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SOUTHERN MAINE

Pierson, Elizabeth Down East Books ePub

The area we refer to as southern Maine stretches from Kittery north to Portland and west to the New Hampshire border. Few other regions in Maine include as great a variety of landscapes and habitats as this region does. The shoreline varies from barrier beaches and salt marshes to rocky coves and headlands and generally is low-lying, gently sloping, and at least by Maine standards, relatively straight. Inland the topography is low and flat, with 692-foot Mt. Agamenticus being the highest point of land. Distinctive habitats in the region include the southern deciduous forests of the Berwick-Eliot-York area (where several tree and shrub species reach the northern extremes of their ranges), the 1,000-plus-acre Saco Heath in Saco, and the extensive grasslands of the Kennebunk Plains in Kennebunk.

Whatever the season, you can find some excellent birding in southern Maine. Some of the sites we mention—such as the Kennebunk Plains, where you can find nesting Grasshopper Sparrows and Upland Sandpipers, or the Cliff House in Ogunquit, where you can find wintering Harlequin Ducks—offer unusual birding opportunities during a specific season. Far more sites, however, offer interesting possibilities at any time of year. Seasonal highlights include an excellent variety of migrating hawks, shorebirds, and landbirds (particularly warblers), winter waterbirds, and breeding wading birds and landbirds. Among Maine’s unusual or locally distributed breeding species that occur in this region are Piping Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Roseate and Least terns, Horned Lark, Blue-winged, Prairie, and Palm warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Vesper, Grasshopper, Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed, and Seaside sparrows (see Appendix B for information on the taxonomic split of the two salt-marsh sparrows).

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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.

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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).

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APPENDIX D Resources

Pierson, Elizabeth Down East Books ePub

Books

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Adamus, P. Undated. Atlas of Breeding Birds in Maine, 1978–1983. Maine Dept. Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Augusta, ME. (Out of print, but available in some Maine libraries or through interlibrary loan.)

American Ornithologists’ Union. 1983. Check-list of North American birds. 6th ed. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C.

Appalachian Mountain Club. 1993a. AMC Guide to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. 5th ed. Appalachian Mountain Club Books, Boston, MA.

Appalachian Mountain Club. 1993b. AMC Maine Mountain Guide. 7th ed. Appalachian Mountain Club Books, Boston, MA.

Bennett, D. 1988. Maine’s Natural Heritage: Rare Species and Unique Natural Features. Down East Books, Camden, ME.

Bennett, D. 1994. Allagash: Maine’s Wild and Scenic River. Down East Books, Camden, ME.

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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.

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