This morning I helped lead ten children on a rainy bird walk near their school in Freedom, through wet farm fields and woods. We saw a nesting Killdeer, heard Bobolinks singing, watched Tree Swallows go in and out of nest boxes, and got a good look at a striking black-and-red American Redstart. Then we went inside and talked about our favorite birds, like chickadees and puffins.
Birding with children--
of course the bobolink
sounds like R2D2.
Spent the past three days on Monhegan Island, about 15 miles off the coast of Maine in Muscongus Bay. While this incredibly scenic place is an artist colony and a popular tourist destination, this time of year it's all about the birds. Monhegan lies in the Atlantic flyway and is a notorious migrant trap; many species rarely seen anywhere else in Maine show up there during the spring and fall flights.
It's still early spring out there, with leaves just budding and only the earliest of flowers blooming. Intermittent thick fog added to the chill. But the birds, the birds were on the move, impelled north by forces they don't understand, adding color, and joy, to the spare island landscape.
My husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary tonight (two days early because I will be away this weekend) at Primo, one of Maine's best restaurants. One of the reasons Primo is so good is that they take farm-to-table seriously: they grow many of their own vegetables and raise their own pigs and chickens on-site. After an amazing, 2-1/2-hour meal, we stepped outside to be wowed again by the starry sky.
Hiked in Camden Hills State Park this morning, up Cameron Mountain. The woods are finally filling up with bird song. I was serenaded mainly by Black-throated Green Warblers (I counted 20) and Ovenbirds (28) but also heard some other spring favorites: Wood Thrush, Winter Wren, Brown Creeper, and Blue-headed Vireo (36 total species). The leaves are budding and the birds are returning--an invigorating season!
I heard the song of the Black-and-white Warbler, which sounds like a squeaky wheel turning, on my walk to work this morning. One of the earliest warblers to arrive each spring, this was the first one I'd heard this year.
My husband and I are spending the weekend at the Schoodic Institute, part of Acadia National Park in Down East Maine. This afternoon before dinner we walked through spruce woods to a small pond filled with singing frogs. They quieted when we showed up but eventually started up again, enveloping us in a music so loud we could feel the sound vibrate in our jaw bones. Our ears hurt by the time we left. Overhead, a raven chortled, used to it all.