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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Following Darwin’s Footsteps: Wildlife Watching and Birding the Galapagos – with Sue Keefer and Steve Norris – Tuesday, Sept 18th

After a career running children’s summer camps, then living aboard a sailboat, and working for Vermont State Parks, Sue Keefer and Steve Norris have spent seven summers helping out at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge where you may have encountered them trying to keep invasive plants at bay, mowing, painting, or leading bird, butterfly, tide-pool, history, and photography programs. In the winter of 2017-18, Sue and Steve acted on a long-standing bucket list item. Their love of Ecuador compelled them to visit to the Galapagos Islands – the “Showcase of Evolution”.

Their original plan for a “non-bird-centric” trip soon fell apart as they realized that, although the Galapagos have “only” 178 species of birds, the 29 resident and 22 endemic species are a fascinating study. From the breathtaking nesting colony of Waved Albatross to the inquisitive endemic Mockingbirds, bird life in the Galapagos is quite a treat. Close-up observation and study of Darwin Finches is a real-life exercise in the what’s, why’s, and how’s of evolution! The non-flying fauna is equally interesting with large colonies of sea lions, marine and land iguanas and, of course, giant tortoises. It became readily apparent why the Galapagos are a unique and invaluable natural resource worthy of intense protection.

Darwin’s two month stay in the Galapagos in 1835 led to a new biology based on a unifying theory of evolution.  Sue and Steve’s say their stay on the islands left them feeling rather inadequate in their own “naturalist” skills! Darwin, like most early naturalists, left the island with many sketches and specimens to study; Sue & Steve brought away many photographs and memories of unique living things they observed. We know you will get caught up in the fun and entertaining style of these enthusiastic laid-back educators as they share their observations of the animals, plants, and environment that make the Galapagos special. 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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Land of the Prikichi: Birds of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao by Dr. Jeffrey Wells – Tuesday, June 26th

**** PLEASE NOTE: The date for this program has been changed from June 19th to June 26th ****

The sunny islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao lie just off the coast of Venezuela with a rich history steeped in both Caribbean and Dutch culture. They are well known as popular winter getaways for scuba divers and beach-loving families from the U.S., yet fewer people know of the fascinating mix of birds that can be enjoyed here at any time of year. North American birders will be intrigued by South American tropical landbirds like the vibrant green Prikichi (Brown-throated Parakeet), the bright orange “oriole on steroids” Troupial, or the shimmering jewel-like Ruby-topaz Hummingbird (photo by Michiel Oversteegen). Honking flocks of pink American Flamingos on vast salt flats are a memory not forgotten.

In migration and winter, the islands are populated with North American waterfowl, shorebirds, swallows, warblers, and other familiar birds.  Therein is a connection.  “Our birds” spend part of their life in faraway places like the Caribbean.  What happens there has equal importance to what happens here.

Jeff Wells is an author of several bird books and he is also the Senior Scientist for the Boreal Songbird Initiative and International Boreal Conservation Campaign which are non-profit organizations working internationally for the conservation of North America’s Boreal forest.

Come hear about the wonderful birding and eclectic ecology of the ABC islands and why they make an ideal, easy-to-get-to location to combine birding with other family vacation pursuits.  The program will be at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.  Come early for refreshments and social time. This program is free and open to the public.


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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 26th, 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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Learning Bird Language – a Workshop with Dan Gardoqui on Saturday, June 23rd

Slow down and listen to the birds…and they will tell you nature’s secrets. Local tracker, naturalist, and birder Dan Gardoqui of White Pine Programs will give us a peek into the world of Deep Bird Language including tips on how to “re-awaken” this hardwired skill set of awareness. This program will blend field observation and interpretation with some indoor lectures & lessons about the fundamentals and nuances of learning bird language. Participants should dress to be outdoors for a few hours at a time (be prepared for biting insects); bring something to sit on (if you don’t want to sit on the ground); and bring a field notebook, pencil, and binoculars. For adults & interested teens.

York County Audubon hosted Dan’s wonderful Learning Bird Language workshop last summer.  This one is being hosted by the Wells Reserve.  For more information, go to and search for Dan Gardoqui, or find it on their calendar.

