ACADIA BIRDING FESTIVAL
by Donna Chadderton
by Donna Chadderton
In late May, two of us attended the 15th annual Acadia Birding Festival on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Many field trips were offered over a four day period that included morning and afternoon hikes, canoe trips, van trips, and boat trips, including one pelagic trip that was dedicated for festival participants only. A wee hour of the morning owl prowl was also available. The field trips were located within Acadia National Park, outside the park but still on MDI, and mainland boreal areas to the north of MDI. This allowed for a wide variety of habitats to be explored – pelagic, coastal, meadow, and forest. In addition, afternoon workshops were offered that covered smart phone apps, birding-by-ear, seabird and general bird ID, and e-bird. Most of the hikes were flat to moderate. One could sign up for any event that was of interest, as long as it wasn’t already at capacity. (The van trips had a limited number of seats, which filled quickly). There were evening presentations by two guest speakers, as well as a lobster cookout at a local lobster pound. A silent auction was also held at the festival center in Somesville. Birders of any skill level are welcome at the ABF; and the guides are knowledgeable and friendly. Just a few of the 150 species of birds that were observed during this year’s festival included Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Roseate Tern, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Sooty Shearwater, Common Loon, and Barred Owl. The data collected were submitted to the citizen science database, e-Bird.
Mount Desert Island is a great place to visit because it has something for just about everyone. The town of Bar Harbor bustles with tourists during high season, but the ABF occurred before the summer crowds descended. Bar Harbor is also a casual town and full of family friendly activities. Acadia National Park has breathtaking scenery, miles of trails, and many opportunities for exploration outside of the Acadia Birding Festival. This was a wonderful, educational, and worthwhile trip. The included photo was digiscoped during the 2012 festival.