Birding on Mt. Desert Island
There are many secret birding sites in Acadia and Lamoine. For starters, right here at SeaCat’s Rest we have quite a flow of avian friends throughout the year. In the winter chickadees and nuthatches frequent our feeder. Bright yellow goldfinches appear in late winter looking for thistle. The first nestbuilders seem to be the eastern phoebe. We have a pair who return to a nest under the eves of our greenhouse every year. I’m not sure, but I think they hatch two batches per year. In midsummer the wood thrush’s spooky song echos through our woods and the loon’s yodel answers from the water. Eagles like to perch in our tallest tree until the crows encourage them to move on. Gulls are a constant. I was amazed the first time I witnessed a gull pick up a mussel and drop it from 30 feet in the air to crack the shell. Hummingbirds are attracted to our bee balm and solve their territorial disputes through acrobatics. Late in the summer of 2009 we had a pair of pileated woodpeckers call hysterically to each other all day. Now in November, oldsquaws gather in large flocks, float offshore and cackle. Turkeys are doing a poor job of hiding!
On Acadia, great blue herons, mallards and kingfishers can be seen easily seen in the Northeast Creek basin, which was the subject of an earlier blog here. In the park, trails are often closed when peregrine falcons build a nest. Every late August, park rangers host the annual Hawkwatch. In 2009 a total of 2660 passing raptors were counted. They included American kestrels, merlins, peregrine falcons, ospreys, northers harriers, bald eagles, and many different hawk species. Want to see the clownlike puffin? You will have to take a puffin cruise out of Bar Harbor as most live farther offshore. There are many to choose from and they take about 3-4 hours. Closer to home, visit BirdsAcre in Ellsworth (next to China Hill on Rt.3), a 200 acre preserve dedicated to bird rescue.
Whatever your primary reason for visiting Acadia, take time to look around you for the birds. They are a free show and they never stop singing.