Autumn in New England is such a delight because there are such great scenes and colors everywhere! You cannot resist taking out your camera and snapping photos as everything is a vignette just waiting to be captured! But nothing can ever capture the true beauty of just being here and seeing it for yourself, and their is no way to tell you how wonderful it smells! I took the above photo in a parking lot in Portland, Maine!
As many of you already know, I am an avid eBirder. This means I count birds and submit the data to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology like thousands of others from across the world. Their program allows me to keep track of all my birding data which lets me see where I and others are birding and what birds are being seen. I was recently checking the data on various counties in Maine and discovered that almost no one other than my blogging and birding friend, Grace counts birds in Androscoggin County Maine. It is one of the least birded countries in the state. So, I pullout up the new Explore eBird Hotspots map and looked for a place nearby where I could count birds. I found a trail close by to me, and took a drive over on the afternoon of October 10th.
Androscoggin County is just a short drive through Sagadahoc County for me and I was soon parked in the parking lot next to the Sabbatus River just at its junction with the Androscoggin River. The weather was perfect and my hopes were high. I had my bins on my chest and my camera slung over my arm. I walked to the water’s edge near the parking lot first and found a few Mallards paddling about in this little bend of the river.
I saw and heard a few birds as I started down the trail. There is always excitement when I explore a new place as I do not know what I will find or what I will see around the nest bend! I was glad the trail was leading me away from the cars and the noise of the road.
The sound of the rushing water was soothing. The smell of wet leaves perfumed the air. Leaves dropped like confetti around me. Blue Jays called overhead. I walked past a clearing where a Turkey Vulture soared up over the tree line, circled, then disappeared from view. A lone raven soon circled and called, his low croak of “r-r-o-ock-k, rrr-o-c-c-k-k,” repeated over and over again.
Farther along the trail I found this structure with a nearby sign explaining this was the remnant of and old bridge that was washed out in an earlier flood. I loved the play of light and shadow on the water filtered by the trees.
The stonewall beyond these rapids are all that remains of the former paper mill for which this trail is named. The trail emerged at a neighborhood, so I turned and walked back. At the grassy end of the trail I found quite a few sparrows and juncos, as well as a Ruby-crowned Kinglet flitting about in a small tree! This little walk added 13 species to my Androscoggin County Life List which now stands at 73 species! I hope to one day add it to my List of Counties with over 100 species in it!
I loved this spot and I couldn’t wait to show this walk to my husband. So, two days later on Sunday morning I brought him here!
Here is a link to the two bird counts I did here:
A couple days later I took a walk at Crystal Springs Farm in Brunswick, Maine. It, too, is a surprisingly under-birded eBird Hotspot, so I decided to try to bird here more often and add to the data. I always park in the parking lot near the farm and head down one of the trails.
This time I took the east trail and walked farther than I ever had before, though it ended up only being about a half a mile. However, I discovered the trail led into the woods and along a gorge that was just beautiful. Sparrows and Palm Warblers were everywhere and I will take this walk again and go further next time. Meanwhile the light was fading as I headed back towards the farm. As I walked back, I couldn’t resist a shot of these cute sheep in the field! I love Autumn in New England!
- 10-20-14 Checklist for Crystal Spring Farm-23 species
Note: All of these are cell phone pictures. I will post the bird pictures when I get a chance to get them off-loaded and processed!