Maine Coast

Saturday, June 29th: A Red-winged Blackbird calling near the hotel was the first new bird of the day. We saw a number of them later on. We had breakfast at the hotel and left around 7am. We did not go far at first, stopping at Scarborough Marsh. My plan had been to drive Eastern Road down to the marsh itself to look for sparrows. However, my guidebook was written in the 90's, and Eastern Road is now closed to traffic much of the year. You have to walk.

We started walking down the Eastern Trail, quickly finding a couple of Downy Woodpeckers, Chipping Sparrows and a calling Eastern Phoebe. We also found mosquitoes, or more accurately, they found us. We heard a Veery. Later on I got a look at a couple of them next to the trail. Several Red-eyed Vireos called along the trail. We eventually got a brief look at one. We only heard White-breasted Nuthatch and Northern Cardinal. Tufted Titmouse was more cooperative. A Green-winged Teal flew over by one of the ponds, and a small pack of birds included Black-and-white Warbler. Encouraged by the mosquitoes, we decided we had walked far enough, and turned back. Some Mourning Doves were out on the trail as we returned. A few Canada Geese were seen off to the side, and a Least Tern worked over the marsh.

Our next stop was the marsh visitor's center. A group of Mallards was in the water next to our parking spot and a Willet was perch on a Tree Swallow nest box. Most of the nearby nest boxes were actually occupied by House Sparrows. We got some information about a good spot to see the sharp-tailed sparrows, and headed down the road toward Pine Point. We followed instructions and pulled into an industrial-looking area, and were surprised to see it had a good look at the marsh. I heard sharp-tailed sparrows as I got out of the car, and we quickly found several sharply-streaked Saltmarsh Sparrows. We didn't have any luck with Nelson's. Snowy Egret was also present here.

We continued to Pine Point. Somewhere in here we saw Ring-billed Gulls. At Pine Point, we found Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls, and Common Terns. I scanned shore on the far side, eventually finding an American Oystercatcher, a rare bird in these parts. We then drove down to Old Orchard Beach to see the nesting Piping Plovers. Parking was something of a problem, as there was no parking anywhere near the beach access. A pair of Belted Kingfishers was also present.

We got sandwiches in Old Orchard Beach, then headed off for Lubec, a couple of hundred miles up the coast (downeast if you're a Mainer).

We mostly took US-1, which was a lovely drive through many charming towns and villages. At some point an Osprey flew over. We stopped at Camden Hills State Park for a walk. First, we drove up Mt. Battie for a view of Camden and Penobscot Bay. Even the heights of Mt. Desert Island were visible in the distance. Then we drove back down, and took the trail up Mt. Megunticook to Ocean View. It's a 3 mile round trip with a 1000 foot elevation gain, and was a nice warm-up hike for the trip. It was the first time we'd hiked seriously together, and we found that I'm only a little slower on the trail, so its easy to keep together. Ann, who believes in minimal footgear, did the hike in flip-flops. From Ocean View we were able to look down on the tower atop Mt. Battie.

Camden from Tower Mt. Battie Tower
Camden from Tower Mt. Battie Tower
Islands in Penobscot Bay Camden from Ocean View
Islands in Penobscot Bay Camden from Ocean View

On the trail, we heard several Ovenbirds, saw a family of Winter Wrens, encountered some Golden-crowned Kinglets and heard Hermit Thrushes.

By the time we left Camden Hills, it was clear that we would get to our hotel after nine. I called them to let them know. They told us they would leave the keys in our rooms, and we could check in tomorrow. Before it got dark, Ann spotted Wild Turkey on the roadside (I missed it). We finally rolled in to the hotel around 9:30.

We found 50 species today. Our current total for the trip is 58 species of bird, and 2 species of mammal.

Eastland Motel, Lubec