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The Vinalhaven Sightings Report is organized and edited by Kirk Gentalen on behalf of Vinalhaven Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Out and about on Vinalhaven, MCHT steward Kirk Gentalen reports on what he and others have seen in their travels. Contributions of stories and photos are welcome, and can be sent to


Friday, January 11, 2019

Here is the original  post, started on nov 16 I think….

Welcome to the Vinalhaven Sightings Report –

Nov 17, no Novmeber 24th, no December 5th , 2018

Brought to you with the support of  MCHT, VLT & U! So thanks!


Highlights – Red-shouldered Hawk, Woodpeckers including Red-bellied, Evening and Pine Grosbeak, Snow Buntings, Ducks including Harlequin, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Palm Warbler, Winter Moth, 

Business – contact –

moth art by Heather White

Winter Moth – from the mainland and Vinalhaven – The “annual later fall winter moth flight” has been extended over a period of days or even more seen from Rockland to St George and on island. Bursts were intense enough that Linda at the Friend welcomed me with the later-fall traditional greeting “guess what was by my light the other night? Those (damn) moths!”.


Winter Moth art by Heather White
Heather White, local artist and story teller, has made the most out of the winter moth scene….with some art! I bet she tells a good story about them as well! Thanks for sharing Heather!


And in conclusion - the word has been out, and hopefully you all have caught wind of it, that the “parasitic fly which keeps winter moth at numbers so low that they are not a threat to hardwood trees” has established itself on island. The flies were introduced 5 years or so ago, and word on the street at that time was it can take 10 years for the fly’s population to grow and have an impact on moth numbers. That’s the good news. More patience required…




Harlequin Ducks
Photo by John Drury
red-shouldered hawk
Photo by John Drury
Sightings Little Roberts Island – (10/31) John Drury was kind enough to send in a shot of some Halloween Harlequin Ducks resting on the rocks at Little Roberts. Vinalhaven is along the western edge of the largest overwintering population of Harlequin Ducks along the east coast. For years John would survey harlequin ducks from Vinalhaven thru and around Marshall Island and all ledge and islands inbetween from aboard “the Fluke”. Days of 1000 Harlequin Ducks were not unheard of. Which may sound surprising as Harlequin Duck sightings from Vinalhaven island itself are few and far between.  State Beach and Lane’s Island afford some good potential for crossing paths with Harlequins, and a scope can be very helpful!


Greens Island – John also sent in some photos of migrants and feeder visitors he took on Greens.  Red-shouldered Hawks are seldom seen on Vinalhaven, but John seems to have the luck with them…

red-shouldered in flight
photo by John Drury

palm warbler
Photo by John Drury

Palm Warbler – one of our favorite migrants, this is a nice shot of one. you can almost feel the tail twitching in the photo.

Hairy Woodpecker thinking about an upgrade?
Photo by John Drury

Hairy Woodpecker – checking out the “rival” technology. Love it.

red-bellied woodpecker
photo by John Drury

(East Main Street) - Red-bellied Woodpecker and Blue Jay visiting John’s feeder. John mentioned the Red-bellied Woodpecker was taking food and stashing it under eves around his neighborhood. Red-bellied used to be considered somewhat rare in Maine but have gradually been expanding their range northward. Sightings are still uncommon, but on a more common basis. With me?

red-bellied woodpecker in flight
photo by John Drury

John also reports of Evening Grosbeak turning up at his feeders for a day or so. There was a wave of this unpredictable species that came through the mid-coast region.

ruby-crowned kinglet
photo by John Drury

Ruby-crowned Kinglet on the ground – what a fall it was for Ruby-crowned Kinglets. I think I saw more this year than the last three falls combined. They turned up in John’s yard…

hauling kinglet
photo by Sam Rosen

… as well as on Sam Rosen’s boat. This 4.25 inch long RC Kinglet took a break and looked for snacks in traps aboard the Minnamurra a few months back now. Must have been cool to have it in hand. Thanks for sharing the photos Sam!

ruby-crowned kinglet
photo by Sam Rosen
kinglet in hand
photo by Sam Rosen
raven head with beetles
photo by John Drury

Raven death on Greensmore from John – John also sent in these shots of a decapitated Raven. The yellow dots on the head – and on the raven’s back of the second photo – are Carrion beetles that are tapping into this wonderful treat.
raven body with beetles
The owl feather in the third photo gives clues as the perp. And with ravens being so large and Great Horned Owls being year-round residents on Greens things become pretty clear, pretty fast. An owl feather being left behind may be sign of a struggle. Very cool – thanks for sharing John!

raven and owl feathers
photo by John Drury
Snow Bunting

State Beach – snow buntings, harlequin ducks, purple sandpiper, red-necked grebe, common goldeneye….

Pine Grosbeak

Long cove – 3 Pine Grosbeak


female Black Scoter


From the ferry – lots to see and continues to be! Captain Pete tells of loads of Razorbills in the middle of the Bay – the highest count I have had has been 24 or so, they are so fun to see. Bufflehead, Surf and Black Scoter, Common Loon, Common Eider, Common Goldeneye, Black Guillemot, Purple Sandpipers and for a time – a surplus of Bonaparte’s Gulls. One noticeable “unnoticed” has been Black-legged Kittiwakes, but timing may play a role in that lack. Anyway ....

Bonaparte's Gulls
black ducks


loons.....looking a little down

this black duck has some mallard in him
or maybe this mallard has some black
duck in him.....

purple sandpipers ... on the rocks

black guillemot going butts up before diving!

red-breasted mergansers

common eiders

crappy razorbill photo.
the photo is crappy, not the birds!


and some of Leif to wrap things up....more to come!

See you out there!