Friday, August 29, 2014

The Last Day

1. snowy owl-kab Snowy Owl on chimney, Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport 7-3-2014

July 3, 2014: How can I explain Chris’ “last day?” It would be our last day birding together for a long time, and in some ways it was more meaningful and magical that all the others that came before. We had no set plan. We did not know where we were going, other than the fact that Chris had done some research the night before and discovered that a snowy owl was still being seen down in Kennebunkport. But, I had never been to Kennebunkport. I did not know that way, nor did I know what to expect when we got there. The other place we decided to bird was the Kennebunk Plains. Again, a place I had never heard of or been to. It was all one wildly unknown adventure, but we were up to the task. All the pressure was off. We were just out to have fun. Perhaps that is what made it all so magical.

2. snowy owl mansion-kab 

Of course we set out GPS for the route to Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport. While I had driven through the town on the highway, I had never gotten off the exit to visit Kennebunkport in all the years I have lived in and travelled through Maine. Now we were going. It was the day before the 4th of July, and I expected there to be crowds of people and long lines of traffic, but there were not. We easily made it almost all the way to town before we encountered any traffic, and then, even though we were travelling towards the ocean, the traffic lessoned as we turned away from the town.

2a. ocean cove near house 7-3-14

As we neared the coast the fog rolled in until we found ourselves on Ocean Avenue where the owl was reported to have been seen. I let Chris drive so I could navigate. And while I had seen the snowy before, it was a life bird for Chris and Micheal. As we rounded the corner near the location noted on eBird I saw the owl on top of a chimney on a mansion near the water’s edge. Chris pulled the car over to the side and hopped out while I pulled the car up into a better parking location. Chris was already snapping photos while Micheal peered through his new binoculars at the large, white owl perched on the roof.

3. fog-kab

The funny thing about Snowy owls is the way they look. Unlike other owls, their mouths take on an almost puppet-like expression when open. Snowies have large, round yellow eyes, and this one slowly turned its head and peered down at us, unperturbed by our presence and looking as if it wanted to ask, “What’s all this fuss about?” Chris and I both snapped off photo after photo. A few people ran or drove by, but no one stopped to ask us why we were taking pictures or what we were looking at. Perhaps they were all caught up in their own holiday plans, too busy to notice strangers on the side of the road.

4. muppet face-kab

Ocean Avenue is lined with mansions. Some are on the ocean side, and some across the street with the ocean coming right up to the road in places. Fog shrouded the land making everything mysterious and dream-like.

5. mansion across the street 7-3-14

The air was cool and damp and refreshing after some of the recent heat and humidity we had experienced. After looking and gaping and photographing this marvelous bird, I finally tried to take a photo of the two guys in a victory dance. But they surprised me with suddenly becoming shy and self conscious and gave weak impression of their joy.

6. whimpy victory dance 7-3-14

I chided them for this and they finally complied with big gestures and expressive faces worthy of finding their Lifer Snowy Owl!

7. victory dance 7-3-14

We finally tore ourselves away from the owl and drove farther down the street. It turns out we were on the same road as the famous Bush Compound, where the former president resides. To our surprise there was a church across the street with public access to the property. We were able to just drive in and park and count birds in the church yard.

8. inside church 7-3-14 There was an outdoor chapel right on the seawall welcoming all to sit and meditate. The little church itself had open doors where one could walk and pray or gaze at the light coming through gorgeous stained glass windows.

9. Stained glass window 7-3-14

 10. stained glass 7-3-14

We did not see lots of birds here, but we saw some, and it was a pleasant place to be, with pounding surf and ghostly fog.

11. ocean fog on ocean ave kennebunkport 7-3-14

After awhile our growling tummies pulled us away towards a coffee shop and some semblance of lunch. We saw the most traffic on the main streets of the historic old town, but soon found ourselves on back roads to the Kennebunk Plains. I had never heard of these plains before, but apparently they are well known in the birding world for sparrows and Upland sandpipers. Ever since Chris arrived we had been trying to find this species of birds. It had reportedly been sighted at Brunswick Landing nearby to where I live, but though I had looked for it there several times, I had never spotted a single one, even after Chris arrived to help me.

