When you're a 40 something single mother of a teen with lots of ambition, you find yourself in all kinds of interesting adventures and situations. Come back to laugh at us any time you feel the need, heaven knows where we'll be doing what next. Here you can expect a few words, a lot of images and hopefully ideas on what you can do for your next adventure.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

January musings and a grand day out

It's been an unusual winter in Maine with warm temperatures and a severe lack of snow. While anti-snow lovers are rejoicing I am suffering from reverse Seasonal Depression and was even known to curse the southern half of the Northeast for misunderstanding how lucky they were to get dumped with just shy of 30" of snowy goodness. That's a playground scenario for this girl. As it is right now I'm overlooking my bland back yard, part dead pine needless and ironically - part green grass with patches of snow here and there. It feels like spring with temps in the 40's, there are buds on some trees and the poor chickadees and titmouse are singing their spring songs, which wouldn't be so bad but it's the last day of January. JANUARY. I'm secretly hoping for a repeat of last February where Mother Nature provided us with our normal snowfall amounts in a span of about two weeks. I'm really just hoping for one more good dumping so I can use my cross country skiis and snowshoes somewhere other than my back yard, I hope I didn't waste the one good storm we had this year already.

Anyway - rant over. Yesterday - since it was so pretty out - I decided to get out and do some birding and sightseeing (along with the other 5 million Portland area residents - it was nice to see folks out enjoying the day but get out of my way!). I packed up my stuff and headed out. I went to all my normal local haunts just trying to soak in the sights and beef up my ebird checklists for this year. The sky was a brilliant blue for most of the morning, turning slightly overcast as the day moved on and this chilly offshore breeze appeared, making the 45 degrees seem much cooler.

Trail reports are as expected - paved areas are nearly perfect but still contain slippery, icy areas - earthen or grassy walkways are muddied and also contain icy areas. I scoped out the Westbrook River walk, Mackworth Island, Eastern Prom, Thomas Knight park, Bug Light park, Spring Point Light, the Portland Headlight, the Eastern Trail, the Atlantic Way Trail and East Sanctuary trail. I did not hike them but I did look at them to see if I had appropriate footwear and alas - I did not. Perhaps intentional? Could be - but you don't always have to be OUT in nature to ENJOY nature, right? Of course not. :) I'll save that for some warmer weather.

The Portland Headlight, as seen from Andrews Ave driving to Mackworth Island

B&M Baked Beans plant, as seen from the Eastern Promenade

I caught this Mockingbird happily eating last fall's crabapples

An oil tanker empties it's belly while parked on the Fore River

Another Mockingbird, one of three I found at Bug Light park

Pompoms or Christmas Ornaments? You be the judge! Plane Trees at Bug Light Park

Bug Light - keeping boaters safe as they enter Portland Harbor

A lobsterman cruises across Casco Bay with Cousin's Island stack in the left background

The infamous Spring Point Lighthouse

Black Ducks searching for snacks in the calm waters of Spring Point harbor

A Song Sparrow takes a moment to size me up at Dyer Point

A male Long Tailed duck searching for snacks at Pine Point

Surf Scoters off Vines Landing, Biddeford Pool

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

An unusual Christmas gift - Snowy sighting and a Ross's goose

It's almost a good month later but I wanted to share the most precious Christmas gift I got for my mom, and myself, this past holiday season. See, Christmas Eve day we decided to try to find a Snowy Owl so my mom could finally tally one on eBird in York County. She also needed to test out her new Canon 70D (we are matchers again now!) and this was the perfect opportunity. We set out for Biddeford Pool on that unseasonably warm and foggy day without much hope - we had tried before in the past and failed miserably; it's always a crap shoot when you go in search of the ellusive Snowy.

We started out by driving towards Fortunes Rocks first, I figured there had to be something in Etherington Pond that we could count and well - Snowy's love to park on rooftops when the tide is high as it was that morning. Not to be disappointed there were loads of Buffleheads and my mom had a blast trying to figure out the settings on the new gear. We turned around and headed back towards the 'Pool and before we could get half way down Mile Stretch Road I spotted a beautiful specimin on top of the last house on the left at Fletcher Neck. My mom's eyes popped and we laughed out loud. It's like hunting cows in a pasture some days. Yes - I was naughty and parked on the side of the road but she was like a little kid and I wasn't going to deny her an opportunity to photograph this handsome creature with that brand new lens. We then made the loop and came back out, grinning from ear to ear. I told her I would bring her to the Portland Jetport so we could maybe see the one hanging out there too. 

We went up through Camp Ellis and Old Orchard, into Scarborough and then South Portland via Route 1. On a whim I took Westbrook Street to slide into the parking area across from the Jetport and as we passed the soccer fields for the Longcreeek Correctional center, there were a bunch of Canadian Geese out on the field. I didn't pay much attention, but my mom mentioned a whitish colored goose in the mix so I turned around (thinking she might be off her rocker) and low and behold, in the middle of the flock was a Ross's Goose (which we didn't know what it was until we got home so it was VERY exciting). 

Some might think that it wasn't that big of a deal at all, but to mom and I it was another tick for Snowy's in York County and a lifer bird for both of us.  Best (and cheapest) present you could ever get - or give. 

Mr. Snowy sits on a Rooftop waiting for the tide to recede

What are you looking at lady?

Fishing Vessels in Biddeford Pool from the Yates Street park

We were ah-mazed by the amount of crabapples on this tree!

Great Blue Heron off Seaside Ave, Camp Ellis

Common Eiders off Pine Point

Pine Point - Town Landing

Marshwaters behind The Landing at Pine Point

The Ross's Goose at the Correctional Center - a lifer for my mom and I

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Atlantic Way trail - Old Orchard Beach, Maine

I'm not sure which is more disappointing, the fact that I wrote this blog way back in April and didn't post it or the fact that I've been away from my blog for so long. Let's just say, I haven't put the right priorities in the forefront lately :) Hopefully I'm about to make that change.

Between Saco and Old Orchard Beach there is this sweet little trail tucked away that leads into nowhereland but nonetheless is a nice little hike if you're looking for swamp birds or to just clear your mind for a few minutes. On this particular semi spring day, I found lots of Palm Warblers deep in the woods who were happy to pose for some pictures (wait until you see these below!) and even had a Kestrel swing by to say hi. 

I really need some more days like this! It's been way too long. 


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