Monday, June 5, 2017

I'm baaaccckkkk . . . . .

. . . . . from Maine that is.  Had a great (though somewhat cool) birding adventure at the Hog Island Audubon Camp off the southern coast of Maine.  If you enjoy birding and haven't been to camp for a few years, this might just be the place for you.  Food was very good, staff friendly and supportive, scenery gorgeous!!  I wore this outfit so much that it almost didn't come home -- there's four layers under the two coats!?!  I'm not sure I would have survived as a pioneer woman!
This is the view from one of the small coves around the island.  The interior of the 300 acre island was lush like a northwest rain forest with mosses, lichen, and huge plants.
The "yard birds" around the lawn and the feeders included purple finches, winter wrens, Northern parula and yellow-rumped warblers with a pair of nesting ospreys keeping an eye on everything!!
See the osprey keeping an eye on my friend, Ann, who is peering through a scope trained on the nest.  You can check the ospreys out for yourself via a "nest cam" -- their chick hatched Monday!
Their spring is behind our spring and so the apple trees were in peak bloom and seemed to be hosting cedar waxwings almost constantly.  I missed the apple blossoms here in Ohio so it was lovely to experience them so closely. 
We had a couple boats trips to learn about the area -- Megan pulled up one of her "lobstah" traps for us and how they decide whether to keep or not -- one for the pot and one to grow some more.
This camp is the last surviving Audubon camp and began as a teaching camp for school teachers back in the late 1930's.  Dr. Steve Kress arrived in the 1970's and began to re-establish nesting colonies of Atlantic puffins on islands in the area.  His efforts paid off in spades as many other seabirds began to return to the islands to nest.

This was my target bird -- the Atlantic Puffin!
There are five colonies on the Maine Seacoast thanks to the dedication of lots of scientists -- here's a link to one of the "island cams" that is fun.  The other white birds on the cam are mostly common terns.
I'm not a bird photographer and most of the birds we saw were flying, these black guillemots were the only really cooperative birds for my limited skill.  These black and white birds have the brightest red feet -- check them out HERE.
I'm not sure there is another "lichen" quilt in me, but I sure got lots of inspiration between the stone walls and the rich variety of lichen.  That red is the fruiting bodies of British soldiers lichen!
Our day on the mainland produced these pink lady slipper orchids!! 
What a beautiful plant!
And we visited a large preserved teaching and organic farm that encourages bobolinks to settle in the hayfields for the summer by holding off cutting the hay until the nesting season is finished. There were at least a dozen male birds calling and displaying as we walked around the farm. The hayfields run down to a saltwater bay and as I walked back to the parking area, I wrote a Haiku.
Old stone walls ignored.
Hayfields running to the bay.
Bobolinks abound.

The camp was hosting an artist in residence who stayed in this rustic little cabin built in the early 1900's by the camp benefactor, Mabel Loomis Todd, for her writing retreat.  The visiting writer, Rachel Dickinson, did a presentation on writing and had each of us write a Haiku which she described as "an easy way to paint a word picture". 
I am surprised that I enjoy writing these little verses and have done one every day since!?!
It was a short visit and it would be good to go back and explore some more of Maine.
I certainly enjoyed the wild peacefulness!!
Next up -- the BIG 70!!

Have a good week!


  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip,Mary!!!

  2. Maine is one state I have barely been in - I have been in all of them but Hawaii - but some I have seen a lot and some I have just driven through a corner as is Maine - I would love to see some of this state one day. Thanks for sharing your photos it shows just how very pretty it is.

  3. What a great field trip! I myself would be a much better birder if it didn't involve getting up so early and sometimes being cold! Thank you for letting us enjoy this one vicariously 😉

  4. Looks like a great trip. Does the big 70 refer to a Birthday? That surely can't be you. If it is you are one of the youngest 70's I know.