May 20, 2018
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No Wizards Here, but maybe a merlin

By Samantha Wilkinson, Park Manager, Reid State Park, Georgetown


GEORGETOWN — Reid State Park’s wingspan is growing by the minute!


There are now five great blue heron nests on the back side of the beaver pond keeping our popular pair of ospreys company and attracting bird watchers like crazy.


My park staff also has counted eight piping plovers on Half Mile Beach, which is a huge number of plovers for Reid. Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife attribute the sizeable increase to the arrival of merlins on neighboring Sewall and Popham Beaches in Phippsburg.


Initially, this confused me … plovers don’t like wizards? You’d think otherwise! As it turns out, these merlins aren’t wizards at all but falcons, voracious predators of piping plovers and other small shorebirds — definitely not  what the plovers need nearby, as the chicks have virtually no survival skills other than camouflage. 


At this point, Reid remains merlin-free (and, we assume, wizard-free), but we’ll be on the lookout now for this type of falcon, the latest in a long line of threats to the tiny, endangered shorebirds.


Whale sightings continue, and I continue to miss them, which is getting frustrating. John White, one of Reid’s long-time park rangers was able to capture some of our more widely seen spring critters on camera, though.


Box turtles Shelly and Bob enjoy the afternoon sun at the beaver pond, Spike the porcupine does his part to enforce our dogs-on-leash rule at Todd’s Point, and Jeter — well — Jeter harmlessly slithers around. I’m not a big fan of his kind, but I do recognize they serve a purpose in the great scheme of things.


In the small scheme of things though — eww, I’ll keep my distance. Bring on the whales!


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