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September 20, 2023: Birding Paradise at Hirundo

A Guide to the Best Spots this September

Are you a passionate birder looking for the perfect spot to observe avian wonders this week? Look no further than Hirundo Wildlife Refuge, a birding paradise tucked away in the heart of Maine. Whether you're interested in sparrows, warblers, or bald eagles, Hirundo offers a diverse range of habitats and species to explore. In this guide, we'll take you on a virtual tour of some of the refuge's prime birding locations.

Swamp Sparrow

For Sparrows, Warblers, and Year-round Songbirds:

If you're on the hunt for sparrows, warblers, and year-round songbirds like chickadees and nuthatches, make your way to Gate 1. From there, take a leisurely stroll along the road to the Pine Parking area. Along this route, you'll encounter secondary growth gradually transitioning into mixed forest—a favorite haunt for white-throated sparrows, savannah sparrows, swamp sparrows, black-and-white warblers, and yellow-rumped warblers during migration.

The habitat shifts to open meadow habitat before you reach the Pine Parking Area, a prime spot for sparrow and swallow viewing. As you reach the Pine Parking Area, pay close attention to the tree line. It's a hotspot for mixed flocks of pine warblers, palm warblers, common yellowthroat, American redstarts, and Blackburnian warblers. Continue your journey by following the trail around Lac D'or, a path that meanders between a picturesque pond and a lush floodplain forest. This location is perfect for spotting ducks, flycatchers, kingfishers, wading birds, and more. Your birding adventure culminates at a serene viewing deck where you can relax and savor your birdwatching experience before heading back.

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse, American Woodcock, and Open Habitat Birds:

For those eager to spot ruffed grouse, American woodcock, blue jays, American crows, and other open habitat and edge species, start your birding excursion at Gate 1. Walk along the road and take the first right onto the Thornplum trail. Follow this trail as it eventually connects to the Field To Forest Trail, which eventually brings you back to the road. Along this route, you'll traverse open grassy habitats, so be sure to check for ticks and wear waterproof boots. Although you may be less likely to hear grouse drumming and woodcock displays during this time of year, you can still catch glimpses of them as they move about. Keep an eye out for indigo buntings as well—it's a little late in the season but they might just make an appearance if you're lucky!

Tufted Titmouse

Chickadees, Nuthatches, and Woodpeckers:

If you're more inclined towards observing chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice, and various woodpeckers, the Pine Parking Area is your starting point. From there, embark on the L'ac Dor trail, leading you to the Pond Trail. Here, you have two options: you can either return via Conifer to create a shorter loop or extend your adventure by taking Lady Slipper for a more extensive route. Both trails traverse older woodlands, offering a picturesque setting to encounter some of Maine's classic birds. Be mindful that the recent season has brought a lot of moisture, so ensure you're equipped with waterproof shoes to navigate these scenic trails comfortably.

Belted Kingfisher

American Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, and Waterfowl:

For a chance to observe majestic American bald eagles, the spirited chatter of belted kingfishers, various duck species, and the occasional migrating solitary and spotted sandpipers, park at the Pine Parking Area once more. Hike along the Wabanaki trail and consider taking the High Water Bypass to Field to Forest to return to the Pine Parking Area. This trail closely follows Pushaw Stream, offering a prime vantage point for eagle sightings and the chittering symphony of kingfisher calls.

As you walk, take note of the forest on the right-hand side of the trail, as it's a favored haunt for migrating mixed warbler flocks and numerous woodpecker species.

Whether you're a seasoned birder or a novice seeking an introduction to the world of birdwatching, Hirundo Wildlife Refuge promises an unforgettable experience. With its diverse habitats and a plethora of bird species, this hidden gem in Maine offers something for bird enthusiasts of all levels. So, grab your binoculars, lace up your waterproof boots, and embark on a birding adventure at Hirundo this week—you won't be disappointed!


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