Grackles and "Half-hardies" on Matinicus Island

January 14, 2016 | Dr. Jeff Wells

Some readers may recall past blogs about my annual winter flight out to Matinicus Island, ten or so miles off the Maine coast, to carry out the Christmas Bird Count that is now in its 11th season. You can read about past trips here:

This year I flew out for the day on January 2nd, 2016, with birders Bob Duchesne and Rich MacDonald. It was a beautiful day on the island and quite warm.

We had 44 species and although we didn’t find any real rarities we enjoyed some “half-hardies” like Yellow-rumped Warber, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, and Northern Flicker—all boreal forest breeders and all species that normally winter further south. Our most unusual sighting was a flock of about 100 Common Grackles. Many of our waterbird numbers seemed on the low side but about the same cast of characters as in past years.

We did have Hairy Woodpecker and White-breasted Nuthatch, both species that we have only found in 4 of the past 11 years. We missed the turkeys that we usually see but saw lots of their tracks so they were somewhere on the island!

Attached at the bottom of this post is our full species list for the day. Both Bob and Rich do a lot of professional bird guiding and writing and other bird-related projects, in fact Rich left a few days after this to be a leader on a trip to Antarctica! Bob produced this fun short video about the trip that you might enjoy!

Matinicus CBC

All photos in this post are courtesy of Jeff Wells

Migration, Science, Thoughts about birds, Waterfowl


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