quality. And special thanks to Lena for such an exceptional presentation. Just click this link: https://vimeo.com/189813500

Posted in Events, Program, video

Video of Doug Tallamy program

Tallamy - Chickadee Tallamy

For anyone who missed Doug Tallamy’s great program “Bringing Nature Home” at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Juen, a video of it can be viewed here:  https://vimeo.com/174067253

Special thanks to Saco River Community Television for recording it and making it available in such high quality.

Posted in Events, Program, video

The Outlook in Augusta: a Legislative Update with Jennifer Burns Gray – Tuesday, November 15th

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

Jennifer Burns Gray has been Maine Audubon’s staff attorney and advocate since 1997 where she has served on an assortment of commissions and committees.  She has been extensively involved in the legislative process.  She will talk about the upcoming 128th Maine Legislative session and what’s likely to be high on Maine Audubon’s priority list of issues.

Jenn holds a B.A. from Trinity College in CT, where she majored in Political Science with a concentration in American Government. She received her J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law in 1996.

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.

JGray headshot

Posted in Events, Program

Our 18th Annual Bird Seed Sale is coming! Early Bird Pricing through 10/28

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 October 28th.  Order pick up will be at the Wells Reserve November 10th – 12th, with easy access and volunteers on hand to help load your car.

Access the order form for more information:  seedsale2016

Photograph By Jeffrey Stevensen

Posted in Chapter News

The Christmas Bird Counts Are Coming

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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 19th, while the Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC will be on Monday, January 2nd (which will be the legal holiday this year for New Year’s Day).   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 Pat Moynahan at 207-284-5487 or pmmoynahan@maine.rr.com for the Southern York County CBC, or Kathy Donahue at 207-967-4102 or kadona11@roadrunner.com for the Biddeford/Kennebunkport CBC.

Posted in Events

Lake Baikal—Beautiful Birds, Bad Beer, and Buddhist Babushkas – with Lena Moser – Tuesday, October 18th

Lake Baikal, also called the “pearl of Siberia,” is a truly astonishing place.  It is Earth’s deepest lake, holding a fifth of the world’s fresh water.  At 25-30 million years old, it is also one of the most ancient geographical features on the planet.  Perhaps this is why the lake’s water alone is home to 1,500 plant and animal species, 80% of which are found nowhere else on Earth!

Diverse habitats around Lake Baikal—from expansive shorelines and mountain ranges to taiga forests and steppe meadows—attract numerous birds.  Some sought-after species include Siberian Blue Robin, Daurian Jackdaw, Amur Falcon, Siberian Thrush, Booted Eagle, and the endangered Yellow-breasted Bunting and Swan Goose.  Mammals such as Long-tailed Ground Squirrel, Siberian Chipmunk, and the endemic Baikal Seal are also a treat to see.  And, of course, no trip to Siberia is complete without its human highlights, as culture, cuisine, and comedy weave themselves into a rich tapestry of local tradition.

This July, YCA board member Lena Moser co-led a birding tour to Lake Baikal with Wildside Nature Tours.  Join Lena for an entertaining evening of photographs and stories as she recounts her journey to the remarkable region.

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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Posted in Events, Program

The Harlequin – Autumn 2016

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

Tallamy - Prothonotary      Tallamy

harlequin-autumn-2016

Posted in Harlequin newsletter

Myths and Truths about Bats – Bat Conservation and Biology – Tuesday, September 20th

Bat BRI 2

There are more than 1,300 known species of bats, comprising nearly a quarter of all mammal species on earth.  These unique creatures are at the center of some of today’s most pressing ecological issues, yet are still held in fear by some, and misunderstood by many. Old wives’ tales and folklore, such as that bats suck blood, get into your hair, or they are blind, are in need of an update.  Our September program:  Myths and Truths about Bats – Bat Conservation and Biology presented by David Bates.

BRI - David-Yates

David Yates is the Mammal Program Director at the Biodiversity Research Institute in Portland.  Since its inception, David Yates has been a wildlife biologist at BRI, doing research on our bats and other mammals.  He will share his extensive knowledge of bats’ role in the ecosystem, their habits, and the latest science about their health and future, as well as answer all your bat-ty questions.  Join York County Audubon in learning about these fascinating and important members of our wildlife community.

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.

Posted in Events

Hawk ID Workshop – Sunday, Sept 25th on Mt. A! (rain date: Sept 26th)

SORRY, BUT THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN FULLY BOOKED.  IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE ADDED TO THE WAITING LIST, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO ycas@yorkcountyaudubon.org WITH “WORKSHOP WAITING LIST” AS THE SUBJECT

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 Sunday, September 25th (with a rain date of Monday, September 26th) in the Learning Lodge atop beautiful Mount Agamenticus, an excellent spot to see the Fall raptor migration. The workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. till 11.  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 Fenton, 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 bring lunch and snacks, as well as binoculars and a scope if you have one.  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.   Hope you can join us.

red_tailed_hawk_2 cornell  kettle - broad winged and swainsons

Posted in Workshop