Michael J. Good
Maine’s Down East region, roughly from Rockport to Lubec, offers the most interesting and ecologically diverse birding in the state of Maine, if not nationally. With 348 species recorded in eBird for Hancock County and 464 species documented by the Maine Bird Records Committee, we rank fourth in the state for species diversity. National Audubon Society, the American Bird Conservancy, and the National Geographic Society have identified several Down East birding spots, including Mount Desert Island (MDI), as Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the United States. This article will help you easily find birding hotspots on MDI, so you can spend your time finding birds in the field.
Water and associated wetlands are an abundant resource on MDI, and watersheds define bird habitat, especially for warblers and flycatchers. Somes Sound, the only fjard—a small fiord—on the East Coast, divides the island almost in half, creating eastern and western lobes. Following the seminal watershed work of Steve Perrin (1996), I continue the tradition of dividing Mount Desert Island into three major watershed drainage districts: 1) draining toward Frenchman Bay and east, 2) draining centrally toward Somes Sound, and 3) draining toward Blue Hill Bay and west. Part One of this guide starts at Thompson Island and heads east clockwise along Frenchman Bay, picking up Park Loop Road through Acadia National Park to Jordan Pond. A future Part Two will cover hotspots from Somes Sound continuing clockwise around the Blue Hill Bay side of MDI.
Mount Desert Island Map 1
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