Trip report part 1: Boreal Birds and Moose

by John Briggs on July 22, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Blog

Mooselookmeguntic Lake - Photographed from a ridge on Route 17 just south of Rangeley, Maine

Mooselookmeguntic Lake - Photographed from a ridge on Route 17 just south of Rangeley, Maine

I am finally able to post about the vacation Sharon and I took two weeks ago. It has been a very busy time as I have been preparing to go back to school this fall to get my Associates Degree in Applied Science – Medical Assistant. Meetings, the Accuplacer test, finding grants… a lot to do so I can be ready for the fall semester.

Sharon and I went on our first ever trip to northern Maine and New Hampshire. This section of the northern New England states is breathtaking! Wild and beautiful with not many folks around except here and there in small villages. If you ever wanted to get lost, this is the place to do it. The woods are thick, a transition between mixed northern hardwood and boreal forests. Driving along a road, it’s almost impossible to see into the forest more than 5 or 10 feet. This became a problem when it came to photographing birds. While we saw many, the low light in the forests even at mid day made it nearly impossible to get photos. (note to self: that Better beemer is looking like it should be a part of my camera gear.)

Logging roads are many in this area. Logging trucks ALWAYS have the right of way on these narrow dirt and rock roads, although we saw few of them barreling down the roads we were on. There were some places that the road was barely wide enough for our vehicle to navigate and would have been an absolute terror if we had met one of these 40,000 pounds trucks. Where in the world could we have gotten off the road for a truck to pass?

We were on a series of logging roads one day for nearly five hours. our starting point was near Wilson’s Mill, Maine. When it was all said and done, we ended up near the Second Connecticut Lake just north of Pittsburg, NH. On another day, a series of logging roads led us from Colebrook, NH to just south of Chartierville, Quebec. Just driving around taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature. We even spent a day in the Mount Washington region where we both saw a life bird: a Bicknell’s Thrush. We exited our car at a pull-off on the auto road near what’s called the Cow Pasture just above the 6 mile marker. After a short walk I heard the call of the bird and before I knew it the Bicknell’s Thrush flew over our heads! Speechless was the word of the moment. To stumble upon this bird like we did was nothing short of miraculous.

The following is a list of birds seen over the noted 3 day period.

Location: Various locations in northern Maine and New Hampshire
Observation date: July 10, 11 and 12, 2009
Observers: John and Sharon Briggs
Number of species: 45

Canada Goose 16
American Black Duck 11
Mallard 25
Hooded Merganser 2
Spruce Grouse 5
Common Loon 10
Turkey Vulture 9
Osprey 2
Bald Eagle 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Mourning Dove 8
Belted Kingfisher 7
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 3
Black-backed Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Gray Jay 3
Common Raven 1
Tree Swallow 20
Barn Swallow 5
Black-capped Chickadee 6
Boreal Chickadee 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
Bicknell’s Thrush 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 4
Brown Thrasher 1
Cedar Waxwing 15
Nashville Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 2
Canada Warbler 1
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 6
Lincoln’s Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 11
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Purple Finch 3
Pine Siskin 3
American Goldfinch 9

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2 http://ebird.org

Wild animals seen:
Moose
Black Bear
Red Fox
Porcupine
Raccoon
Snowshoe Hare
Red Squirrel
Chipmunk
White-tailed Deer
Skunk
Opossum

The bird photos below are mostly common species as I struggled to get good photos of the boreal species. But I more than made up for it with excellent landscape and Moose photos which will be posted in parts 2 and 3.

Enjoy these photos and remember that clicking on a thumbnail will bring up a larger view.

Parts 2 and 3 will follow later today and Thursday.

Happy birding!

 

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