Fall is my favorite season, since it’s a time of such incredible changes — some subtle, some dramatic. I’ve been enjoying the autumn by getting out in the field and doing some bird watching. I recently had the remarkable experience of accompanying Laura Minich Zitske, a Maine Audubon wildlife biologist, and Elizabeth Goundie, a seasonal biologist, as they monitored migratory birds along Scarborough Beach. We saw Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers as they commuted down from northern Canada and the Arctic to warmer climes for the winter. It’s just astonishing to think that these little birds take such extraordinarily long journeys, and that we as Mainers are a part of their story.
Earlier in September I participated in our Bald Eagles of Merrymeeting Bay cruise guided by Doug Hitchcox, Linda Woodard, and Turk Duddy. Maine Audubon has been hosting this trip since 1969. Although I have explored a lot of Maine, I had never before visited Merrymeeting Bay. It was an amazing experience to cruise along the coast and into one of the most remarkable river confluences – the merger of the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers. Many tribal communities in North America and cultures from other parts of the world view river confluences as sacred or holy sites, and I am grateful that Maine Audubon facilitated access to this wonderful interface of Maine’s storied rivers, wildlife, and cultural history.
If you are looking to jump start your birding adventures, October marks the launch of our Birding Basics Lecture series with staff naturalist Doug Hitchcox. Lectures will take place every other Thursday evening from 7-8 pm starting October 6. It’s a great way to enter the world of birding or brush up on your skills.
Beyond birding, another way to enjoy the fall is by attending a full moon night hike at Fields Pond Audubon Sanctuary. On October 16, November 4, or December 13, join us for a hike beneath the full moon to explore the sanctuary. It’s a great way to unwind while listening to the nocturnal sounds of creatures in the woods and meadows.
Maine Audubon facilitates experiences with the Maine’s natural world — experiences that provide us with a greater context and perspective. I think this lies at the heart of what we do.
I hope you can join us on one of the adventures we have planned for this fall!
Ole Amundsen is Executive Director of Maine Audubon. He has more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, with a focus on landscape scale conservation, environmental education and finance. Amundsen most recently served as program manager for the national land trust, The Conservation Fund.