‘Birding in Maine’ new book!

Posted:  Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 5:00pm

This time of year brings many visitors to our beloved state of Maine and that includes lots and lots of birding enthusiasts. Many come with family and combine traditional seafood-eating, swimming, canoeing, sailing, fishing, and hiking with adventures to look for birds. Other birders come with a plan to see specific birds and spend almost all of their time in pursuit of birds.

If you’re one of these bird enthusiasts, it’s imperative that you have in your hands a copy of the new book “Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide” edited by Derek Lovitch and published by University Press of New England. Derek, who with his wife Jeannette, own and operate Freeport Wild Bird Supply, tapped the expertise of 11 other Maine birders to contribute to this book that provides a remarkably comprehensive catalog of 201 birding locations across all 16 Maine counties.

We are proud to report that we wrote the Lincoln County section (the book is organized by county) and pleased that most of the sites we wanted to include made it into the finished product. The site entries are generally organized as birding “loops” with specific directions to a series of sites that one might stop at in succession during a morning’s birding. So, for instance, the Boothbay Harbor Loop includes directions to the Boothbay Region Land Trust’s Penny Lake Preserve and Lobster Cove Meadows Preserve, and is followed by an entry for Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch. The Great Salt Bay Loop includes stops at Salt Bay Preserve, Damariscotta Mills fish ladder, and the Great Salt Bay Farm and Heritage Center, with a suggested stop afterwards at Roundtop Ice Cream!

Now imagine that level of detail for the best birding sites in every Maine county and you’ll see what a treasure trove of information this new book features. Each county chapter starts with a map showing the locations for each site entry or loop and a short summary by Derek of the birding opportunities in that county. For some sites, like Monhegan Island in our Lincoln County chapter, there is an additional detailed map to better explain how to find your way around. Given the local expertise of the various contributors, the site accounts are also often sprinkled with interesting facts and insights that lure one into wanting to visit but also deepen the enjoyment and experience of the visit when it happens. Sprinkled throughout the book are wonderful photos of birds (many by Jeannette Lovitch) and views of the sites. Derek has done a fine job of developing an annotated checklist in the back of the book with seasonal bar graphs and, for species most sought after by visiting birders, short narrative accounts about how , where, and when to find them.

Whether an experienced Maine birder or visitor, or even just a mildly interested bird enthusiast who likes to explore, this book (like our own book, “Maine’s Favorite Birds”) is a must-have for your personal library, although it may spend more time in the car and in your hands than on the shelf!

Jeffrey V. Wells, Ph.D., is a Fellow of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Dr. Wells is one of the nation's leading bird experts and conservation biologists and author of the “Birder’s Conservation Handbook.” His grandfather, the late John Chase, was a columnist for the Boothbay Register for many years.  Allison Childs Wells, formerly of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is a senior director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine, a nonprofit membership organization working statewide to protect the nature of Maine. Both are widely published natural history writers and are the authors of the popular book, “Maine’s Favorite Birds” (Tilbury House) and the just-released “Birds of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao” from Cornell University Press.