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November 15, 2017 – Sabattus Lake

One of the great things about birding is different hotspots get “hot” at different times of the year. In Maine, the late fall/early winter hot spot is Sabattus Lake.

A 3-mile-long, shallow pond in central Maine, it is surrounded by farm land; a small beach; water front cottages and forest. Most importantly for birds . . . it is infested with Chinese Mystery Snails. The snails are smelly invasive species from the orient and they thrive in Sabattus Lake.

Chinese Mystery Snail

On the plus side . . . waterfowl love Chinese Mystery Snails.

Each fall Greater and Lesser Scaups, Buffleheads, Mallards, Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks descend on Sabattus Lake to feast. The assembly only last a few weeks as the lake will freeze and the birds will continue their migration.

While Ruddy Ducks are common in the western USA and Canada . . . they are a rare sighting in Maine, but as many as 1,100 have been reported in this year at Sabattus Lake.

I made two trips to Sabattus this week, on Saturday it was windy and the birds were sheltering. On yesterday they were everywhere.