The location I chose to explore the area surrounding The Portland High School. I did not choose this location because I thought it to be prime birding habitat. There are no ponds, abandoned fields, or swamps there. It is a series of ball fields surrounded by a shallow border of woods.years ago, there was a pretty deep patch of woods surrounding the school. Some how, houses managed to squeeze their way in to these areas over the years.
My main motivation was just plain old curiosity. I just wanted to find out what birds would be there. For the most part, it was what I expected. Pretty much the same birds that I see at my bird feeders on a daily basis (not that there's anything wrong with that). I found it very refreshing to search for birds in these new surroundings, and there were a few surprises.
The first surprise, came when I ran in to a group of 8 Tufted Titmice. Many of them appeared to be young birds.They were making every sound that I recall Tufted Titmice ever making.they were squeaking, whistling, squawking, talking, and hissing. It was quite a show! They were bouncing in and out of branches at a furious pace. So I learned, this must be a nice area for these birds to raise a family.
I was also pleased to learn that there were plenty of Eastern Bluebirds here. I came across a few adult birds and several young ones.
It was nice to find several fruit bearing trees, pine trees , and a healthy patch of blackberries bordering the school grounds.
Some of the views like this one looking off in to the distance were rather pleasent. This is a photo of a hill they call the sleeping giant, which is about 40 or so miles away. Can you see the sleeping giant?
I was also enjoyed observing some flycatchers. The one pictured above, was flying out from its perch to snag insects. It didn't bob its tail but looks like an Eastern Phoebe because of the dark head. There was also Great-crested Flycatchers in the area. I don't know if there is an increase in Great-crested Flycatchers this year, or if I'm just getting better at finding them. They make a kind of croaking call, or some times a giant weeeep sound.
Other birds of note were: Barn Swallows, Red-bellied Woodpeckers,Baltimore Orioles, Northern Flickers, Chimney Swift-(looks like swallow with a cigar shaped body when it flies) , and Cedar Waxwings. Is there anything particularly special about the birds I saw? The answer is all relative to your expectations. The birds I saw on this particular day at this particular location, were exciting to me.
HERE IS A BIRDING ASSIGNMENT FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED:
1)FIND A LOCATION IN YOUR AREA, THAT YOU HAVE NEVER BIRDED BEFORE.
2)IT SHOULD NOT BE A PLACE THAT IS KNOWN BY OTHER BIRDERS.
3)AFTER YOU HAVE VISITED YOUR CHOSEN LOCATION, POST A REPORT AND/OR PHOTOS OF YOUR FINDINGS ON YOUR BLOG. GIVE A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR CHOSEN LOCATION, AND INCLUDE ANYTHING OF INTEREST TO YOU IN YOUR REPORT.
4)IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE PART, BUT DON'T HAVE A BLOG,YOU CAN E-MAIL YOUR REPORT/PHOTOS TO ME. I CAN THEN POST YOUR REPORT HERE.