February 2016

Vol. 44, No. 1

Fifth Report of the Maine Bird Records Committee

Trevor B. Persons and Louis R. Bevier


This beautiful immature male Black-headed Grosbeak, showing its worn and paler brown first-year flight feathers, visited feeders on Monhegan Island May 14-15, 2014. Photograph by Geoff Dennis.

The fifth report of the Maine Bird Records Committee—hereafter ME-BRC, or the committee—details the evaluation of 15 records of 13 species, and includes all decisions made by the committee in 2014. No new species were added to the official state list, which stands at 445 species. Several potential first records for the state are pending. The official list of Maine birds, as well as the list of review species, can be found on the committee’s website.

The ME-BRC has nine voting members and a nonvoting secretary. Through 2014, seven affirmative votes were needed to accept a record, but starting in 2015 that threshold was increased to eight. Current committee members include Louis Bevier (chair, 2013-2014), Lysle Brinker, Robby Lambert, Becky Marvil (secretary), Pat Moynahan, Trevor Persons (chair), Will Russell, Luke Seitz, Bill Sheehan, and Margaret Viens. Past committee members Kristen Lindquist, Jan Pierson, and Jeff Wells also voted on records presented here, and Doug Hitchcox stepped down as secretary in 2015.

An asterisk (*) denotes that a written description was provided, and a dagger (†) denotes that a photograph was provided. In the localities, county names are italicized.

All accepted records were unanimously accepted on the first round of voting unless otherwise indicated.

This Pink-footed Goose was vocal, giving harsh squawks, when found with a large group of Canada Geese and a few Snow Geese on Collins Pond, Caribou, Maine. It was the first for Aroostook County and fourth for Maine, staying only October 19, 2013. Photograph by Bill Sheehan.

Records Accepted

Sagadahoc joined the growing number of counties in Maine with records of Pink-footed Goose when Robin Robinson and her Christmas Bird Count team found this bird on December 14, 2013. It remained one more day. Photograph, December 15, 2013, by Mike Fahay.

Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

#2013-014: October 19, 2013, Collins Pond, Caribou, Aroostook, Bill Sheehan†. Maine’s fourth Pink-footed Goose, and the first for goose-friendly Aroostook.
#2013-021: December 14-15, 2013, Mill Cove, West Bath, Sagadahoc, Robin Robinson†, Mike Fahay†. Discovered within a flock of 68 Canada Geese by Robinson and companions during a Christmas Bird Count, Maine’s fifth Pink-footed Goose (all since 2009) was relocated by Fahay the next day.

A first for Aroostook County, this Ross’s Goose was found September 29, 2013. The caruncles at the base of the bill are especially extensive on this individual. Photograph by Bill Sheehan.

Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii)

#2013-010: September 29–October 5, 2013, Limestone, Aroostook, Bill Sheehan†. Maine’s fifth Ross’s Goose, and an overdue first for Aroostook, spent a week with up to 1600 Canada Geese at Limestone Mill Pond on the north side of town. There is a novel form of documentation in the form of Google Earth satellite imagery, which captured Sheehan, next to his parked truck, scoping the pond containing one small white dot among hundreds of darker dots.

Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)

#2013-019: October 29, 2013, Limestone, Aroostook, Tanya Byram†. Briefly observed with Canada Geese at the Mill Pond in Limestone.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

#2014-002: April 6, 2014, Bowdoinham, Sagadahoc, Mike Fahay*†. Adult male seen with Ring- necked Ducks and a Greater Scaup in Merrymeeting Bay.

Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster)

Occurrences of Brown Booby in New England have increased dramatically in recent years. Maine’s second, a juvenile, was found on the south side of Eastern Egg Rock by one of Project Puffin’s seasonal biologists on July 16, 2013. Photograph by Kate MacNamee.

#2013-005: July 16, 2013, Eastern Egg Rock, Knox, Kate MacNamee*†. Maine’s second Brown Booby, a juvenile, was found roosting on rocks with Double-crested Cormorants and flew off after about 20 minutes.

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)

#2014-003: May 7, 2014. Brunswick and Pownal, Cumberland, Lois Gerke†, Katrina Fenton. Photographed by Gerke in Brunswick, undoubtedly the same bird was seen later in the day from the nearby Bradbury Mountain hawkwatch in Pownal.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Wing tip pattern and primary formula in this and other photos suggest this Northern Lapwing was an immature female (Meissner et al. 2013). Maine’s fourth, it was present April 4 to 5, 2014. (Photograph by Peter Vickery.)

#2014-001: April 4-5, 2014, Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Lysle Brinker†, Doug Hitchcox†, Peter Vickery†, many observers. Maine’s fourth Northern Lapwing, discovered in a farm field by Brinker, may have lingered from an incursion of lapwings into eastern North America over the winter of 2012–2013.

Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

An immature Ash-throated Flycatcher was found on Monhegan Island October 21, 2013. There are many fewer records of this species before early November in the Northeast, except in 2011 when several occurred in a similar time-frame as this bird. A freshly molted in formative central rectrix shows well. Photograph by Travis Mazerall.

#2013-018: October 21, 2013, Monhegan Island, Lincoln, Travis Mazerall*†. Monhegan’s second Ash-throated Flycatcher was an apparent immature beginning its first prebasic molt.

Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii)

#2013-015: October 22, 2013, Bailey Island, Harpswell, Cumberland, Derek Lovitch*, Jeanette Lovitch. First round (8-1). Although they were unable to get photographs, the detailed description presented in Lovitch’s blog convinced most to accept the report as Maine’s fourth record of Bell’s Vireo.

Hermit Warbler (Setophaga occidentalis)

Maine’s second Hermit Warbler was an immature female present from November 18 to December 13, 2013. Photograph by Charlotte Hewson taken December 12, 2013.

#2013-020: November 18–December 13, 2013, Harpswell, Cumberland. Charlotte Hewson†, Derek Lovitch†. Maine’s second Hermit Warbler, an apparent immature female, frequented a Cundy’s Harbor feeding station for nearly a month. Originally reported as a Black-throated Green Warbler, the correct identification was not made until two days before it was last seen, and privacy concerns for local residents resulted in a belated report of its true identity.

Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)

#2014-004: May 14-15, 2014, Monhegan Island, Lincoln, Malcolm Burson*, Geoff Dennis†. Adult male photographed at Donna Cundy’s feeding station. One amazing photo included a continuing male Painted Bunting in the background!

Records Not Accepted

Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis)

#2014-005: May 15, 2014, Bradbury Mountain, Pownal, Cumberland. First round (2-7). Although likely correctly identified, this report from the Bradbury Mountain hawkwatch lacked details.

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

#2013-009: June 7, 2013, Searsport, Waldo. Second round (0-9). The details in the written report did not eliminate the possibility of domestic turtle-dove.

Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii)

#2013-016: October 30, 2013, Phippsburg, Sagadahoc. First round (1-8). Although most felt the description of this briefly observed bird was consistent with Bell’s Vireo, the possibility of other species could not be eliminated.


In the previous ME-BRC report (Persons et al. 2015) the initial date for the Little Egret #2012-013 was incorrectly given as July 8 when it should have read August 8. The town and county for record Bridled Tern #2011-006 was incorrectly given as Stratton Island, Old Orchard Beach, Cumberland. Stratton Island is actually within the jurisdiction of Saco, York. Citations to Stratton Island in previous reports have also incorrectly ascribed it to Old Orchard Beach: Yellow-nosed Albatross #2006-005 and Fork-tailed Flycatcher #2006-007 (Sheehan and Vickery 2007), the latter record mistakenly published again in Sheehan and Vickery 2009a.

Several records in previous reports have placed Seal Island in Criehaven Township, Knox, but the island is in the jurisdiction of Vinalhaven, Knox: Yellow-nosed Albatross #2008-007 in Sheehan and Vickery 2009b; Red-billed Tropicbird #2005-006, #2006-013, #2007-005 in Sheehan and Vickery 2007, 2009a, 2009b; and Ash-throated Flycatcher #2007-007 in Sheehan and Vickery 2009b.

The Black-browed Albatross #1978-001 at Lumbo Ledge was published (Persons et al. 2015) as being in Sagadahoc but the ledge is actually in Cumberland.

The Yellow-billed Loon #2010-013 was published (Persons et al. 2015) as offshore Portland, but it was more precisely 7.3 miles off Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland (the headland and town by that name).

Last, a record number was duplicated for two different records, with #2005-007 given to a Plumbeous Vireo at Matinicus Rock (Sheehan and Vickery 2009a) and an Eared Grebe at Roque Bluffs (Persons et al. 2015). The Eared Grebe has been assigned record #2005-008.


  • Meissner, W., C. Wójcik, P. Pinchuk, and N. Karlionova. 2013. Ageing and sexing series 9: ageing and sexing the Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Wader Study Group Bulletin 120 (1): 32–36.
  • Persons, T. B., L. R. Bevier, P. D. Vickery, W. J. Sheehan, and C. A. Bartlett. 2015. Fourth report of the Maine Bird Records Committee. Bird Observer 43 (1): 21–37.
  • Sheehan, W., and P. Vickery. 2007. First report of the Maine Bird Records Committee (2006). Bird Observer 35 (3): 155–158.
  • Sheehan, W., and P. Vickery. 2009a. Second report of the Maine Bird Records Committee (2007). Bird Observer 37 (5): 287–289.
  • Sheehan, W., and P. Vickery. 2009b. Third report of the Maine Bird Records Committee (2008). Bird Observer 37 (5): 290–294.

The authors can be reached at the following addresses: Trevor Persons, 206 Bigelow Hill Road, Norridgewock, Maine 04957, email:; Louis Bevier, 25 Great Meadow Lane, Fairfield, Maine 04937, email:

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