Saturday, June 24, 2006

ABA: Thursday

The northern boreal forest field trip on Thursday took us into beautiful country. After an almost-two-hour drive from Bangor, the two buses turned onto a logging road. The logging company that owns the land graciously agreed to stop operations so that we could explore the habitat – much appreciated. (Click on an image to see a larger version.)

I initially joined a group led by Louise Zemaitis and Don Freiday, both of New Jersey. Their knowledge of birdsong leaves me in awe.

While enjoying the sound of silence – or rather, the sound of a forest without human-related noise – I was able to see Northern Parula, Black-capped Chickadee, Magnolia Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Purple Finch, Nashville Warbler, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Osprey, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Dark-eyed Junco and Gray Jay.

The Gray Jay particularly pleased me because it allowed good looks while perched on a snag. My first thought upon seeing the jay’s dark toupee through a binocular? “Hey, it’s a Gray Catbird on steroids.”

I really enjoyed seeing all the warblers, too. Can’t get enough of those flitty, colorful creatures.

Our groups reconvened on the buses, traveled to a new section of the logging road and divided into new groups. I followed Jeff Wells of Boreal Songbird Initiative. We quickly saw a half-dozen Cedar Waxwings, followed by a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Palm Warbler.

The road took us by a Common Yellowthroat nest, and the female made her displeasure known. The male came out after most of the group disappeared.

Our path took us along a muddy road that included moose tracks. Cool!

The Hermit Thrush’s song sounded incredible – fluty, musical, what other birders have described as “hollow.” Our group also heard Blue-headed Vireo, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler and Northern Flicker.

On the drive back to Bangor, a moose appeared on the side of the highway. We were so stoked and erupted in spontaneous applause. The four-legged creature provided a fantastic finish to the outing.

The day’s finish included a filling meal at Angler’s Inn, west of Bangor, with a very fun group of field trip leaders who kept the laughter at an almost-nonstop pace. I finally got to eat one of Maine’s specialties: blueberry pie!


Blogger Julie Zickefoose said...

Gorgeous photos, Amy. Thanks for taking me to Maine. Sure wish I could have been there to share some of the fun, though 3:30 wakeups have lost their allure.Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to run a bird festival where you had to get up at 7:30 AM instead of 3:30, a sort of lazy person's bird festival.

June 25, 2006 2:30 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

My pleasure, Julie (c:

And I totally vote for later wakeups! No doubt a festival with pre-dawn bus departures and sane-person departures would draw more participants, like locals and nonlisters.

June 25, 2006 5:53 PM  

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