Birder's Eye View

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

CMBS | Part 2

"Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land."
Aldo Leopold

It was still the first day of the Coastal Maine Bird Studies camp. After a session of learning the birding basics with Scott Weidensaul, we all headed inside the dining hall for a breakfast of pancakes and fruit at 7am.

Before I got any further, I must note the amazing, fantastic, delicious, delectable, scrumptious food we were served at camp, all cooked by Chef Janii Laberge and the student assistants. It was honestly the best food I have ever tasted, and considering he was cooking for probably close to 50 people 3 times a day, the feat was nothing less than mindboggling. :-)

After breakfast, we quickly regrouped outside the Crow's Nest and were introduced to Kenn Kafman and his wife.

In my diary that night, I described the events in detail:

"We started down the trail outside our cabin, and it began to rain. It was very cold.

"All discomforts were soon forgotten however, as the landscape opened up into an unreal forest. ...[W]e trekked along the shoreline over boulders and moss-lined trails, listening and watching in the trees."

Mr. Kaufman could pick out any bird through the symphony of forest sounds. At this point, I was still overwhelmed by everything, and all the noises seemed to blend together when I listened.

I tried cupping my hand behind my ears, as he did, and slowly, I began to understand how to pick out each individual call.

After a long time of hiking (I totally lost track of time!), we came to the cabin where the original owners of Hog Island had lived. The house was left almost as it had been when the owners moved away. It was dilapidated and cobbled together, but there were still decorations left on the walls and a few old objects here and there.

After leaving the old house, we trekked through the bogs of Hog Island where we promptly became a mosquito buffet. It was not hot and damp and the air shimmered and hummed with mosquitoes, more than I have ever seen in my entire life of living Florida.

Regardless, we did see some great birds, wildlife and plantlife. The picture to the left is of a carnivorous pitcher plant we found. Also in the bog, Mrs. Kaufman caught a small, lanky spider with an orange abdomen. When she turned it upside down, it produced the scent of oranges!

Ah, but I have neglected to mention the birds we saw. By the end of the three-hour hike, I had added a White-winged Crossbill, Greater Yellowlegs, Red-eyed Vireo, half a dozen species of Warbler, and many other birds to my life list.

Considering I had never really gone "birding" before, it was a huge learning curb and an unforgettable experience.


Check back in a couple days for Day 2: Mountains and Beaches.

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  • You went birding with Kenn Kaufman?? Lucky.
    Sounds like it was a fun camp. I thought of going but music camp took precedence.

    By Blogger Parus, At June 8, 2008 at 2:51 PM  

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