Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Places to Bird

1. Bradbury Mt. Summit view 6-14-15 View from the summit of Bradbury Mountain State Park in Maine

Getting and staying healthy is a full time job. Ever since I dislocated my shoulder in January I have spent more time at the doctor’s and the Physical Therapist than I care to think about. At times I got discouraged and felt twenty years older, but things are looking up now and my physical therapy is nearing an end. In the meantime, my daughter needed surgery on her elbow and since she had it done with the same orthopedic group as I did, she also has the same physical therapist. So twice a week she comes over for her physical therapy and we spend time together. My husband has also had trouble with his big toe on his right foot that has required some continual medical care. As I have to go to those appointments as well, I have had little time left for blogging lately. Still, I have managed to squeeze some birding time in, and lately I have been motivated to try some new locations. So, last Sunday while Gus was home resting, I decided to take a hike on Bradbury Mountain in Durham, Maine.

Bradbury Mountain 6-14-15

2. Bradbury Mountain sign 6-14-15 Bradbury Mountain is a well know birding Hotspot for watching migrating raptors. While spring migration is over, I thought I would still check it out and see what I could see. It took me about 30 minutes to get there, and I paid my $3 and parked. I immediately spotted an Eastern Phoebe when it flew off its nest under the eaves of the nearby outhouse. I could hear an ovenbird calling loudly from the woods, as well as a Black-throated Green Warbler. After eating my snack under a shower of drifting pine needles, I was ready to head up the mountain.

3. Bradbury Mt. Summit trail sign 6-14-15 I chose the short 2/10 of a mile Summit Trail which, while shorter, is a steeper climb. But I figured it was better to be heading uphill than downhill on a steep ascent. As soon as I entered the woods, I could hear other warblers. Tall pines rose around me and granite ledges protruded everywhere. It was a dry and breezy day, so there were few to no mosquitoes or black flies, a real bonus at this time of year.

4. Bradbury Mountain 6-14-15 Summit trail I stopped a few times along the ascent to admire my surroundings and catch my breath. It has been too long since I have been out hiking!

5. Bradbury Mt. 6-14-15 Summit Trail Going Up!


6. Bradbusy Mt. Tree tops 6-14-15 Leafy Roof


7. Bradbury Mt. 6-14-14 Rocky Ledges Almost there!


8. Bradbury Mt. 6-14-15 Roots Roots on the route to the top!


9. Bradbury Mountain Summit 6-14-15 As I gained the summit a turkey vulture came soaring over the rocky crest just above me head. It was followed by one after another until I counted 7 in all. I gazed at the view around me, then tried to locate a bird I heard singing. It sounded somewhat like a pine warbler, and somewhat like a chipping sparrow and also like a Dark-eyed junco. I finally found the bird singing from a high twig on a pine tree. It was, indeed, a Dark-eyed Junco with pink bill raised in song!

10. Bradbury Mountain rocky top 6-14-15 I had to cross this rock to get to the North Loop Trail, a gradual 1 mile descent to the parking lot.

11. Bradbury Mt. 6-14-15 Dappled light on forest floor After wandering around the massive granite crest, I sought out the Northern Loop Trail for a gradual mile long descent back to the parking lot. For most of this walk I was alone on the trail, save for a father I met hiking with his three young children, and two people on mountain bikes. It was mostly quiet but I did find a Red-eyed vireo along this trail, and I heard a wood thrush call.

12. Bradbury Mountain North Bluff 6-14-15 View from the North Bluff


13. into the woods 6-14-15 All along the way I found evidence of woodpecker activity, but I never saw any. I only saw 12 species of birds on this hike, but it was nice to be in the Maine woods enjoying nature once again.

13. weeping woodpecker tree 6-14-15 The Weeping Woodpecker Tree

14. woodpecker holes 6-14-15 More Woodpecker Holes


15. stumped 6-14-15 Bradbury SP Woodpecker Dining table!

Birds seen at Bradbury Mountain State Park 6-14-14

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Eastern Phoebe
  3. Red-eyed Vireo
  4. Barn Swallow
  5. Black-capped Chickadee
  6. White-breasted Nuthatch
  7. Wood Thrush
  8. Ovenbird
  9. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  10. Black-throated Green Warbler
  11. Dark-eyed Junco

Protocol: 1.2 miles/1.47 hours

The North End Launch Facility 6-17-15

16. North End Launch Facility So, this morning I had to take my husband to work after dropping his car at the dealer to have an oil change. Since I was in Bath, I decided to bird a few locations there, since he would need me to pick him up and take him back to his car as soon as it was done. I tried one of my local favorite spots, The North End Launch Facility, but it was pretty quiet with just the usual gulls, osprey and Bald Eagles being seen.