Dan Gardoqui

Dan Gardoqui is a co-founder and Executive Director of White Pine Programs – a nature connection nonprofit based in York, Maine. He has been studying naturalist skills, wildlife tracking, bird language & mentoring for over 25 years. Dan has a M.S. in Natural Resources, is a Certified Wildlife Tracker, Registered Maine Guide & served as Science Faculty at Granite State College for over a decade. Through wildlife tracking, Dan has contributed to wildlife studies and served as science editor for the bird language book “What the Robin Knows.” While not navigating the landscape of nonprofit leadership & management, Dan loves spending time trail running, hunting, playing music & being a dad to his boys.

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Video of Dr Kurk Dorsey on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

A video of our great March program entitled Of Mallards and Men: The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, presented by UNH’s Dr Kurt Dorsey, is now available and can be watched by clicking on the link below.

Our special thanks to the Wells Reserve for recording and editing the program, and making this video available (and for everything else they do!).

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Restoring the Great Fish Migrations of Atlantic Rivers with John Waldman – Thursday, May 24th

Professor John Waldman is coming to the Wells Reserve Thursday evening, May 24th, at 7 p.m.. His program: “Restoring the Great Fish Migrations of Atlantic Rivers.” Highly recommended!

Atlantic rivers once “ran silver” with great runs of migrating salmon, shad, alewives and sturgeon, but only a small fraction of these runs flourish today. John Waldman is an aquatic conservation biologist with a singular passion for diadromous fish – fish that spend a part of their lifecycle in fresh water and another part in salt water. He will draw on this most recent book, Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and Their Great Fish Migrations to discuss why the runs have been reduced, what we stand to lose, and the actions that are needed to ensure their recovery, including new concepts for replacing hydropower dams with alternative energy sources.

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt described Running Silver as “a fascinating history of the migratory salmon, shad, herring and other runs that once swarmed the rivers and estuaries of the Atlantic coast. Most important, this book explains what we can do to restore these fisheries to their former abundance. A great read and important blueprint for action.”

The program will start at 7 p.m. in the Mather Auditorium at the Wells Reserve. Doors open at 6:30. Please join us for drinks, conversation and a book signing following the program. This event is free and open to the public. Donations and RSVP’s appreciated.

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Birding Around the World – with Becky Marvil – Tuesday, May 15th

Birding Around the World with one of Maine’s most experienced and enthusiastic birders, Becky Marvil.  In the summer of 2015, Becky, her husband Josh (the pilot), and two other couples spent 30 days traveling around the world in a private plane. Their route took them from the US to Newfoundland, the Azores, Turkey, Oman, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Taiwan, Russia, and Alaska.

In addition to sightseeing and learning about different cultures, Becky’s background in biology and ornithology caused her to focus on the birds, photographing and videotaping many species, and learning about their regional family variations AND similarities from one stop to the next.  From the volcanic islands of the Azores to the 106-degree heat of Oman to the chilly, drizzly coast of Alaska, she will show her beautiful photos and reveal stories of bird species from around the globe!

Becky Marvil lives with her family in Yarmouth, Maine. She has a background in Biology, Ornithology, and Computer Science and runs her own computer programming/webpage design business. She has been the Executive Director of the Acadia Birding Festival for 8 years, combining her knowledge of webpage design, organizational skills, and love of birding. She is also the Secretary for the Maine Bird Records Committee, a eBird Hotspot monitor for Maine, and just recently became a regional coordinator for the Maine Breeding and Wintering Bird Atlas. During her free time, she helps with local bird surveys, chases after rarities, and loves to travel and enjoy birds in new locations.

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


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The Harlequin – Spring 2018

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

Harlequin Spring 2018

Great  Egret in breeding plumage

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Web Feet and Slimy Skin – Maine’s Frogs with Kris Hoffman – Tuesday, April 17th

Web Feet and Slimy Skin will be presented by Dr. Kris Hoffmann from the University of Maine,   Kris spoke to us in September about turtles.  Her return promises a fascinating, informative, and funny program – this time on Maine’s fabulous frogs.

Anatomy meets ecology in this hour-long presentation. Join us as we learn why frogs are slimy, how metamorphosis affects more than their legs, where they go in the winter, how they use their eyes to help swallow, what you can do to help their populations, and more. She will describe the biology of these water-loving animals, introduce us to all the frogs in Maine, and discuss their conservation in a presentation sure to entertain!

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


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