On my recent visit to Maine I was determined to see some birds.
I went out on the Odyssey, a Whale Watch boat out of Portland, only to have the weather turn quite foggy, the sea choppy, and I got chilled to the bone.
I watched in wonder as a Cormorant took on a really long eel, and managed to swallow it whole.
But one sunny day while birding, I also discovered the place I would happily call home. Really. I totally want to live there. I’m just putting that out into the universe. A girl can dream, right?
My dream house is located in Biddeford Pool, Maine. This place has all of my favorite things: ocean, rocky shores, wooded areas, and tidal marshes. It’s a birders heaven 🙂
Biddeford Pool is one of those jagged pieces of the Maine coast that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean, and located between the town of Saco, where the ocean meets the Saco River, and the town of Kennebunkport, famous because President Bush the elder makes his home there.
Now, when I decided to visit this lovely little town, I had no idea I was going to fall in love with the town. I was going because this is one of the premier birding destinations in Maine.
And it’s home to the East Point Sanctuary, which is managed by the Maine Audubon Society. The trail runs right along the shore around the tip of this penninsula.
This rocky shore looks like a harsh place for plants to gain a foothold, so imagine my surprise when I came upon this Swamp Rose growing right in a small crevice in the rocks.
As we walked along the shore, I was watching some Scoters flying low above the water. Most of them were Black Scoters, but I did note some White-winged Scoters in the group as well.
And then we came upon the Eiders. Lots of Eiders. The males looking quite spiffy in their beautiful breeding plumage, and the velvety brown females beside them. These birds are the largest ducks in the northern hemisphere, and truly a delight to see.
Then there was this intrepid Black Swallowtail, pressed flat against the wind right above the cliff at the shore’s edge. I was actually kind of surprised to see it there, clinging to the grass yet still being buffeted about in the wind.
Here’s part of the reason I love this place so much: the rocky shore, the birds, and the edge of the woodland all in one frame.
Aside from my love of birding and learning all that I can about birds in their natural habitats, I am always trying to imagine what a wildlife garden would look like in each ecosystem that I visit.
After all, Ecosystem Gardening is all about the fact that your garden is part of the larger ecosystem, and you can gather lots of inspiration for your wildlife garden by visiting the natural areas around you and simply observing how the pieces fit together.
I do know that gardening here would have its challenges. There’s the salt spray, and the wind, and the rocky soil, and the cold winter. But I think I’m up to the challenge 🙂