12. kennebunk plains-kab

The Kennebunk Plains are on a back road west of Kennebunk. They are owned by the Nature Conservancy and host a unique variety of plants and animals not found anywhere else in Maine! I was shocked and surprised to discover all of this. We pulled into one of the parking lots and got out. The ground was still wet with recent storms and deep puddles were all about us. Indeed, another storm was heavy on the horizon to the south west with dark gray clouds and rumbles of thunder. A few sprinkles pelted us and we feared we would have to abandon our trek, but we kept out eye on the storm and headed out on one of the trails to see what we could find. Sparrows popped up here and there, and all the sparrows that had eluded us until now were being seen. We quickly racked up Vesper, Grasshopper, Song, Savannah, and Field Sparrows, as well as Eastern Meadowlarks. In this one location I think we all added 6 species or more to our year and/or Life Lists! I know the Field Sparrow was a Life Bird for Chris. Yet, still no Upland Sandpiper.

13. Kennebunk plains 7-3-14

A quick look on eBird revealed another hotspot on the plains just one road over, so, we hopped back in the car and drove over there. The paved road soon turned to dirt and we slowed the car, rolled down the windows and started counting. In the storm heavy air we soon heard birds, and then, we saw one! An upland sandpiper took to the air with its wild wolf-whistle, flying over our heads about the plains.

14. upland sandpiper-kab

I quickly pulled the car over and we all jumped out and tried to contain our excitement as the birds flew over our heads. Yes, birds! First one, then two then three Upland sandpipers took to the air frantically flapping and calling. We did not chase them or try to scare them. Indeed, we did not even see them until they were airborne. We all stood there in awe as the birds circled over our heads, then landed in the tall grasses and disappeared.

15. upland sandpiper-kab

After getting our looks and photographs, which were poor to say the least given the lighting conditions; we walked across the street into the parking area and looked around. A few titmice and pine warblers flitted in the trees. A mourning dove flew overhead, then landed in the forest and sang its mournful song. Suddenly a bird with a rusty body and long bill and tail flew by. Oh my! I could not believe it! “Chris, Look! There is a Brown Thrasher,” I called out! He turned and got his lens on the bird and snapped off his photo of this Life Bird (for him). After exploring this parking area, we decided to drive a bit farther east on this dirt road. As we neared the end of the open plains and the area became wooded and residential again, we pulled off to check out the birds we were hearing and seeing.

16. upland sandpiper calling-kab Upland Sandpiper calling on the Kennebunk Plains-Maguire Road tract

Suddenly a cute little yellow warbler streaked with black sang out its ascending call from the nearby brush. A Prairie Warbler! Yet another Life Bird for Chris and Micheal! I was so thrilled for them! We were going to be happy just to see the Snowy Owl. All the rest of this was an unexpected bonus. We quickly fell in love with the Kennebunk Plains and wished we had more time to explore the area. But, the storm that had threatened us all afternoon was moving off to the southeast. It was late and we were all tired and hungry, so we got back in the car and bid the plains good-bye and headed home. Later we found out that the storm that loomed on the southern horizon was actually a severe thunderstorm that hit York County, Maine with a small tornado! We had just missed it! Thank God it did not catch us out alone on those plains far from any protection!

17. snowy owl -kab

Chris’s last full day here was probably the best day of all, but the birding was not done yet. Before we left to take him to the airport on July 4th, he and I were out in the yard first thing in the morning counting birds once again. And what should show up, but another Brown Thrasher in my yard this time, along with a Lincoln’s Sparrow! I think the Lincoln’s was the last new bird Chris added in Maine. Yet, when we arrived at the airport we were surprised to find at least 14 killdeer running around on the grass near the tarmac!

18. Augusta airport 7-4-14

Yes, we did a bird count at the airport in Augusta! We counted birds to the very end. I suppose it was a good way to keep either of us from getting too emotional. Before I knew it, we were saying good-bye, and Gus and I were on our way out the door and headed home. I do not remember if it was the next night or a day after that, all I know is I was driving home in the dark alone, and suddenly it hit me. I would not be birding with Chris again for a long time. This good-bye was more final than the one when I left Tucson and I knew he would be coming to visit me again and bird with me. Now the tears I had held inside flowed like the Kennebec River! I pulled the car off to the side and let myself sob, before heading home again…alone.

