It was unseasonably hot recently and we decided to head north, to where the temperatures were only in the 70’s and spring has just started. The trees still lacked any hint of green, but change is in the air.
For several reasons we chose not to bring our tandem bicycle and planned on spending our time walking the trails of Acadia, on Mt. Desert Island, where we stayed. But we wanted to explore the Schoodic Peninsula, also part of Acadia National Park, but much less visited.
We stopped at the Tidal Falls in Hancock, Maine and spotted seals swimming against the tide. We never caught the tidal rip at its height, but enjoyed the dynamic feel of the tides, regardless.
While we stood watching for seals, my husband spotted a bald eagle on the opposite shore, resting in a pine tree.
Once we arrived at the Schoodic peninsula portion of Acadia National Park, we stopped several times to get out, walk, look and enjoy the views. While checking out the carriage road near the entrance to the park, we heard a tap, tap and looked around for a woodpecker. what we found instead was a red-breasted nuthatch tapping out a nesting cavity, right at the trailhead for the first carriage road. This nuthatch, smaller than it’s white breasted cousin, was focused on its task, and so we got a chance to get a few pictures of it.
We soon found another reversing falls and stopped in that area for lunch, and enjoyed looking at mergansers, buffleheads and loons right off shore.
Schoodic Point offers great views of Frenchman’s Bay and along the way you’ll see great views of the mountains of Mt. Desert Island.
The rocks at Schoodic Point are relatively flat and pretty easy for me to navigate, more fun.
As we left the park we spotted another eagle perched quite near the road. We had heard eagles are becoming more common, but were getting confirmation of it ourselves in our travels.
The next day we headed south on Mt. Desert to the Wonderland Trail in Tremont, which offers a very easy walk out to a point on the ocean. There we found a huge flock of eider ducks, with a few buffleheads mixed in, as well as a massive flock of seagulls resting on the rocks just off shore. Suddenly the seagulls rose into the air in a chaotic disarray and my husband pointed. Eagle! A one eagle had singled out a solitary bufflehead, a bird much smaller than the eiders. The eagle seemed to dive for the tiny bird, then backed off, when suddenly two other eagles came from other the trees and the three huge birds circled.
It happened so fast we got no pictures of the eagles in flight, but our hearts were full. We were surprised at how quickly the eagles gave up the hunt and flew away. And yes, the bufflehead lived to see another day. Soon the eiders dispersed, as had the gulls (and the bufflehead).
On our way home we stopped at Wolfe’s Neck State Park in Freeport, Maine and found a nesting pair of osprey on a small island just off shore.
The trail along Casco Bay at the lovely state park is quite easy walking, with views of the bay all along the trail.
The weather is cooler now, but spring is here. When you’re out be sure to look for more nesting birds, for ’tis the season, for sure!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.