Blue streak, glacier duck, lords and ladies, mountain duck, painted duck, rock duck, squeaker, totem-pole duck, white-eyed diver, whatever you call it, the Harlequin Duck is a well-dressed and intriguing species. After spending the summer along remote, fast-flowing streams in Canada, harlequins head to the ocean, and more than half of the eastern population end up wintering off the coast of Maine.
With Katrina Fenton as our expert guide, we'll begin our day at Fort Foster in Kittery, ME, a haven for lingering birds, where the unexpected lurks behind every bush and wave-washed rock. Over 100 species have been documented at Fort Foster even in the dead of winter, and though we'll be heading to better spots for harlequins, we're sure to turn up something interesting!
Next stop, Cape Neddick in York, where a Snowy Owl can often be found perched near Nubble Lighthouse. Harlequins and other sea ducks swim through the waters below, along with the occasional Razorbill, murre, and Dovekie, while Purple Sandpipers watch from the rocks.
Then on to Marginal Way Walkway in Ogunquit where we'll walk the path along the top of a cliff overlooking Oarweed Cove, wintering place for one of the largest concentrations of Black Scoters in Southern Maine, along with the other two scoter species, Common Eiders, and a host of other waterbirds, including (you guessed it) harlequins!
If we have the time and want to keep birding, we might even squeeze in a trip to the famous Cliff House in York for another chance of seeing sea ducks at their finest and maybe picking up a Pacific Loon or some other new species for the day.
We'll meet at the Kittery Trading Post parking lot at 9:00 a.m. Be sure to dress warmly, and it's a good idea to bring ice cleats if you have them, as the trails might still be a little slick. Bring a picnic lunch and a thermos full of hot chocolate! Carpooling options are available. If you're interested in the trip, please R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org.