The rest of Maine: the pain and the rain.

Maine was full of life lessons, some more valuable than others. 

Lesson #1:  SD cards are not to be trusted.   After four days of lifering hard and taking hundreds of bad photos my SD card called it quits.  It was too much.  I'm guessing the blame lies on the fiery Blackburnian Warbler, but really who can say?

 Thankfully Nate let me borrow an SD card for the rest of the trip...

Lesson #2:  Yelling "LOOK TOUGHER DAMMIT" at a bunch of bird nerds does not actually make them look tougher.

But at least they weren't mad that I swerved off the road so we could drive through this neato covered bridge. 

Lowe's covered bridge, Sangerville

Lesson #3:  A Spruce Grouse hangs out in a spruce forest, exactly like it should.

Boot Head Preserve, Lubec

Some folks called this the bird of the trip.  I was a bigger fan of the Boreal Chickadees we saw, but alas, those photos are gone. 

Lesson #4:  Brown Thrashers are not confiding at all, except when they're staying at a crappy Travelodge by a highway.  Then they really let their hair down.

Lesson #5:   Clean your damn camera lens before trying to crush thrashers

Lesson #6:  Bird nerds get excited about things other than birds.

                      Calypso bulbosa

Lesson #7:  There is plenty of dead stuff to photograph in Maine.

Osprey, Biddeford Pool, where the best warbler migration madness I have ever witnessed occurred, with zero photos to show for it.

                       Wild Turkey, Kennebunk Plains, where Upland Sandpipers do not exist, but Prairie Warblers thrive.  You will never see my crushes of said warblers. 

Ring-necked snake, Moosehorn NWR

Lesson #8:  Philadelphia Vireos are more striking than I had anticipated, even at great distances.

Near Moosehead Lake

Lesson #9:  Before heading to Maine I was the only person left on the planet who had not seen a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  I took some okay photos of one at the Scarborough River Wildlife Sanctuary, but those are gone.  All I have are some crappy ones from Kokadjo.

Lesson #10:  Maine is pain.  One day it's 85 and sunny, the next it's 45 and raining.  And then it's 45 and raining again.  And again.  Despite this, we decided to wake up at 3:45 a.m. and hike almost 2000 feet up Big Moose Mountain to search for Bicknell's Thrush.

We got completely soaked, pelted with freezing rain at the top, and only one person saw the bird.  Go Team Nate.

Lesson #11:  Where there's pain, there's whiskey.

And where there's whiskey, there's Miss Brown.  And baby deer.  And things that will never make their way to the internet, fingers crossed.

Lesson #12:  Frog choruses lurk in everyone's nightmares and have been known to cause roads to disappear entirely.  Accidentally cranking the defrost suddenly has the same result but with more yelling by Seagull

Lesson #13:  Dipper Dan is exceptionally good at catching amphibians.

 Lesson #14:  Porcupines look super awkward and super adorable when they climb trees.

THIS FACE SLAYS ME.  Cutler Coast Public Preserved Land, Lubec

Lesson #15:  I need to spend more time in peat bogs.  Between the pitcher plants, the birds, and the moose poop, there is much to enjoy.

Lubec area

Lesson #16:  American Woodcock displays are rad, even if you never actually see the damn birds.  Everyone else saw them for the record.  I also learned that if I do a poor nighthawk imitation in the front seat of the car, the folks in the back seat think they're hearing a woodcock.

Ignore the White-throated Sparrow and listen for the buzzy peent of the woodcock:

Moosehorn NWR
Lesson #17:  There are no moose in Maine.  There is moose poop.  There are moose tracks.  There are wild-eyed New Yorkers with loud voices and big ideas about where to find moose (hint: GO LEFT GO LEFT GO LEFT).  But really, there are no actual moose.

Lesson #18:  The coolest buggy thing of the trip could found on my motel room door frame in Greenville.

Tiger moth

 Lesson #19:  My love for yellow-shafted flickers has not waned since I first learned about them while writing a report for my 8th grade science class back in CT. 

Moose Mountain Inn, Greenville
Lesson #20:  New England means good bagels.  Everything bagels have seeds on both sides as well as salt.  The vegan cream cheese is spread generously.  If you're lucky, behind the bagel shop there are Nelson's and Saltmarsh Sparrows to drool over.  Thanks, Mister Bagel.

 Scarborough Marsh, home to both sharp-tailed sparrows, Glossy Ibises, and Little Blue Herons. 

Lesson #21:  Lubec, Maine is where the sun first rises in the United States.  It's quiet and beautiful but filled with bad food.  The grocery store, which closes at 7:00, has six varieties of veggie burgers and not one is vegan. 

 It would not be hard to swim to Canada

the edge, where we stayed for four days watching scoters and eiders swim by the house

Lesson #22:  A whore's egg is a sea urchin.

So that was Maine.  There was so much I wish I could have showed you.  So many warblers.  Thrushes.  A Little Gull.  Roseate Terns.  Boreal Chickadees.  Sharp-tailed sparrows.  You will have to take my word for it, or check out Seagull Steve's, Natey's, or Dipper Dan's blogs.   

Good times!!!!


  1. A few things...

    I love how you post a picture of drunken me underneath a desk with my head next to a trash can and then say you hope things will never make their way to the internet. Meow.

    I'm still not convinced that wasn't a Woodcock.

    This is a great summary, and makes me wish we were all still there. Best trip in years, no exaggeration.

    Go Team Nate! #bicknell'sthrush #nate'sglory

    1. It was not a woodcock, but I am amused you're still holding onto that theory.

  2. Great trip! Yes! God that woodcock shit was hilarious. Nice sunset pic from The Edge, I never got one. Sorry about your SD card again, that is such a bummer.

    1. I am glad that at least one person knows the truth about the woodcock.

    2. That Woodcock is a goddamned conspiracy, just like Nelson Briefer.

  3. Looks like a great trip despite the weather. I have been to Maine six times and have missed Boreal Chickadee each time, so of course you saw them. (but I'm not bitter) I did see a Moose once, though, so nanner nanner nanner.
    John Rakestraw

    1. Oh man! We had the chickadees a couple times, but yes you win with the moose.

  4. OH S**T sorry bout the SD card---i'VE BEEN IN THOSE SHOES. Sounds like a fabulous trip and you saw a plenty!! The memories will last forever!

    1. That's true, there are some memories that will haunt me until the end of time.

  5. I'm really sorry about the card, both for you and for me.
    Congratulations nonetheless on the massive lifering and sightings, the crushes you did retain, and the charisma building endurance that was built.

    This post has all of the best things in common with a Giant Mammoth and is one of the top 10 best things I've seen in 2015.

    P.S. of course those bird nerds stopped to look at that flower. It looks like part of a vagina.


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