Thorne Head Preserve 6-17-15

17. Thorne Head 6-17-14 From there I drove to a new spot the waitress at the café in town told me about. I had seen it on the eBird Hotspot Map, but was unsure of how to get to it, or where to park. It turns out you drive west on High street to the very end where it turns into a dirt road until you come to a parking lot. I parked my car, donned my gear and headed off into the woods. While there was a trail map posted on the sign at the edge of the parking lot, there were no distances listed for the various trails, so I had no idea if it was a quarter mile of 3 miles to the end of the property. Still, I headed out to see how far I could go until Gus called me back.

18. Overlook Trail 6-17-15 Once again I found myself walking on pine needle duff. It made a soft cushion under my feet and the dappled light around me was soothing and serene. Ovenbirds and Black-throated Green warblers called from the woods, but I could hear other warblers as well. I took my time, walking slowly and enjoying this experience of being in the woods alone. I heard a woodpecker drumming, but could not locate the bird, so I do not know what species it was. But other warblers revealed themselves to me and I counted 6 species in all. I know there we others I could not find and I did not recognize their songs to identify that way, but it made me happy to know that I had found a good warbler spot so close to home!

19. Old Bench near pond at Thorne Head 6-17-15 Old Bench by the small pond.


20. Leaves at Thorne Head 6-17-15 Sunlight through leaves


21. green light at Thorne Head 6-17-15a Big green leaves


22. Trail's end on the Overlook 6-17-15 As I neared the end of the trail I heard a bird calling loudly from the treetops. It was unlike any of the other bird songs I heard so far. I tried to focus in on the song and place it, and I came up with one of two species: either a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, or a Scarlet Tanager. After watching and listening for a few minutes I finally spotted the bird when it finally flew from one tree top to another. The red body with black wings told me I was seeing a male scarlet tanager! It was too high up in the trees for a photo op, but I sure enjoyed watching and listening to this bird for about 5 to 10 minutes. By now I could see that I was at the end of the trail. I walked the final few steps to the top where the view opened before me, framed by the limbs of Eastern white pines. I was now looking down onto the Kennebec River just after it leaves Merrymeeting Bay where five rivers all come together before flowing out to the sea.

23. View of Kennebec 6-17-15 It took me almost and hour to go about 3/10 of a mile where I came out to this overlook on the Kennebec River. In fact, the trail I followed was called The Overlook Trail! There were other trails to follow and I considered trying a different loop to get back to the parking lot, but it was at this point I received the phone call saying the car was ready. I could not believe how short the walk back to the car was, even when I did take a short detour around the small pond I passed on my way in. I now have plans to visit this location again, as I counted 22 species here. It was certainly worth the walk!

Birds seen at Thorne Head Preserve 6-17-15

  1. Mallard
  2. Herring Gull
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Red-eyed Vireo
  5. Blue Jay
  6. American Crow
  7. Common Raven
  8. Black-capped Chickadee
  9. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  10. White-breasted Nuthatch
  11. Hermit Thrush
  12. Wood Thrush
  13. Gray Catbird
  14. Ovenbird
  15. Black-and-white Warbler
  16. Northern Parula
  17. Pine Warbler
  18. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  19. Black-throated Green Warbler
  20. Chipping Sparrow
  21. Scarlett Tanager
  22. Common Grackle

Protocol: .5 miles/1.45 hours

    Links to eBird Hotspots:

    leaf light 6-17-15


    1. HI Kathie It is always lovely to find new birding spots. all these birding spots had loovely tall trees in the forest adn I was nteresting the birds you saw at each location.

    2. Hello Kathy, it must have been nice to get out and do some birding. You found some pretty spots for hiking and birding. Pretty images, have a happy day!

    3. I enjoyed your hiking recap. Good for you for getting out and pushing yourself after all you have gone through physically! Birding is good motivation and you have an impressive list.

    4. I'm glad your feeling better. I know how all this physical stuff has taken away from your fun, but step by step it will happen. The body doesn't heal as quickly as it once did. I notice it as well, but I'm glad you did the hike. You'll get your footing and breathe back. Just give yourself time. And don't forget...after a season full of snow and mud and indoors, it takes awhile to get the body back into gear. Beautiful images!

    5. Hi Kathie

      I am glad you are feeling better and able to get out to enjoy some new birding spots. I am really enjoying the birds here and I am hoping to get a photo of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak we have hanging around here they are such a handsome bird.

      All the best


    Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.