11 Slices
Medium 9780892723652

CENTRAL MAINE

Pierson, Elizabeth Down East Books ePub

The area we refer to as central Maine includes Penobscot County and much of Piscataquis County. This is a rugged and beautiful portion of Maine, traversed by the Penobscot River and characterized by numerous lakes and ponds, mature hardwoods and often impenetrable spruce-fir woods, and several mountains. The focal point of the area is Baxter State Park, a 200,000-acre wilderness that is widely recognized as one of the most spectacular natural areas in the eastern United States. Included within the park are 46 peaks and ridges and the highest point in Maine—5,267-foot-high Katahdin. Bangor and, to its north, Orono are the only sizable population centers. Much of this part of Maine consists of privately owned (but usually publicly accessible) pulp and paper-company land.

Birders, particularly those who relish the idea of access to some true wilderness, will find much to draw them to central Maine. The highlight is the breeding season, especially June and early July, when you can find a rich assortment of boreal nesters. Spruce Grouse, Three-toed and Black-backed woodpeckers (both rare), Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Bicknell’s (formerly Gray-cheeked) Thrush, Philadelphia Vireo, 22 species of warblers, Lincoln’s and Fox sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, and Pine Siskin all breed throughout this area. Additionally, on the Tableland in Baxter State Park you can find one of New England’s most restricted breeding species—American Pipit, which nests at only one other site in the eastern United States. Spring and fall migration bring a good variety of waterfowl to central Maine as well as many landbirds, and winter brings the chance of finding specialties such as Barrow’s Goldeneyes (regular in small numbers on the Penobscot River between Bangor and Orono) and northern owls and finches.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892723652

APPENDIX C Algae, lichens, Fungi, Plants, & Animals

Pierson, Elizabeth Down East Books ePub

Following are the scientific names of all algae, lichens, fungi, plants, and animals (excluding birds) mentioned in the text.

Algae

Lichens & Fungi

Plants

Sources used to compile the above lists were the Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Maine (third revision, Josselyn Botanical Society, Bulletin 13, Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station, University of Maine, Orono, ME, 1995) and Newcomb's Wildflower Guide (L. Newcomb, Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 1977).

Animals

INVERTEBRATES

FISH

REPTILES

MAMMALS

Sources used to compile the above list were The Amphibians and Reptiles of Maine (ed M. L. Hunter, Jr., J. Albright, and J. Arbuckle, Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, Orono, ME, 1992), A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore (K. L. Gosner, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1978), A Field Guide to the Insects of America North of Mexico (D. J. Borror and R. E. White, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1970), A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America (C. V. Covell, Jr., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1984), and Walker's Mammals of the World (4th ed., R. M. Nowak and J. L. Paradiso, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 1983).

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892723652

MIDCOAST MAINE

Pierson, Elizabeth Down East Books ePub

Midcoast Maine stretches from Casco Bay north and east to the mouth of the Penobscot River near Bucksport. This extensive and varied coastline is characterized by a series of long, narrow peninsulas separated by equally long, narrow bays—the drowned river valleys left behind by the rise of sea level after the last ice age. In many ways this is a transitional area of Maine’s coastline. At the mouth of the Kennebec River in Bath, the sand beaches and salt marshes so characteristic of southern Maine give way to rocky headlands, and spruces and firs begin to replace the White Pines and hardwoods. Offshore are a myriad of islands, many of them small and close to shore, others lying more than 20 miles out to sea. Several rivers flow through the region, and their tidal estuaries are rich in marine and bird life.

The birding in midcoast Maine is delightfully diverse. You won’t find any obvious specialties here that you can’t find elsewhere in Maine, but you will find a broad mix of birds. The peninsulas, for example, are excellent spots to look for seabirds, waterfowl, and windblown vagrants year-round and for a good mix of hawks and landbirds on spring and fall migration. Small numbers of Piping Plovers and Least Terns nest along the largest sand beaches; Common Eiders, Laughing Culls, Common, Arctic, and Roseate terns, and Black Guillemots nest on many islands; and Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills nest on Eastern Egg Rock and Matinicus Rock. Bald Eagles seem to be increasingly numerous each year, nesting as far south as Casco Bay now and occurring in substantial numbers around Merry-meeting Bay from early fall through winter. Nesting landbirds are largely similar to those in southern Maine—which means that boreal species are essentially absent.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892723652

MOUNT DESERT REGION

Pierson, Elizabeth Down East Books ePub

The narrow coastal corridor bounded on the west by Penobscot Bay and on the east by Frenchman Bay is one of Maine’s smallest yet most distinctive natural areas: the Mount Desert region. Even in a state that has long been famous for its beautiful and varied landscapes, this area is exceptional. Here you will find a unique mix of mountains, sea, and domed granitic islands—a combination that occurs nowhere else along the Maine coast. The islands are larger and more numerous than farther south, the bays are broader, and the water is colder (which means you will encounter more fog). Almost everywhere you look is evidence of glacial scouring, from kettle-hole ponds to U-shaped valleys and huge erratic boulders. The topography—unusually hilly for the Maine coast—includes Cadillac Mountain, at 1,530 feet the highest point on the eastern United States seaboard.

Not surprisingly, the birding in this region is also remarkably varied. Of the nearly 420 species of birds that have been recorded in Maine, at least 320 have been seen just on Mount Desert Island. Highlights include boreal landbirds and an excellent variety of waterbirds year-round, nesting Peregrine Falcons and at least 21 species of nesting warblers, good numbers of migrant landbirds in spring and fall, the highest concentration of wintering Harlequin Ducks in eastern North America, and the opportunity to do some true pelagic birding (primarily between mid-June and late September). The region is also of interest as a contact zone for many northern and southern bird species.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780892723652

WESTERN MOUNTAINS & LAKES REGION

Pierson, Elizabeth Down East Books ePub

Maine’s western mountains and lakes region extends from the Kennebec River on the east to the New Hampshire border on the west and from Oxford County north into southern Somerset County. This is a distinctive and delightful area, where the pine-oak forests of southern Maine blend into mixed hardwood and spruce-fir forests and where the low hills and many lakes and ponds of the Kennebec Valley gradually give way to the steeper and more rugged contours of the western mountains. The last include the Katahdin group and the Boundary, White, and Longfellow mountains.

Birders who have not explored this region may be surprised to discover how much good birding it has to offer. The highlight is the breeding season, when you can find a good cross section of wetland-associated breeders in the lowlands and boreal breeders at higher elevations. And oftentimes the lowland and high-elevation sites are not all that far apart. You can also find many of Maine’s more unusual or locally distributed breeding species here, including Least Bittern, Common Moorhen, Black Tern, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Yellow-throated Vireo. Fall migration brings waterfowl and even, at some sites, shorebirds. Winter birding is usually far less interesting, but depending on the cone crop and other whims of nature, you can get excellent flights of Bohemian Waxwings, Northern Shrikes, Red and White-winged crossbills, and Pine and Evening grosbeaks.

See All Chapters

See All Slices