19. ocean fog 7-3-14 Our Big New England Birding Adventure was finally over.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Foggy Morning on Mere Point

1. Mere Point Boat Launch-kab I awoke early this Tuesday morning feeling restless in my soul. After spending most of yesterday inside, I was itching to go out. The windows of my cottage are damp with fog. I have to lean down and look out through the screens to see anything.

The birds are barely starting to arrive as I head out the door at 6:50 AM. A black-capped chickadee calls as I walk across the dew drenched grass towards the boat launch. I usually count birds over there at night, when the sun is setting on Maquoit Bay. It rises here since Mere Point Bay is east of me, and so the sunlight is usually glaring off the water making bird watching in the bay difficult and frustrating. But today I see that I will face a different problem. Instead of glaring sun, my views will be draped in fog. However, I am liking this mysterious feeling as I head down the paved road.

2. walking into the fog The road to the boat launch is lined with trees and shrubs. In early summer when Chris was here we found nesting Yellow Warblers in these margins. Today these same trees are full of migrating birds! I am seeing all kinds of small birds flitting between the trees. They launch themselves into the air and disappear into the dense foliage. I listen as a Blue-headed Vireo repeats its slow song over and over again, sounding even slower than normal, as if it is a wind-up toy that has run down and about to stop. Fog is obscuring many of the birds, but some fly close enough for identification. I set my cup of tea on the ground and raise my bins to try to see detail. For once I am alone on this road. So often there are others walking or biking by, or trucks roll in pulling boats to launch. But I think today’s fog is delaying the boaters, and only one set of bicyclists have rolled by.

All the cardinals are molting right now, and a scruffy pair flies by me and into the brush. I see a Tufted Titmouse low in nearby tree. Blue Jays are calling and flying overhead. Fog rolls by me in drapes and curtains, lending the morning a dreamy, mysterious feel. Surprisingly there are few mosquitoes, but suddenly I feel something nibbling on my temple. I reached to crush it and find myself stung by some hard-bodied insect that I squish and drop to the ground. I do not know what it was. I am too busy trying to identify the birds moving swiftly through the trees. There is a female redstart in the tree in front of me, and then I see another. My eyes catch some motion and I see a pair of hummingbirds sword fighting with their bills in the air. These two are females as are all the hummingbirds I am seeing lately. The male usually migrate before the females, and it is with sadness I note that in two more weeks all the hummingbirds will be gone for the year!

4. foggy cove 

Catbirds are calling from all over the area. I see them in singles and in pairs. I count at least 10 catbirds in the bushes at various areas. As I near the boat launch I look off to the side where there is a private storage area, parking lot and garage. Inside this fenced off area I see a green dumpster. On top of the dumpster is a catbird gobbling up something white. The whole surface of the dumpster is covered with these white things. What are they, I wonder? I train my binoculars on them and focus in. Oh gross! The dumpster is covered with maggots! They are crawling out from inside and over the top and down the sides of the bin! The catbird thinks they are delicious! I turn my head away, too grossed out to take a photo!

By now the fog drenched bay lies before me. I can barely see to the end of the dock! While I can hear gulls calling, I do not see any until one finally flies out of the fog. Then I notice a snake-like head poking out of the bay just at the tip of the dock. A Double-crested Cormorant dives beneath the calm waters, then rises again. Soon it is dunking and splashing in a joyful misty morning bath! After awhile I hear it take to the air, its feet paddling along the surface of the water as it tries to get airborne!

3. Morning fog at the dock 

Down in the cove the tide is just starting to slip in again. Out in the misty mud I can just make out the shape of a man bent over with a clam rake, digging for clams. It seems whenever I have been here during low tide this summer that man has been here digging for clams. I do not know if he is local, or if he drives in to dig clams here. He has become a regular figure, just like the Great Blue Herons I am seeing around the cove. I turn my head to see a juvenile hunting the shallow water near the boat ramp. I usually don’t see the herons this close, but I suppose the presence of the clammer has chased it to the opposite side of the dock. The heron does not seem to mind me being here, until I walk a bit farther out on the dock, and though I am not looking at it, I hear its annoyed croak as it takes flight and skims across the end of the dock to hunt in other waters.

