Oddities turn up all over Maine

31 08 2010

Buzz Lightyear, Simon and Malcolm Courchesne hiking in the Kennebec Highlands.

The SEANET blogger has returned after two weeks in Belgrade, Maine. While you, dear readers, were pining for new blog content, the Courchesne family was sighted all over the Belgrade Lakes region, hiking, fishing and kayaking.

Back out on the coast, we received a report of another strange sighting: a South Polar Skua washed up dead on Seawall Beach in Phippsburg, Maine. This is not a SEANET beach, and the report came via a Maine birding listserv. Birder Peter Vickery found the specimen on August 18th.

Skuas are closely related to gulls, but make their livings in what many consider a morally reprehensible manner. The birds are predatory during the breeding season, hunting lemmings, small birds, and other animals. During the rest of the year, however, they engage in kleptoparasitism, relentlessly harassing other seabirds into relinquishing their honestly acquired fish meals. But a bird’s gotta live, right?

South Polar Skuas breed in the Antarctic and migrate to the north Atlantic during our summer (their winter). The birds never come ashore (if healthy) while here in this hemisphere, though birders out on ships offshore do encounter the species.

A very cool find: a South Polar Skua washes up in Phippsburg, Maine.

Seawall Beach is one we’d love to have covered by a Seanetter, so if you or someone you know is interested, contact us; clearly, you never know what you might find there!



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