On day 3, we started the morning down at Biddeford Pool. There seemed to be lots of warblers around, although most of them seemed to be Yellow Warblers at first. The birding at the pool itself wasn't exactly thrilling, but the number of migrants flying around above us was a sign that we could not, would not, ignore. Checking the beach quickly was rewarding, because Nate observed a middle-aged couple have a vicious fight, with the husband getting completely ditched and left on the beach smoking a cigar of sadness. Hoping for good birding, I once again left my camera in the car, which worked like a charm. Less than an hour later we were in a huge swarm of migrants that refused to go away. It seemed like that this one small grove of trees were sucking in migrants from everywhere....Blackpolls, a Bay-breasted, Canadas, Northern Waterthrush, Chestnut-sided, etc., even an out-of-place Field Sparrow. We were glued to that spot for most of the morning; it was one of the better mixed flocks I've seen north of Mexico. Good thing I didn't bring my camera!
After the turnover in the rampaging flock seemed to die down a little bit, we went out to East Point, where there were a couple Bicknell's/Gray-cheeked Thrushes mixed in with the Swainson's Thrushes, and I got to hear a Gray-cheeked Thrush sing for the very first time. Tree Swallows were nesting in bird houses built like lighthouses, which I'm sure just tickles some people.
Near the rocky shore we found the first Long-tailed Duck and Merlin of the trip, along with a small creche of Common Eider kids, which was pretty cute. Common Eiders are thick in Maine, even in summer, which is a very good thing. While the west coast certainly has a much better and more interesting rockpiper community, the east coast has a raging seaduck scene.
Down by South Point, we lay waste to a flock of Common Eiders that only seemed to give the mildest of fucks about our presence. I've seen a lot of Common Eiders in Massachusetts and the Aleutian Islands (and one in California, thank you very much), but never had I seen them at such a fantastically crushable distance.
To borrow one of Nate's favorite adjectives, these birds are splendid. Looking at them from a modest distance is an extremely fulfilling experience, up close it's on a whole new level.
The full spectrum of Common Eider plumages.
This doesn't even make sense. Such novel bill structure.
After Biddeford Pool, we went to Kennebunk Plains for Upland Sandpipers and Bobolinks. It was hella windy and the birding left something to be desired...while we went on to find Bobolinks at a number of other places, we never ran into any Upland Sandpipers. There are no Upland Sandpipers in Maine.
While there may not be Upland Sandpipers, there are very resourceful Prairie Warblers. This one was attacking a pile of used toilet paper to use as nesting material. I didn't see it but Flycatcher Jen observed copious amounts of human feces in association with the nest material. Talk about going to browntown.
This is the most humorous thing I've ever seen a warbler do.
The male was nearby, doing things other than wallowing whimsically in human waste.
Vesper Sparrow was one of the commoner birds out on the plains; Eastern Meadowlark and Grasshopper Sparrow were good trip birds as well.
After our failure at the Plains, we used eBird to successfully not find Bobolinks at another spot. While standing around stupidly behind a general store, there were at least a handful of birds around. There was a small roadside pond where swallows and Chimney Swifts were coming to drink, so I tried my hand at getting some swift photos. It wasn't a total failure.
To be honest, I don't really have good photos of any swift species, this is probably the closest thing.
Giving in to the wind and the fail, we lurked back to our vacay house back on Pine Point. I decided against a walk on the beach in favor of a shower, but headed out again upon hearing of more Roseate Terns and the return of the Little Gull's Bonaparte's Gull flock on the beach as the tide began to fall. What did Maynerayge Day 3.5 hold? Birds more interesting than Yellow Warblers and Tree Swallows, that is for damn sure.