5. Mere Point Bay I see the fog before me over the water, with boats like ghosts floating in the sea. I know I will not see any birds out there, but I walk to the end of the dock anyway. I want to be in the fog. I want to immerse myself in this experience!

6. foggy sunrise at mere point I see the sun like a fireball burning through the gossamer sky.


7. boat dock I love the sound of the water lapping at the dock. Little fishes are swimming below nibbling at something on the surface, creating small ripples in their big watery world. I lean over to get a better look at them, but they all dart for safety beneath the shady dock.

After soaking in the view from the end of the dock I head back in towards land. I do not want to think of the coming winter, and the time when this dock will be pulled in and I will not be able to walk out here and look back at land. I know that all too soon those days are coming, as already a few of the maples are tinged with red and orange. Back at my house the euonymus bushes are already turning from green to red.

As I head back uphill to the boat launch road and parking area, I pass by the green dumpster in the fenced in area again. I see that the catbird is gone and there are crows on the bin and the ground. All the maggots are gone as well, picked clean by the birds while I was down on the dock. Birds do so much clean-up for us. We can never measure how useful they are!

After all the activity as I was walking in, I am surprised by how quiet it has gotten as I walk out. The bushes and trees that were so active just 45 minutes ago are now mostly silent. I do not add any new species as I walk home. Bits of blue sky are starting to appear as the sun burns its way through. Soon we will have clear blue skies and heat and humidity, but for now, my last few steps are still through mist and mystery.

8. Road to boat launch

Birds seen at Mere Point Boat Launch 8-25-14:

  1. Double-crested cormorant, 1
  2. Great Blue heron, 1
  3. gull sp., present (several heard but not seen due to fog)
  4. Herring Gull, 5
  5. Mourning Dove, 4
  6. Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 2
  7. Downy woodpecker, 1
  8. Eastern Phoebe, 1
  9. Blue-headed Vireo, 1
  10. Blue Jay, 4
  11. American Crow, 5
  12. Black-capped Chickadee, 2
  13. Tufted titmouse, 2
  14. Red-breasted Nuthatch, 1
  15. White-breasted Nuthatch, 1
  16. American Robin, 1
  17. Gray Catbird, 10
  18. European Starling, 1
  19. American Redstart, 2
  20. Yellow Warbler, 2
  21. Chipping Sparrow, 3
  22. Song Sparrow, 2
  23. Northern Cardinal, 2
  24. American Goldfinch, 4
  25. passerine species, 10 (small warbler/sparrows sized birds darting through the trees)

Notes: I walked .3 miles and counted birds for 1 hour. Weather was foggy and calm with a temp of 59F.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Birding Maine’s Rangeley District

1. 7-2-14 pinto Horse on the road to Rangeley 7-2-14

July 2, 2014: We slept in a bit on July first, then did some errands and birded locally, but by July 2nd we were up and out the door on our way to the Rangeley District of Maine. I first fell in love with this area from reading the books by Louise Dickinson Rich. She lived here in the early Twentieth Century and wrote vividly about her life in this area. Her descriptions of the mountains, lakes and towns were so accurate, that I use to read the books with the Maine Gazetteer in my hands and I would look each place up on the map as I read about it! When Gus and I lived in Livermore Falls, Maine for almost two years, I had him drive me to the places she wrote about in her books so I could see them for myself. Thus, I knew from experience that the Rangeley district was beautiful, but what I didn’t know then was how birdy it was! After seeing Chris and Micheal’s reactions to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I just knew I had to take them to Rangeley. Plus, every birder we met and talked to said we had to bird Boy Scout Road.

2. micheal n horse-kab On Wednesday morning we were up early and out the door. We drove up through Turner, Maine and into Mexico, Maine where we turned North on Route 17 towards Rangeley, Maine. We hadn’t gone far before I spotted a pair of Broad-winged hawks riding the thermals over the warming mountain ridges. As of that moment, Chris had not photographed or seen a Broad-winged hawk. With little to no traffic on the road, I pulled over and he jumped out to get his shot. We ended up doing a travel count for the next five miles in which we counted 14 species of birds. Our birding adventure was once again under way!

