This column concludes the overview of the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts conducted in Maine between mid-December and early January.

The Orono count was held Dec. 17. A gray jay was perhaps the least expected of the 44 species tallied. Tufted titmice were represented by 28 individuals.

A hardy northern mockingbird was unexpected. A whopping 1,467 Bohemian waxwings were found, an excellent count for this early in the winter.

Irruptive finches were well represented, with 65 pine grosbeaks, 25 purple finches, 54 common redpolls and 103 evening grosbeaks.

Just eight miles south of Orono, the Bangor count was held Dec. 31. The effort yielded a fine count of 58 species. Careful looks at the common goldeneye flocks on the Penobscot River yielded two Barrow’s goldeneyes.

Two red-bellied woodpeckers and a lingering northern flicker were the most notable woodpeckers. Two peregrine falcons and a northern shrike were delightful finds.

Tufted titmice continue to increase in the area; a total of 96 were found this year. Lingering songbirds included a Carolina wren, two northern mockingbirds and a yellow-rumped warbler.

The Bangor counters found 311 Bohemian waxwings along with 79 cedar waxwings.

Northern finches put on a good show: 146 pine grosbeaks, six purple finches, three pine siskins and nine evening grosbeaks.

Let’s head over to the Down East coast to Machias and then work our way south along the coast.

The Machias count on Dec. 31 yielded 59 species. A common pintail and four harlequin ducks were the most notable of the 14 species of waterfowl.

Lingering birds included a northern harrier, three white-throated sparrows and a song sparrow.

A red-bellied woodpecker was unusual for this part of Maine. Rough-legged hawks have been scarce in Maine so far this winter, so the two found here were great finds.

Red-breasted nuthatches were well represented with 363 individuals. Irruptive birds included 38 Bohemian waxwings, 74 pine grosbeaks, 61 purple finches, 55 pine siskins and 27 evening grosbeaks.

Counters at the Schoodic count started the new year off right, finding 59 species. Twelve species of waterfowl appeared, none out of the ordinary.

Six northern gannets were delights, along with two rough-legged hawks.

Black guillemots are expected on any coastal Maine bird count. Counters here found 36 black guillemots, along with other less common alcids: two thick-billed murres and a quartet of razorbills.

Less common gulls included five black-legged kittiwakes and singleton Iceland and glaucous gulls.

Two northern shrikes graced the area with their presence. Lingering birds included nine American robins, a northern mockingbird, a white-throated sparrow and three song sparrows.

Winter finches included 55 purple finches and an excellent total of 24 red crossbills.

Let’s hop on a plane to visit Matinicus Island, 20 miles off shore, like three birders did on Jan. 5. You never know what a far-flung outpost like Matinicus will hold.

The counters found 39 species. There were no jaw-dropping finds; the expected coastal birds were present just offshore.

Lingering birds included a northern flicker, a yellow-rumped warbler, four white-throated sparrows and two song sparrows. The only other sparrow was an American tree sparrow, and no finches were found at all.

The Pemaquid count on Dec. 17 produced a nice total of 64 species. Three wood ducks were the most unusual of 15 species of waterfowl.

Lingering birds included a northern harrier, a belted kingfisher, five eastern bluebirds and a northern mockingbird.

A merlin and two fox sparrows were notable.

The Bath count was held Dec. 19, producing a fine total of 74 species. Fifteen northern pintails were the most notable waterfowl.

Highlights included an American pipit, four Lapland longspurs and a long list of lingering species. These ambitious birds included a great blue heron, five northern harriers, two hermit thrushes, a Savannah sparrow and five red-winged blackbirds.

Herb Wilson teaches ornithology and other biology courses at Colby College. He welcomes reader comments and questions at:

[email protected]

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