Sunday, August 11, 2019

A Few Of My Favorite Things

A very wet Barred Owl at Acadia National Park
The thing about birding Maine is that there is too much to see in one visit.  Our goal this time around was to explore unknown birding spaces together so that it would be a new experience. On our final trek out, we explored the 2 islands of Acadia National Park.  It was a beautiful trek in rainy weather.  

Along the way, we'd stop to see a lighthouse or check out a Pileated Woodpecker. 

Pileated Woodpecker
At one point, Kathie swore she hit a Barred Owl on the road.  We stopped so that she could pull herself together. Then we went back to the spot to see if she had actually hit the owl.  I saw some live mice on the road and knew why the owl was in the area. In a beautiful and happy moment, I saw the owl fly onto a fallen tree. The bird was okay.  Phew! 

It was something out of a story book.  An owl in a dark forest with rain falling down around us.  You can't make that stuff up.  Acadia was a beautiful visit on my last day in Maine. I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from my visit with Kathie and Gus this past May and June. Here are some cell phone shots that have not made it onto the blog yet. 

Like our Lek trek in New Mexico, Machias Seal Island was a huge birding highlight for me this year.  We watched the birds up close from our hide. 

I couldn't believe how quickly the hour had passed.  We watched Razorbills interact with each other and it was fascinating.  They are very social birds. 

Razorbills begin to "couple" up and some even copulate!  This is a cell phone pic!
 We had a fun trek out to the island and I highly recommend this trip for birders or people who are interested in nature. 

I'll miss my Coda bear.  And Bonnie!  They were so cute.  Every morning I'd wake up to both of them competing for love. 

Gus and I would have a Coda war.  I held a secret bag of doggy treats in my room for her to come visit. For a time, Gus would wonder why she was always waiting for me to get up.  I told him that Coda loved me more:)  LOL!  Coda is unlike any dog I have known.  She reminds me of my own dog Stacy many years ago.  One day I took her in the car and absolutely loved it. I'm a cat person but I don't mind dogs.  I'm just saying that this Coda character is a pretty special friend. She remembered me from the first time I met her as a puppy.  And it's always hard to say good-bye to that furry bundle of love. 

Another fun and absolutely lovely birding outing happened at an alewife nursery.  Alewife in Wisconsin are considered invasive. They are really saltwater fish that got into our Great Lakes.  They breed well but cannot handle the extreme weather changes of the Great Lakes and will often die off in masses creating a stench along the lakeshore.  American White Pelicans came back and now clean up our shorelines naturally instead of the town having a bulldozer come to the beaches and plow piles of alewife off the shore. Anyhow, in Maine, they apparently breed these fish for people to use as bait.  It was a gorgeous spot full of incredible warblers.  It was here that I discovered my lifer Canada Warbler. 

There comes a point when birding needs to take a break.  I used to go go go. Over the years, I have mellowed.  There are days we power bird and then there are days I refuse to pick up my camera or binos.  I'll do light birding, but it's not the focus.  One day I asked Kathie if we could just go shopping at LL Bean in Freeport.  I am a HUGE fan of this store and discovered, thanks to Magill, that there was an outlet near the main buildings.  I spent way too much money, but I love all my new clothes and shoes.  That was SUCH a fun day! I hate malls. I hate shopping.  But it was fun shopping with Kathie. And Freeport is awesome.  I should also mention that Kathie is the only person I will speak to for a lengthy amount of time on the phone. I hate talking on the phone.  I also hated the idea of getting married because I hate weddings. But somehow Kathie makes all of those things I dread, better. That's just one of the things I love about her. She also got me into tea again.

Breakfast in Bar Harbor
 I discovered this top(above) for her at the outlet and absolutely love how it looks on her.  Now if she can keep from staining it with coffee or tea:)  LOL!  I should also admit that I am guilty of doing the same thing.  When we get together, I tend to eat way more than I do at home.  I have a healthy appetite and love trying new things.  Unless there's a taco salad on the menu.  But I will say that I am proud of myself for limiting the amount of taco salads on our restaurant ventures. I'm not a dessert person, but I am a sucker for blueberries. I did splurge and have fresh blueberry pie from Moody's Diner.  One day we stopped along the ocean at sunset for a nice warm cup of chowder. Maine is a real place full of colorful and unique characters.  There is no one cookie cutter type of person.  They are so weird and fun.  I think that's what I love about Maine so much.  The people are down to Earth and they are their own person.  In so many ways Wisconsin and Maine are similar but I think it's THIS detail about people that makes Maine different.  They could give a shit about what the Jones are doing next door. Northern Maine is awesome. From what I understand, the further south you go in Maine, the more you lose that colorful coastal personality. 

So along the way, we discovered the Kraut Haus near Waldoboro and Oh Mah Gawd.....Kathie ate her first real delicious sauerkraut at this fine German establishment.  We have them in many places around Wisconsin, but in Maine, it is a rarity.  One day, we had the most amazing lunch at this place. 

I love this feeder at Kathie's place.  A Tufted Titmouse and American Goldfinch share in a brief lunch
Maine, for me, is all about the people, scenery, ocean, food and friends.  The birds are great too but you can see most of them in Kathie's backyard. For the first time in my life, I recognized that I love Maine for Maine and not the birds. The birds were fun, but it was really just about getting out and meeting people.  I was in "vacation" mode and had planned several power birding days out.  But it was more fun enjoying the cool weather with the windows open and listening to the birds call bright and early.  I loved cuddling with Coda and having coffee with Kathie, Gus and Chris.  I enjoyed getting my hair cut by her talented daughter Renee. Birds were always around us, but it wasn't the "Maine" thing:)

A Blue Jay sits out by the feeders waiting to get a sip of water
By the end of my stay, I was sad to say good-bye.  The whole trip flew by so quickly. I watched the Browns work together at home and help each other out.  It was my turn to do the same for my family in Wisconsin.  With my Dad recovering from his triple bypass surgery, I was anxious to analyze the whole situation myself instead of hearing progress reports from people. Those birding and family reports are coming up. I want to thank Kathie, Gus, Renee and Chris for such a fun time.  You guys are the best. Next time Kathie, we'll go visit the Golden Girls down in Connecticut:) The Wisconsin adventures are next.  Until next time....


  1. Well that is wonderful that you had a great time with Kathie and her family and "animals" Gosh how you have changed from being obsessional with birding to even gong shopping and stopping to breathe and relax. I am very glad. The birds will always be there for you but also remember to enjoy other tings and people on the way.

  2. Excellent set of photos. Enjoy your week, Diane

  3. Great post and photos. Your visit and birding with Kathie sounds like a fun time. Cody is a cute dog. I would love to see a Razorbill! Enjoy your day, wishing you a great new week ahead.

  4. Chris, this is so sweet. We had such fun and so many nice adventures. Thanks for encouraging me to do the Machias Seal Island Trip. I would not have attempted it without you. Thanks to you and that trip, I got my knee replacement done just in time to go! You know I love you. You are my Best Friend and you are always welcome here.

    I am so glad that you and Gus get along so well. He misses sparring with you, I think! Hopefully one of these days I really will get to visit and bird Wisconsin. What fun we would have there! Thank you for everything as well. Oh, and Coda misses you, too! Come back and visit us all again, soon. We still need to visit and bird Aroostook County and maybe even Newfoundland!

  5. Feels like you came around 3/4 of the circle being able to just enjoy the company, including bribing Coda, then the birding was icing on the cake you don't eat. Hope the home trip is/was good.


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