3. chris feeds horse-kab Farther along the road we came upon such a picturesque scene of a horse in a pasture that we had to stop and take pictures. I happen to have an apple in the car for part of our lunch. We all agreed to break the apple up and feed it to this beautiful and friendly horse. I don’t say much about it anymore, but horses are my secret love, and this one was a beauty! Piebald pintos are just about my favorite color of horse!

4. coos canyon-kab Eventually we got to the Town of Byron where we stopped to take in the views of Coos Canyon. While the scenery was beautiful, we really didn’t see many birds at this location. There are picnic tables and a parking lot, and across the street is a gift shop and store where you can buy or rent supplies to pan for gold in the nearby river.

5. liquid gold-kab To me, the water itself is liquid gold!


6. privy-kab Oh, and they do provide for the necessary conveniences!

On and on we drove, climbing ever upwards to the Rangeley Mountains, until we came to a place called Height of Land; one of the most spectacular views in all of Maine! It is one of the places I read about in Louise Dickenson Rich’s books and it does not disappoint! Chris and Micheal loved this place, and I thought of a friend of mine named Donna, who loves to hike. She wants to hike the Appalachian  Trail, and the trail goes right through here! Come visit me Donna and I will take you here!

7. height of land-kab The view from Height of Land


8. field of flowers-kab Down the grassy slope the fields were full of wildflowers!

Confetti on the mountainside!

9. singing yellowthroat-kab I was surprised to find this Common Yellowthroat singing on the mountainside!

They are usually found near water!

10. lupine-kab We even found a few lupine still in bloom!


11. hairy woodpecker-kab As we travelled farther up the road we stopped at yet another roadside rest area where we hoped we might find a American three-toed woodpecker or a Black-backed woodpecker, but no luck. While I was busy trying to locate this Hairy Woodpecker, Chris was off in a different area where he saw a Ruby-throated hummingbird but I did not. So, I did not get that species on my list, and it would have been my first sighting of a Rubythroat in Franklin County, Maine!

12. blackburnian warbler-kab With all of our stops, it was after eleven a.m. by the time we located Boy Scout Road and started birding. With the sun high in the sky the humidity built up and it wasn’t long before we were sticky and uncomfortable. Still, it did no stop us from birding. Boy Scout road is a dirt road that runs along the Kennebago River. You can drive in about 2 miles to where it ends and you have to either turn around, or get out and hike a grassy trail into the woods. We drove the entire thing, stopping numerous time to get out and photograph and identify birds. It was on this road where we started to see some of the warblers Chris came here to get on his Life List. One of the first warblers we spotted was a Blackburnian feeding high in the tree canopy. Still, even in the dense green light you can see the flame orange throat so typical of the male Blackburnian! (photo above)

13. northern parula-kab We found a fabulous Northern Parula starting down at us!

Notice how the yellow on the chin bleeds right into the lower part of the beak. This is a good field mark for this species.

14. bunch berries-kab In the woods alongside the road we found a cluster of Bunchberries with their hearts open wide to the sky! But beyond the tree-line the thunderheads built, warning us of coming danger.

15. thunderheads-kabHunger, heat, and humidity drove us out of the woods and down off the mountains. Instead of driving back down Route 17 through Rumford, I decided to take the boys back through Farmington, Maine. I knew there were restaurants there where we could find a place to eat, and then, if the weather held, we could perhaps drop by my in-law’s house where Chris could hopefully get a photo of a Wood thrush. They currently had a pair feeding out in the open on their lawn!

16. small falls-kab But first was stopped at Smalls Falls along Route 4 above Farmington, ME.

This is a public rest area and local swimming hole with a fun waterfall to see! Though thunder rumbled in the background there were still plenty of swimmers seeking relief from the heat and humidity! there are some people who jump from that upper canyon wall into the upper pool, but we did not see anyone who did it while we were there.

We made it to Farmington and into a restaurant just as the skies opened up and poured down rain! Thunder boomed. Lightening flashed as we ordered our food. the power flickered a few times and threatened to go out, but the wait staff kept on serving us. Outside the window of the booth we sat in we saw a pair of killdeer running on the grassy lawn next to the restaurant! these were our first killdeer since Chris and Micheal arrived! see, even when we are eating, we are still birding! However, the windows were too wet with rain for a photo!

