Monday, August 29, 2011

Maine Coast Day 3: Acadia National Park

Spotted Sandpiper, Bass Harbor Marsh, Bar Harbor, Maine
For my birthday, my brilliant wife had arranged a 4-hour tour of the Acadia area with Michael Good of Down East Nature Tours. We were to meet up at 5:30 a.m.  A hermit thrush was singing while I waited. A good omen.

The birding was good for late August. Lots of yellow-rumped warblers (TOO EARLY!) migrating through, as well as local breeders such as northern parula and black-throated greens. Zillions of twittering golden-crowned kinglets.

The highlight of the morning was discovered behind MDI High School.  A female peregrine falcon.
Peregrine Falcon, Bar Harbor, Maine
It was bothering a crow when we arrived. And then we saw the blue jays. Dozens of them (we ended up counting at least 40).

Initially they kept their distance. Wisely.
Peregrine Falcon, Bar Harbor, Maine
But eventually the blue jays got bolder and bolder. A very short video gives you a taste below.
Several kinds of ducks were in the area (keeping an appropriately low profile), including female hoodies.
Hooded Mergansers, Bar Harbor, Maine
We spent much of our time later in the morning at Acadia's lovely Ship Harbor.
View from Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia National Park, Maine
Black guillemots are very common birds along the down east Maine coast, and rather uncommon winter birds in Massachusetts (in much drabber plumage), so I welcomed every opportunity to see them. Here's an immature and a probable parent bird in Ship Harbor.
Black Guillemot, Ship Harbor, Acadia National Park, Maine
Black Guillemot, Ship Harbor, Acadia National Park, Maine
On the flip side, there was some excitement over this eastern kingbird, apparently an uncommon bird in these parts.
Eastern Kingbird, Ship Harbor, Acadia National Park, Maine
I was grateful to have a knowledgeable guide for this tour. Acadia is such a large, diverse place that I wouldn't have known how to start. And I certainly wouldn't have started at the local high school. And I absolutely wouldn't have gotten a close-up view of a red-bellied snake!
Red-bellied Snake, Ship Harbor, Acadia National Park, Maine
Thanks, Michael. (And thanks especially to my brilliant wife).

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