Thursday, October 28, 2010

West Sullivan, Maine

Growing up in Maine, I wasn't a birder. I was aware of birds, and enjoyed seeing them, and even recall having some pointed out to me along with their names or habits. But I never appreciated just how birdy my yard was. Fortunately, it still is birdy. Within sight of a tidal estuary, mud flats, deep salt water, a swamp, open fields, a hardwood forest, and evergreen trees ... its an ecotone for sure.

Whenever I visit my parents I can't look out the window without seeing some interesting bird. Here a just a few seen in the yard.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle race).

Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

White-breasted Nuthatch.

Red-breasted Nuthatch, and in a classic pose ... they work their way down a tree with their head down. Most birds prefer to have their head up, but these little ones have plenty of grip in their feet and go down the tree head-first.

I mentioned the estuary across the street. Here it is at high tide, and sunset. It's called the Taunton River, but is really salt water as evidenced by the lobster buoys dotting its surface. It empties and refills through a narrow "reversing falls". The action of the tides cause whitewater rapids to form as the estuary cycles. It flows into Frenchman Bay, which in turn opens upon the cold, nutrient-rich Gulf of Maine ... after that it's open ocean and the vast Atlantic.

Up at the head of the estuary I photographed it in different light the next morning, at low tide. Two clam diggers work the mud flats of Hog Bay beneath the changing autumn light.

The land overlooking this estuary contains some very productive Blueberry fields, and in autumn they light up like an impressionist painting. I'm told that each blueberry plant spreads by roots, so is a single clone covering an area ... and each clone turns different autumn colors according to its own internal clock, leading to this magnificent celebration of red, yellow and orange.

An extended family of Eastern Bluebirds was working in the fields, gathering some last-minute protein to fortify themselves for the impending migration southward before winter's chill arrived.

The trees were returning their nutrients to their roots for the winter, draining all green from the leaves, revealing the true colors hidden beneath.

While driving to visit friends, and running late, we saw this beautiful pond. I advised Cyndi we had time to take three photos each, but only three. This was my first exposure. I think it was the best of my three. Often first impressions are the ones to go with.

This harbor is Sorrento, and lies off a small peninsula near my parents' home.

Common Loons in winter plumage were frequenting the harbor.

Another Red-breasted Nuthatch posed against the golden autumn hues.

Blue Jays have been a bit of a nemesis for me to photograph, and on my last day there, on one last walk through the neighborhood just before driving to the airport, this one flew down close to where I stood ... perhaps to wish me a safe journey and tempt me to return soon to listen to their raucous calls and enjoy their noisy, colorful antics.

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