17. chris-kab Chris photographing the Old Mill in Mt. Vernon, Maine

When the rain did not lesson, we knew any further birding was out of the question, so we decided to head for home. We took a different route, which proved to be very scenic as we travelled through a small artsy town called Mount Vernon. A wet porcupine crossed the road in front of us as we drove, then we came into town and Chris just had to get out to photograph an old mill that he fell in love with!

18. old mill-kab I think I could have gotten Chris to stay in Maine if he could have bought this place!

Later that night, long after we were home, I heard on the late news that there had been power outages and flash flooding in Rumford, Maine, right along the roads we had travelled on that morning! if we had tried to go back that way, we could have been stuck, or even worse, caught in a flash flood! I am so glad that we did decide to go home by another way! In the end we submitted 8 checklists on this day and counted 27 species of birds with 22 of them being seen on Boy Scout Road!


19. good-bye-kab Good-bye!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Search of Bicknell’s Thrush and more

1. 6-30-14 On Mt. Washington by Beth Maddus Kathie and Chris 6-30-14

Monday, June 30, 2014: After the fun of Plum Island birding, and the days spent in Connecticut for the Adams Family Road Race, we were finally back in Maine and off on another birding adventure. This one would take us to the western border of Maine and beyond. We got up very early on Monday morning and drove to Dixfield where we met my dear friend, Beth Standard. As soon as she was in the car we were on our way to Mount Washington in Search of the Bicknell’s Thrush. Bicknell's is not a pretty bird or a fancy bird. It is an elusive bird with a very restricted range and, barring a sweaty mosquito ridden hike up a mountain, the only way we were going to see one was to drive the Mt. Washington Auto Road.

2. in the white mountains-kab While I had hiked Mount Washington as a teen, I had never driven the auto road. We arrived around 7:30 a.m. and started up. Chris had done the research and we knew we had to be at least 3000’ up to find this elusive bird. The road was narrow and windy with few places to pull off or even pass another car. I was doing the driving and we had all the windows open in spite of the early morning chill so we could hear the birds. We started hearing and seeing them right away but with cars behind us and no pull offs, we had to keep going. Finally we found a spot with a place to pull off.

3. looking for birds-kab Chris and Micheal looking for birds.

We found a Black-throated green warbler in one location and an American Redstart in another. Every time we found a bird, another car would come by and either we would have to move, or they would scare away the birds! Chris soon got very frustrated. We all needed and wanted this bird, and this would be his only chance! I so wanted to find it for him!

4. morning blues-kab The morning blues of the white mountains.

Finally, at the 3.5 mile marker we heard it! I even saw it on a branch! We tried to pull off to see the bird. I found a spot to park and we all got out. We heard the Bicknell’s down on the slope. It was so near and yes, it did pop out where Micheal and I saw it, but Chris, in his frustration, had gone farther up the road and missed seeing the bird, though we all heard it! Time to move on.

5. beth-kab While we were being frustrated, Beth was all calm and peaceful, enjoying the beauty of the day. the road got more and more narrow, and eventually turned to gravel. There were steep drop-off on both sides. I held the wheel steady and continued the drive up. Finally we arrived at the Alpine Garden, another spot where Beth had seen the thrush, and we parked and got out. By now we were above the tree line and the vast openness of the Presidential Range spread before us.

6. junco on rock-kab But all we found in the Alpine Garden were juncos, so we moved on.

When we reached the summit Beth took a picture of Chris and I by the summit marker. We could have visited the Mt. Washington Museum, but we were there to see birds, not history, so after a restroom break, we headed back down the mountain. When we passed by the 3.5 mile marker we heard the birds once again, but by now the traffic had really picked up, so we kept going. Farther down the road there was another parking lot by an old trail leading into the woods. We were all ready to get out of the car, and so we pulled off and hiked a short distance down the trail, hoping for some serenity. But it was not to be. Others were on this trail as well. Still, we heard a warbler singing from the top of a tree…

7. blackpoll-kab …and Chris got his lifer Blackpoll Warbler!

Then, he noticed another bird in a spruce. He snapped a shot as the bird launched itself into the air. When we all looked at the photo we could not believe it! He got his Bicknell’s Thrush!

