Drive to N. Conway
Thursday, July 5th: We started the day by returning to the Sieur de Monts Spring area in Acadia National Park. It was overcast and sometimes raining as we walked some of the trails. We heard two new birds: Eastern Wood-Pewee and Black-throated Blue Warbler. In spite of searching for a while, we were unable to see them. Eventually, it was time to take our leave of the park.
Our next stop was at the ponds next to the Mount Desert High School. This was a fairly birdy area, and a Black-backed Woodpecker had been seen here recently. Although there were signs of the Black-backed, it was not present. We did see a couple of flickers, swallows, Song Sparrows, and other species. The ponds themselves had Mallards, a couple of Wood Ducks (eclipse males, I think) and a Beaver.
Our final stop on Mount Desert Island was at Hadley Point, on the northern tip. Some scoters had been seen here recently, but I scoped all of the water twice and couldn't find any. If they were here, they were too far away to spot. There were a good number of eiders and Ann found a Harbor Porpoise. I was scanning at the time, and too slow to pick it up. Then we started our journey to the White Mountains.
A Broad-winged Hawk outside of Ellsworth was new for the trip (we ended up with two of them today). We retraced our steps on US-1 as far as Belfast, then turned inland. Near Augusta, we stopped to bird the Sidney Grasslands. I saw a few Bobolinks, and Savannah Sparrows were evident. We hoped for Upland Sandpiper, but did not find any.
We took a short-cut over to SR-27 through some back roads, then stopped at the Messalonskee Lake boat launch. The lake looks wonderful, and I was surprised to not find any waterbirds. We did see some Black Terns. The lake has a breeding colony of about 70 pairs of terns. A half-mile up the road, we stopped by some railroad tracks as recommended in the book. Just as we pulled over to the side, a couple of long-tailed birds flew out and across the road. What were they? All we could think of was cuckoo. We searched the other side of the road, and pretty soon Ann located a Black-billed Cuckoo. This was a lifer for her.
We headed on to Conway. We found one more bird species in New Hampshire, a non-countable Helmeted Guineafowl by the side of the road. We took US-2 toward Gorham, reaching the boundary of the White Mountains shortly before we crossed the state line. New Hampshire is the 48th state I've visited (Rhode Island and Hawaii are the missing ones).
At Gorham, we took the White Mountain Road (SR-16) south toward North Conway. A pond in front of an apparently closed hotel had some waterfowl including three Hooded Mergansers. Traffic made the rest of the journey slow, even though we only had a few miles to go.
We found 48 species today. Our current total for the trip is 107 species of bird, and 9 species of mammal.
Golden Gables Inn, North Conway, New Hampshire