Spring is always a very frenetic time for me, this year has been even more so. While I am trying to prepare this post, I am also trying to take advantage of the other spring photo opportunities and commitments so I am a bit behind but the good news is that I have plenty of images to work through for my blog and website for the next few weeks.
As indicated in my last post, our base of operations for the next few days was Greenville, Maine. We were up bright and early to dreary skies and headed north into a very interesting part of Maine known as North Woods which I will write about in my next post. Our photo group included 3 other very accomplished photographers, Joe Fuhrman, Jesús Flores and Judd Patterson so I was in good company and learned plenty from them over the next few days during the inevitable conversations.
Matthew Studebaker’s Maine workshop objectives included photographing warblers and songbirds that make the boreal forest their home around Moosehead Lake which is Maine’s largest inland lake. According to the website, Maine Birding Trail, “many highly coveted species share a habitat preference for Maine’s boreal forest, which is characterized by lots of spruce trees. The boreal forest is spread widely through Canada, but it also nudges across the border into the United States. Maine is particularly fortunate because the influence of the ocean, mountains, and boggy wetlands creates ideal conditions for this habitat. These species are particularly coveted by birders and they are often in close proximity to each other. However, each is particular about the kind of conditions it prefers, and knowing these preferences improves the chances of finding one or all of them.”
Our first stop was the habitat of the Blackpoll Warbler which is common in the boreal forest, at its southern limit in Maine and would be a life-bird for me.
The Blackpoll warbler is only seen in the far northern portions of Ontario in our boreal forest region or during migration. I had never seen this warbler before let alone take it’s picture but as you see, we were very successful during the one of the few periods of the day when it wasn’t raining. I was glad to be able to get images portraying ones of its distinctive field marks, the orange-yellow legs. During our photography sessions, we also saw Magnolia and Black-throated Green Warblers and the ubiquitous American Redstart.
We stopped for lunch at the Kokadjo Camps & Trading Post, a great little restaurant about an hour north of Greenville and had noticed that a number of swallows were visiting mud puddles at the back of the property. After lunch we seized the opportunity to capture some activity of the Cliff Swallow. In order to capture the best story-telling images, the dedicated photographer will try and obtain a low level view which in this case, requires laying down in the mud.
The Cliff Swallow is a pretty little bird that builds enclosed, gourd-shaped nests from clay pellets that it fastens to the underside of cliff overhangs or in this case eaves of houses that are in close proximity.
During these photo tours, there are always other things to see beside birds and on this day, I was able to add a young bull moose and a painted trillium to the list. I have also included the one and only image of a Cape May Warbler for posterity. Despite Matthew’s tenacity and best efforts, this years spring weather and unusual migration patterns worked against him and we weren’t afforded any more opportunities to see the Cape May so it has moved to the top of my nemesis list!
In my next post, I will have the final installment of our trip to Maine and images of another life-bird, the Bay-breasted Warbler!