8. eaph-kab By now we were all hot, hungry and tired, so we hiked back to the car and drove down off the mountain and over to Pinkham Notch. There we ate our lunch at a picnic table under a tree with a pair of Eastern Phoebe’s keeping watch over their nest on a nearby building! when lunch was over we headed across the street to hike the Lost pond Trail.

9. tuckerman's ravine-kab As we started down the trail I looked back to see Tuckerman’s Ravine like a great green bowl trying to scoop up the sky! We crossed a little log bridge with  beaver’s dam alongside.

10. beaver dam-kab Beaver Dam

11. beaver pond-kab Beaver Pond

The Lost Pond Trail is also part of the Appalachian Trail, so I can now say I have hiked a section of the Appalachian trail! After the heat and humidity of the open, and the crowds on Mount Washington, this trail was sweet relief! It was shady and cool with few encounters with other hikers. Everyone felt their sprits lift. And, we started seeing more birds!

12. stream-kab The creek alongside the trail flowed along tranquilly.


13. cooling off-kab Beth and I both had our wading sandals on and took a walk in the amber water.


14. 6-30-14 Lost pond trailHappy faces on the Lost Pond Trail


15. 6-30-14 Kathie in NH by CRohrer We finally got to the lost pond. I did not see any birds close by and the water was so reflective that I did not attempt a photo, but Chris took this one of me as I sat on a nearby rock watching dragon flies! Yes, I was very happy! It had been a very long time since I had gone hiking in the woods. I had birds and I had friends, what more can one ask for?

15. 6-30-14 tree and rock-kab We all admired this tree and rock growing together along the trail.

After hiking back to our car, we drove back into Maine and turned down a road Beth knew that ran through the national forest on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. Here on this road there were few cars and lots of birds. We pulled off wherever we felt like it. When we pulled into a parking lot to watch some birds a truck suddenly pulled up to tell us of a moose in a pond just a short distance up the road. I must say we quickly forgot the birds and jumped back in the car, then drove slowly on the dirt road so as not to disturb the moose. It was quite exciting because this would be Chris and Micheal’s first moose. As we emerged from the trees and into the open expanse of the water there he was, a young bull moose, just as the man said.

17. moose-kabWith no other cars in sight, we just parked in the middle of the dirt road and watched! First we photographed from inside the car, then we got out and took photos at our leisure! How different this was from our experience on the Mt. Washington Auto Road!

18. moose-kab I don’t know how long we stayed there watching that moose, but soon we were distracted by birds once again when we heard  least flycatcher calling form the nearby woods. Then we were focused again, but though we looked and looked, we just could not get our eyes on that bird and we KNEW it was right there in front of us! We counted 20 species in that short 3.5 mile drive, our highest count of the day so far. But it was late and we had a very long drive back, so we dropped Beth off and headed east. I had one more stop I intended to make before we headed home.

I use to live in Livermore Falls, Maine and I knew there was a great birding spot located near Wilton, Maine called The Foothills land Conservancy. Beth and I submitted the first bird counts there in July of 2008 when I fist met her. Since then someone else has submitted historical data for that location, but we submitted the first checklist and I nominated it for an eBird Hotspot way back then. It is a great place to bird with some sot after species. I saw my first ever Black-billed Cuckoo there with Beth. I was hoping to find one now for Chris Rohrer.

the sun was sinking low and the humidity was high as we parked the car and got out. It had been a very long day and we almost quit our count as the mosquitoes swarmed around us, but we keep on and hiked the trail all around the perimeter of the property. It paid off as we got our highest count in the shortest amount of time for that day with 29 species in an hour and a half! and, just toward the end as shadows lengthen a black-billed cuckoo flew out from the trees and across the open meadow into the next hedgerow! but, this is how I know Chris was really tired; he did not get a shot of it! While he saw the bird, he did not get on it with his camera, and Chris is always so fast to focus! So, he saw the bird but no pic! As we headed back to the car we stopped one more time to spot an Indigo bunting signing from a branch in the deep purple shadows of dusk!

19. indigo bunting-kab Indigo Bunting, Foothills Land Conservancy, Franklin County, Maine


20. 6-30-14 Foothills Land Conservancy by CRohrer Kathie on the trail at the Foothills Land Conservancy 6-30-2014