Puffin, Moose and Bog Trip
An odyssey through Maine, New Hampshire and the Adirondack Park
June 13 - June 22, 2008
Kelli and I were attending our niece's wedding up in Maine and Hudson River Audubon's rescheduled field trip to the southern Adirondacks the following week. So we decided to make one long journey out of it. It was a great trip with lots of birds and other wildlife. Please enjoy our report and photographs.
The trip started Friday June 13, 2008. We headed to Connecticut at 6:30 AM. Our first stop - Mohegan Sun Casino of course! We are very low rollers and we had no luck on the Casino of the Earth side. Our luck changed in the Casino of the Sky side and we won back some of our money and got plenty of play out of penny and nickel machines here; Buffetmania, Wild Taxi, Lobstermania, Texas Tea and Benny's Big Game. We ended with a great lunch at the Sunburst buffet. I lost only $28 and Kelli $20.
We arrived at the Hampton Inn in Wells, Maine where the family was staying at about 3:30 PM. Our niece Mallory asked Kelli to do the Responsorial Psalm at the wedding so we headed down to the rehearsal and then over to Jameson's parents house in Sanford for dinner. We had a great time talking to relatives and the groom's family.
The next morning was sunny and beautiful. Eight of us headed to Wonder Mountain, a mini-golf course just down on Route 1. Kelli and I played a foursome with our two nephews, Mike and Rich. I started out terrible; a six on the 3rd hole had me 4 strokes behind everyone. I found my stroke and slowly chipped away at everyone's lead. On sixteen I passed Kelli and caught up even with Rich. On seventeen I caught up with Mike and Rich fell one stroke behind. On eighteen Mike was closest to the hole but blew the putt. I sank my much longer putt and won! A great come back victory! Kevin, our other nephew, played with Aunt Janet, Kenny and Scott, and won that foursome. He would have beat me by 4 stokes.
Does this hole remind you of anything?
Rich in a tight spot
Mike, Mike, Rich, Kelli
The wedding at St. Christopher's Church in York was great with lots of joyful tears. Kelli was a fabulous reader and Lori sang with her awesome voice to Mallory and Jameson. The reception in Spring Hill in South Berwick was fun and we all danced a lot. The newlyweds even got a mashed potato toast from one table (inside joke). The after-party was back at the hotel with Kevin's home made beer, pizza, and plenty of munchies.
|Mallory and Jameson Voishnis
Mashed Potato Toast
On Sunday we took our first pictures with Citi and Shea, our two Met's Penguins. See their trip photos here. We first headed a little south to the Stonewall Kitchen store in York for some free samples and their great sauces, spreads and jams. Then we headed north for Waldoboro with a stop at the LL Bean store in Freeport and made it to Moody's cabins mid afternoon. After check-in we headed to New Harbor for our puffin boat trip. Hardy Boat Cruises has an evening trip to Little Egg Rock where the Audubon Society re-introduced breeding Atlantic Puffins back to this island in the 70's. Our guide was Audubon's Pete Salmansohn , a frequent speaker at our own Audubon chapter meetings. He did a great job and even his corny jokes were funny. It was cloudy with a bit a rain, but the smooth calm water made the viewing great. We had puffins, Black Guillemots, Common Eider, Northern Gannets, Artic and Roseate Terns and as an added bonus Harbor Porpoises and Harbor Seals. We finished the evening with a great meal at Moody's Dinner - a Maine Institution!
Our Moody cabin
Kelli and her favorite activity
Shopping at Moody's gift shop
Monday was also cloudy and rainy, so we headed to Rockland and visited the Puffin Project Visitor Center. They have a robotic live cam to view the puffins on Seal Island as well as one of the burrow nests. We recommend lunch at the Brass Compass café where we had a fabulous orange cream (or dream) cake for dessert. We walked partway onto the seawall north of town and had a great look at a harbor seal coming out of the water to pose on a small rock. It was still raining so we headed back to our rustic Moody cabin and watched the end of the golf playoff between Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods.
Tuesday - after another fabulous breakfast at Moody's diner we traveled back to Rockland were we found a Red Fox just off the road. We visited the Todd Audubon Center on Muscongus Bay, home of Hog Island where the Maine Audubon Camps are held. After some birding we had a Red Squirrel visit a bird feeder. That's not a cage - just a squirrel proof bird feeder ;-)
Puffin Center in Rockland
The trip into New Hampshire was uneventful and we made it to Conway mid afternoon. We headed for the Kancamagus Scenic Byway; a highway through the White Mountains. Our first stop along the river gave us a view of a Scarlet Tanager and a Wild Turkey along the road. About 2 miles before the top of the highway we noticed a couple of cars pulled over. We stopped and they said they just had a moose down by the water - Lily Pond. It was lightly raining but we went down the short trail to the pond. At first we didn't see it, then we both got on the moose with our binoculars at the same time and both yelled "I got it!" It was the first time for both of us at seeing a moose. It was a huge adult male. It went back into the woods and we headed back up to the car. I looked from the car at it came out again. This time I got the scope out and had great views. The rain had stopped and more people were stopping to take a look. Many had great views through the scope. The moose then started down the side of the pond towards us. We went back down the trail to the shore and it eventually came within 40 feet of us. The sun came out so we could get some great pictures. He eventually went into the woods and stopped. We left him with people looking through the bushes and trees. Two miles later we had a spectacular mountain view from the scenic area.
