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Monday, June 02, 2014

Boreal Big Day

Happy Moose in the North Woods

I signed up for a post-Acadia Birding Festival trip, to boreal forests of Northern Maine. Everyone's goal for the day was a chance to see Boreal species, such as Boreal Chickadees, Black-backed Woodpeckers and the like. So we covered lots of territory, including Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge, Baxter State Park and a new site for me, the North Woods. The North Woods is privately owned lumber land, that allows free public visits; one just needs to abide by the company's rules and before entering the area, check in at one of the entrance stations.

I'm going to cut to chase - my big wish for the day was of course, Boreal Chickadees, and my second goal was to see a Canada Warbler - wish Granted!

My 'lifer' Canada Warbler

In the North Woods one male Canada Warbler came in answer to a recording, sitting where we could view him. He even sang us a bit of a song. What a thrill for me!

Singing a little song
Though the Canada Warbler is the bird that made the day for me, there were many other species; Nashville, Bay-Breasted, Palm and Black Poll Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, Gray Jays, Bald Eagles, Finches, Siskins, various finches and a sky's worth of Barn and Tree Swallows and... well, loads of others. 

The photo below is of most of the group. The guy on the right with a white beard, all in blue is premier birder Greg Miller. Heh... heh... heh... (Yes, I'm impressed even if you aren't). 

Walking through the North Woods

The North Woods had Moose, and we saw four of them. The photo on the left shows the massive size of a primitive pedal extremity. There's a moose hoof print in there too.





There were also several wildflowers to admire during the day.

Sheep Laurel
Sadly, the best flower of the day resisted giving up its color to any of our cameras. The early evening twilight messes with color photography. You will have to imagine how the Lady's Slipper flower below is as deeply, rosy pink as the flowers in the previous photo.

This Lady's Slipper was actually a brilliant rosy pink
At the end of a long day of tromping through forest, searching for several species of bird that seemed dead determined to thwart us, i.e., Boreal Chickadee, Three-toed & Black-Backed Woodpecker.  I had to admit that birds or no, I had a ball plus I now have Canada Warbler on my life list. Unexpected Bonus! Bob Duchesne, told me where I might be able to eek out another lifer bird - Northern Goshawk for my last full day in Maine tomorrow. So after the trip today, I was off north again. I thought I'd drive an hour or two then get a room somewhere, but I didn't pass through any towns. I drove on, through the pitch dark Maine night, avoiding the odd White-tailed deer on the roadway. I wondered if I was doomed to still be driving at dawn. At last I realized I had reached the now familiar-to-me tiny town of Machias. Greatly relieved, I took a room in the wonderful Machias Motor Inn in which I spent my first week in Maine. Good night Maine!

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