Warblerin' at Florida Lake

By Lena Moser

Migration is now in full swing, and to make the most of it, we traveled to a renowned migrant trap: Florida Lake in Freeport.  We were well-rewarded, with good looks at several warbler species: Wilson's, Black-throated Blue, Canada, Black-throated Green, Nashville, and Northern Parula.  One of our highlights was seeing a singing Ovenbird through the scope!  We also had a Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, and great looks at a singing Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Some species are already busy constructing nests; we watched a Red-breasted Nuthatch flying to and from its nest hole in a dead snag, and we saw a Black-capped Chickadee carry a beak full of lichen to its nest hole, too.  A hunched-over Green Heron was a treat to see at the lake, as well as a Cliff Swallow cruising over the water.  To view our full eBird checklist for Florida Lake, click HERE.  

Aside from birds, we found many Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) egg masses.  Some of us thought they could be Wood Frog eggs, but there are several clues that synched our identification: the gelatinous sheath around the egg mass (Wood Frogs don't have that), the number of eggs (Wood Frogs have about 300 in a typical mass), the location in the center of the water column (Wood Frogs' masses are usually located at the surface), and stage (most, but not all, Wood Frog egg masses have hatched out by now).  What a great lesson!

After Florida Lake, we headed over to the Captain William Fitzgerald Recreation and Conservation Area in Brunswick for our target species: Prairie Warbler.  We lucked out and saw a couple of gorgeous Prairies, as well as Field Sparrows, Ospreys, and a close Broad-winged Hawk and Bald Eagle.  Our full eBird list is HERE.  Not too bad for an early May birding day!  

Special thanks to our guest-birder-of-the-day, Seth Davis.  Seth is currently doing postdoctoral neuroscience research at the University of New England.  He helped us spot many birds today with his sharp eyes, and he let us use his scope to see birds up-close.  Thanks for joining us, Seth!

Photos by Lena Moser: