Five things I learned from birdwatching in Down East Maine

 

During a recent trip to Down East Maine, birdwatching per se was not top of mind. I set out to experience and get in tune with the natural splendor of the of the place,  Acadia National Park in particular.

As so often happens, the most enlightening travel experiences come from unexpected quarters. My renewed appreciation of the region’s vast ecosystem came through birdwatching, with a pro, Michael Good, MS.

Oh, I recognize common “backyard” birds: brilliant male cardinals, squawky blue jays, blackbirds with flashy red trim (not a scientific term). I’ve got a bead on swans, geese, various ducks. In summer, I can spot a neon yellow finch, dazzling hummingbirds. Shorebirds, beyond majestic blue herons or elegant egrets, get lumped into one of two categories: “gulls” or “smaller-birds-that-live -at-the-beach.”

Beyond that, I am an ornithological black hole. But here’s what I learned….

Michael grounded this field trip in biology by sharing  the Latin name, gender and approximate age for each bird, and weaving the geography and biodiversity of Mt. Desert Island into the bird narrative.  His knowledge made it interesting; his passion made it fun.

Continue reading “Five things I learned from birdwatching in Down East Maine”

3 Day Nature Itinerary: The best of Down East Maine

First of all, what exactly and where exactly, is Down East Maine?  It is geography mixed with sailing terminology that broadly refers to the 7,000 miles of coastline  – including 4600 islands – from Maine to Canada.  In the days of cargo schooners, boats headed to ports along the New England coast sailed “downwind,” from Boston pushed along by the prevailing southwest winds, and in an easterly direction on their compasses. “Down East” –  a terse Yankeeism  –  just stuck.

Continue reading “3 Day Nature Itinerary: The best of Down East Maine”