Two weeks ago, Maine Audubon trustee Sandy Buck and I took a short trip into the woods north of Baxter Park. We wanted to check in on Maine’s forest songbirds and brook trout, and we wanted to do that in a place that is as close to an undisturbed habitat as can be found anywhere in Maine.
So we went to Reed Pond, a 5,000-acre Nature Conservancy preserve that is the largest stand of old growth timber in Maine. It was a spectacular setting. We began our visit with a bird walk under the direction of Maine Audubon staff naturalist Doug Hitchcox. Doug saw twice as many bird species as he had expected to see. At one point, he called in six or seven different species and had them swirling around us!
Reed has a native brook trout population and is one of the last places where you can find arctic char (aka “blueback” trout). Both fish have recently been restored to the pond, which had become infested with non-native rainbow smelt, and appear to be thriving once again.
Protecting forest songbirds and protecting native brook trout are key priorities for Maine Audubon. Personally, I’ve always been focused mostly on the trout that inhabit the waters of the Maine Woods, but now, thanks to my recent experience at Reed Pond, I understand as well the role our forests play as song bird habitat. Where else can you experience healthy populations of birds and brookies — as well as moose, loons and lynx? No wonder Maine is the East’s last, best place!
P.S., Beginning later this year, Maine Audubon will be offering some of its most loyal friends, who have joined as members of the new Maine Audubon Wildlife Stewardship Council, a chance to participate in a special birds and brookies trip to the Maine Woods. Information on the Wildlife Stewardship Council will appear soon on the Maine Audubon website. In the meantime, if you have questions about it or about my recent trip, send me an email message at [email protected].
Charles Gauvin started at Maine Audubon in 2014. Gauvin brings more than 25 years of experience in conservation leadership, much of it as the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the nation’s leading river and fish conservation organization.Gauvin most recently served as Chief Development Officer at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. He collaborated with Carnegie scholars worldwide to develop program strategies and support in the United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and South Asia.