In spring, wildlife watching can get to be a bit overwhelming. Birds are migrating back into the state, and I often find that I have no idea what I’m looking at. Critters are emerging from their winter hidey holes with babies in tow. Sometimes, I’m not sure where to point my camera.
As I’ve said before, my collection of Maine animal photos is quickly growing, and sometimes, some neat photos get lost before I have the chance to share them with you.
So this morning, I’m taking a few minutes to look back on some recent outings and share some May wildlife photos with you.
I went on vacation the second week of May, and on my birthday, I met up with some wildlife photographer friends of mine for an outing. They were headed to a special event — Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in cooperation with wildlife rehabilitation center Avian Haven, were rescuing two baby eaglets from a nest in Bangor. Their father had died when he ran into a power line, and their mother had eaten something toxic and was being rehabilitated at Avian Haven. Read the story on John Holyoke’s blog, “Out There.”
I was glad to be there because, for a few months, I’d been watching the eagles with my friend Sharon, who had photographed the eagles on a regular basis for several years. She told me that she felt like the eaglets’ “grandmother,” and I totally get that sentiment. After all, she watched the eagle pair build their Bangor nest, and she keeps tabs on it year round. She knows how the mother holds one of her wings out from her body, and what time the pair usually flew down the Kenduskeag to return to their nest in the evening.
So a man climbed up a tree — way, way up — and gently placed the two fuzzy grey eaglets in a dufflebag, which was then lowered to the ground. And now, the two babies have been reunited with their recovering mother at Avian Haven, which posts updates on their Facebook about the eagle family.
While watching the operation, my boss BDN Outdoors editor John Holyoke arrived to do some reporting on the heartwarming story. I knew he’d give me a hard time. I was on vacation, after all. What was I doing taking photos of wildlife? Rather than high tail it out of here (which was my first impulse), I approached John and assured him I was just there for fun. And that’s when I realized that I just might love my job, since I was sort of doing it while on vacation … on my birthday.
Another outdoorsy thing I did on vacation — and perhaps my favorite adventure — was to visit Fundy National Park in Saint Martins, New Brunswick, which is home to the famous Fundy Trail, an amazing hiking-biking trail that travels along the coast and across Salmon River. Also while in Canada, I visited the Irving Nature Park, which with its narrow, winding park roads sort of reminded me of Baxter State Park — but on the ocean, and with no mountains. And of course, I brought along my camera.
For the rest of vacation, I just hung around my house and my mother’s house, where I was serenaded by a loud bird called a gray catbird. I hear these birds are bashful, but this one stuck around for me.
I’ve been back from vacation for a couple weeks now, and thanks to the nature of my job, I’ve been able to continue to capture animal photos here and there. Here are a couple of loons that sang me to sleep while staying at Twin Pine Camps on Millinocket Lake last weekend while covering a story on The Summit Project.