Travel to Portland

Thursday, June 28th: For me, the trip began with an early United Airlines flight from Miami to Portland, Maine, via Newark. My traveling companion, Ann Wiley, traveled separately from her home in Ft. Lauderdale to Newark, then joined me on the flight to Portland. We arrived shortly after noon. We got the rental car, then drove to the hotel.

On the way to the hotel I noticed a House Sparrow and American Crow. Finding the hotel was a little tricky. Both the Garmin and iPhone had locations that were slightly off, and the hotel is hidden off the main road, with only an obscure sign to show the way. After a couple of misses, we found the way in. We picked up Common Grackle and European Starling on the entrance road. A Gray Catbird flew by right outside the hotel, and a Common Yellowthroat called as we were about to back head out for some birding.

Once we had checked in, we went birding at the Nature Conservancy's nearby Saco Heath Sanctuary, which was only a couple of miles away. This area features a boardwalk across a raised bog. We couldn't walk the whole thing due to ongoing replacement of the boardwalk. The volunteers were busy as we visited the area. The first part of the trail goes through a mixed upland forest, then crosses an ecotone into the bog. It was a very interesting habitat.

We heard Blue Jays and Black-throated Green Warblers calling in the upland portion. It was fairly quiet, as might be expected in mid-afternoon. The open bog had more activity. Some Eastern Towhees called. American Goldfinchs were heard flying over. Eventually we found a perched goldfinch. A Pine Warbler sang, but was only seen flying off. A Prairie Warbler also sang about this time. Before we left, we had also found American Robin.

Our second stop was Eastpoint Sanctuary, a joint Nature Conservancy/Audubon project near Biddeford Pool. A Chestnut-collared Longspur has been present, but we didn't see it on our brief visit. We did see Great Black-backed Gull, American Herring Gull, Common Tern, and Double-crested Cormorant in and over the ocean and numerous Song Sparrows flew around. A mystery duck turned out to be a immature male Common Eider. Pretty soon we found a number of females and 3 babies. Eventually we found some adult males too. Some Cedar Waxwings were present and Yellow Warblers were quite common. A Barn Swallow flew by, but no longspur. Another birder was there and had also not seen it. Eventually we headed back to the car, adding House Finch, a heard-only Black-capped Chickadee, Eastern Kingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Northern House-Wren, and Tree Swallow on the way.

We then drove on to Kennebunk Beach. Some Little Gulls had been seen recently, but we did not see them or their companion Bonaparte's. We didn't add any new species, but did see more young Eiders.

By then we were both ravenous, so we drove to nearby Kennebunkport for dinner. We ended up at the Hurricane Restaurant, with a view of the estuary. We had an excellent, though pricy, meal. A couple of Rock Pigeons were outside the window as we stuffed ourselves. Chimney Swifts twittered overhead as we returned to the car. Then we drove back to Saco, which took maybe 20-25 minutes.

We weren't quite done. As we turned onto the road leading to the hotel, we spotted a Gray Fox on the side of the road. This was not our first mammal species of the trip. We had also seen Eastern Chipmunks earlier in the day.

Our total for the trip is 30 species of bird, and 2 species of mammal.

Ramada at Saco Plaza, Saco, Maine