Kelli eyeing the Moose
The Moose gets closer
We passed through Franconia Notch State Park, where the Old Man in the Mountain was till it sadly fell in 2003. We spent the night at the Best Western in Franconia. A very new, and inexpensive secluded spot right off I-93.
Wednesday morning had us up early and out to the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge. We had another moose, a young one without antlers, as we entered the small lot. It quickly trotted off. The birding here was great. The old railway bed treated us to fourteen species of warblers including a Cape May. Other birds included Least and Alder Flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, a calling Pied-billed Grebe and four Great Blue Heron nests with adults and young. We found a huge female Snapping Turtle who had just laid her eggs and covered them up in the dirt.
Great Blue Heron and nest
We then had a long drive to Lake Placid, New York, in the high peaks region of the Adirondack Park. In Wilmington we had a great dinner at R.F. McDougall's Pub at the Hungry Trout resort, and then checked into the Placid Bay Inn.
Wednesday was again wet, so we relaxed, shopped in Keane and downtown Lake Placid and had dinner at the Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Company, home of the Great Adirondack Brewing Company. I like their Haystack Blond Ale and Ausable Wulff Red Ale the best The John Brown Pale Ale is OK as well.
Thursday was a birding day so we got up early and headed to Bloomingdale Bog and nearby Bigalow Road. Highlights included two Gray Jays, a Boreal Chickadee and a Snowshoe Hare. Its huge feet were still white and stood out from its brown body.
We stopped midday at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake and explored the trails. We had an early dinner at The Ole Barn in Inlet. We are always happy with the food here.
We met Frank and Sue at Deer Meadows Motel in Inlet, New York for the beginning of the Audubon field trip. We headed over to Ferd's Bog on Uncas Road and headed down through the forest and out onto the boardwalk that ends in the middle of the bog. This is where I proposed to Kelli 2 years ago (July 3, 2006) (See "Valentine's Day is Not Just for the Birds" and we recreated the scene so we could get some pictures. The bog was quiet at first, then we heard drumming that I knew immediately it was one of the boreal woodpeckers. Kelli found it first and it was a male, with its yellow forehead visible. Then a Pileated Woodpecker flew over the bog and landed. Two great woodpeckers, what a fantastic way to start a field trip! The evening ended with a walk down to Seventh Lake from the motel to see a Common Loon diving and catching fish as the sun was setting.
On Saturday our group of four drove into Moose River Recreational Area. At our first stop I heard a Mourning Warbler and was able to call it out for a brief view. Kelli was even able to get off a quick shot of it. More warblers were found including Canada, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue and a few very cooperative Chestnut-sided Warblers. A male Scarlet Tanager was seen as well as both nuthatches, Alder Flycatcher and both Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireos. Dinner was at the Red Dog Saloon ( thanks Paul for the recommendation!) ( and thanks Frank and Sue for our Red Dog baseball caps)
Black-throated Green Warbler
Our last day of this arduous 10 day trip found us at Ferd's Bog early. We heard and saw an Olive-sided Flycatcher right away. Ken Thompson from Long Island was there and he mentioned that there were 50 people on the Hamilton County Adirondack Birding Festival trip the day before. I'm surprised the boardwalk didn't sink! The Black-backed Woodpecker was back and this time I had my scope. We had great looks at it. Kelli then got on what may have been a second Black-backed Woodpecker that I never got on. I was busy with a Gray Jay flying low, stopping briefly at the edge of the bog before disappearing into the woods. Unfortunately no one else in our group got on either bird. A little later I heard a Boreal Chickadee with Ken waving us over. We had good looks at the bird and two more also quickly flitted by. We had one last close look at the woodpecker by taking a side trail before ending the trip on this high note.
Mike and Kelli
Turkey and chick
We headed home. Our last birds was a mother Wild Turkey with chicks along the road. We found some great burgers in Warrensburg at the Luck-E-Star Café and were back in Yonkers by 6 PM. We saw 99 species of birds and 11 mammals. We traveled 1663 miles and unfortunately used $273 worth of gas. But it was well worth doing with plenty of fond memories and exciting finds.
Thanks for reading!
Michael and Kelli
Read our other trip reports at Kelli and Mike's Adventures
New England Cottontail
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Crested Flycatcher
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
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