Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Coast of Maine

It's great to be back in the good old U.S. of A. with its lower fuel and food prices, lower sales taxes and mileage instead of kilometers.  The rocky coastline of Maine with it's fog shrouded islands, craggy cliffs and rock strewn beaches welcomed us to this picturesque state.

Schoodic Point in the eastern part of Acadia National Park was the most peaceful and beautiful section.
 In contrast, we visited the main part of the park where we joined thousands of visitors,  having been forewarned in brochures that this is one of the most heavily visited parks in the U.S.  We left the RV at the Visitors Center and rode the propane fueled shuttle buses on the 27 mile loop to all the natural features.  To the right is Thunder Hole where the waves crash into the hollowed rocks with quite a roar.
 We left the crowds behind for more peaceful coves, spits and birding areas.  We intercepted excellent fall passerine migration finding 18 species of warblers, some vireos, catbirds, flycatchers, bobolinks, tufted titmice and scarlet tanagers.

Always on the alert to new and strange wildlife we encountered our first Dragon of our journey.  However, not to worry, St. George on horseback was already slaying the dragon.  This large sculpture is by the town hall in St. George, Maine.
We drove to Owl's Head Lighthouse making the long, steep, climb into the lamp room where a tour guide narrated a brief history of the lighthouse (built in 1824) and the West Penobscot Bay area.

Driving through Popham Beach State Park. we noticed some egrets feeding in the salt marsh grass.  Upon closer examination we discovered 2 Great Egrets but more importantly, a rare U.S. visitor from the "Old World" and a new life bird - a Little Egret.  Also seeing some good shorebird movements along the coast: Black-bellied & Semipalmated Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, Whimbrels, Sanderlings, plus lots of Common Eiders on the Ocean shores.

Now we are heading west then south through New Hampshire and Vermont avoiding all the big cities between here and Florida.

Blessings to all,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Bay of Fundy

This was our last look at Newfoundland as the ferry sailed west back to Nova Scotia.  We sighted Fin and Minke Whales, Dolphins, Greater Shearwaters, Atlantic Puffins, N. Fulmars, N. Gannets and added Red Phalaropes to our 2012 list which now stands at 475.  All we need is two more retirement birds to reach 600, it may be awhile before that happens.
 We drove along the southern shore of Nova Scotia through hilly farmland that reminded us of Wisconsin.  Our next destination was Grand Pre' on the Minas Basin off the Bay of Fundy.  The bird net had reported over 18,000 Semipalmated Sandpipers were feeding near Evangeline Beach.  We were blessed with a campsite within walking distance and weren't disappointed with the birds.  We were surprised at the vast area of red mudflats at low tide.  We also saw Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers.  Three Peregrine Falcons kept the nervous birds swirling in flocks of thousands.  A sight to behold with light and dark shifting in the sunlight.  Over 75% of the world's population of Semipalmated Sandpipers come to this area to feed on Mud Worms; doubling their weight before flying to South America.

The tides truly are remarkable here, being the highest and lowest in the world.  While we were here it was 46 feet (hard to believe).  The boats lay stranded on the mud half the day, then are ready for fishing when the water comes in.  At some rivers the tidal bore is so fast that zodiacs take tourists for a great ride - at a pretty high price.  We just watched the adventuresome young people pounding through the rapids.
Dense fog now covered most of the southwestern shores of Nova Scotia so we decided to head to New Brunswick and follow the Bay of Fundy west to Maine.
 One of our fun stops was at Hopewell Cape and these beautiful "Flower Pot Rocks".  At low tide we walked along a mile of beach between the arching rocks and caves.  It's important to climb away from the beach before the tide comes in making each rock an island in the water.
We say a fond farewell to Canada and look forward to returning to the USA.

It's been a great adventure!  All 8,000 miles of it, you can figure out how many kilometers that is as we are tired of thinking metric.

Blessings to all!
Ty & Ida Baumann