A Mostly Sunny Warblers and Wildflowers Festival 2005

by  Michael J. Good, MS



The weather this May was once again the dominate subject of many a Down East Maine conversation as  Mother Nature put on a spectacular show of chaotic rain, wind, cold  and fog to create one of the most spectacular Neotropical Migrations in recent history and a 7th successful Warblers and Wildflowers Festival. 


The Down East coast of Maine has once again established itself as one of the most important and dynamic destinations to observe the spring migration in motion. Our dynamic coastline with its multitude of habitat types recreate the topical rainforests that these migrating bird species call their winter homes. Therefore Maine and Mount Desert Island have a connection with  southern or “Neotropical” countries  like Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador and as far as Terra del Fuego in the case of Arctic Tern.   This years participants not only got to see birds migrating but they “had an opportunity to see migration” as one participant aptly remarked in the middle of a classic “wave” of Warblers, Flycatchers, Vireo’s  and other forest birds. I am once again in awe of the almighty Mother Earth. 


Located in the heart of the Gulf of Maine, Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island  are a focal point for the massive Neotropical migration  which this year consisted of hundreds of thousands of birds.  Our Warblers and Wildflowers Festival has established itself as an important  venue through which to learn about and observe these unique migratory events. This year we heard or saw 124 species of birds and 18 species of Warblers.   We saw some of the largest numbers of  Warblers and Flycatchers in years as indicated by the 6686 total number of birds seen. What I am also cautiously hopeful for is that we are coming out of the DDT era and we may  actually begin to see numbers of birds /flock increase. Another good sign here in the Gulf of Maine is that Bald Eagle numbers seem to be on the rise.  Our land use decisions here in Maine have international and local ramifications. Our fisheries are directly connected to the microhabitat that Warblers utilize.   


After 7 years of  directing the Warblers and Wildflowers Festival   I am convinced that there is no such thing as “bad weather”  and this year was no exception to the rule.  The driest part of the festival happened to be the first event at Sieur de Monts Spring where we actually had glimpses of broken clouds just prior to the torrential downpours and cold damp weather that dominated the rest of the week.  Despite the wet weather we always had sunny (ok,  partly sunny) periods which allowed all participants to enjoy the rare beauty of Mount Desert Island, its people, their culture and  this unique island destination for Neotropical migrants. 


The festival committee wanted to thank all of the people and organizations involved with the 7th Annual Warblers and Wildflowers Festival for the trips that you operated,  the programs presented, the gallery window displays and the beautiful art that you painted . There was nothing but praise and enthusiasm for your knowledge,  understanding and interpretation of Gulf of Maine Ecology.  These large events cannot happen without the support of the entire MDI community. What ever role your particular  organization played during the festival  makes the ecology of Warblers and Wildflowers work more smoothly. Revenue was generated for the town and island at a time of year that  helps everyone.


We would especially like to thank  The Mira Monte Inn, Miriama Broady  and her Kora, Acadia National Park, College of the Atlantic and the George Dorr Natural History Museum , Alone Moose Gallery, Birch Bay Village, Acadia Wildlife Foundation, Ann Rivers, Charlotte Rhoades Butterfly Garden, SW Harbor, Anne Judd  , Three Pines Bird Sanctuary, Town Hill, Thuya Gardens, Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., Down East Nature Tours, Stan Richmond and Birdsacre Sanctuary, Ellsworth, Robert Shaw, National Park Sea Kayak Tours and the Willis Rock Shop.  The Art Exhibition,  was made possible through Greg and Julie Veilleux proprietors of Window Panes furniture store on Cottage Street. Through their efforts we were able to present Rochester, NY Butterfly and Moth artist Nan Wilson, local artist Josh Voke, Isleford artist Ricky Alley and Bar Harbor artists Meryl Klaif  and Doug McDunnah. Thank you also to Eden Rising, Cadillac Mountain Sports, Acadia Shops, and Willis Rock Shop for all of those fabulous prizes for our opening night gala. We have a good cross section of the Bar Harbor boating industry on board and your interpretation and involvement is invaluable. The schooner Rachel B. Jackson, Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., Capt. Winston Shaw aboard The Lulu with Capt. John Nicolai and Robert Shaw and the guides at National Park Sea Kayak Tours and Maine State Sea Kayak. Overall we had an excellent turn out and our participants contributed to the economy of Bar Harbor in a significant way. This is Ecotourism at work for our community. Planning for next years festival has already begun and we are looking for suggestions to make this grand event  better.


I am once again thankful to the men and women of Mount Desert Islands past like George Dorr and Charles Eliot, for whom we are indebted to for establishing the jewel called Acadia National Park. 


Michael Good is the President of Down East Nature Tours, LLC 



Report:   7th Annual Warblers and Wildflowers Festival 5/25 to 5/30/2005


Number of Species Observed:                        124


Sponsor: 7th Annual Warblers and Wildflowers Festival


Personal Comments:

  This is the official list for Warblers and Wildflowers Festival 2005.

     Common Loon             16

     Northern Gannet            2

     Double-crested Cormorant      25

     American Bittern            1

     Great Blue Heron             2

     Turkey Vulture          28

     Canada Goose             2

     Wood Duck 4

     American Black Duck     65

     Mallard    44

     Common Eider         1,000

     Surf Scoter     350

     White-winged Scoter          350

     Black Scoter     65

     Oldsquaw   5

     Bufflehead 401

     Common Merganser       2

     Red-breasted Merganser     30

     Osprey      5

     Bald Eagle  9

     Northern Harrier            1

     Sharp-shinned Hawk  1

     Cooper's Hawk              2

     Broad-winged Hawk              6

     Peregrine Falcon            4

     Ruffed Grouse            3

     Wild Turkey 1

     Semipalmated Plover             4

     Killdeer      2

     Greater Yellowlegs     20

     Spotted Sandpiper        4

     Semipalmated Sandpiper        7

     Purple Sandpiper        2

     American Woodcock      3

     Laughing Gull     95

     Ring-billed Gull              71

     Herring Gull     210

     Great Black-backed Gull    25

     Common Tern     35

     Black Guillemot       88

     Rock Dove 30

     Black-billed Cuckoo           1

     Great Horned Owl                1

     Barred Owl 1

     Short-eared Owl                1

     Northern Saw-whet Owl  1

     Common Nighthawk       2

     Ruby-throated Hummingbird   5

     Belted Kingfisher       4

     Yellow-bellied Sapsucker       1

     Downy Woodpecker  17

     Hairy Woodpecker    6

     Black-backed Woodpecker    3

     Northern Flicker            5

     Pileated Woodpecker    3

     Olive-sided Flycatcher      12

     Eastern Wood-Pewee   9

     Alder Flycatcher      20

     Least Flycatcher       4

     Eastern Phoebe           8

     Great Crested Flycatcher       6

     Blue-headed Vireo             19

     Red-eyed Vireo             35

     Blue Jay   31

     American Crow             35

     Common Raven             7

     Tree Swallow     6

     Northern Rough-winged Swallow          1

     Cliff Swallow     17

     Barn Swallow     12

     Black-capped Chickadee      55

     Tufted Titmouse         2

     Red-breasted Nuthatch       35

     White-breasted Nuthatch         5

     Brown Creeper           9

     Winter Wren 8

     Golden-crowned Kinglet     37

     Ruby-crowned Kinglet     71

     Eastern Bluebird          3

     Swainson's Thrush           3

     Hermit Thrush           9

     American Robin            32

     Gray Catbird     22

     European Starling         39

     Cedar Waxwing       16

     Tennessee Warbler          1

     Nashville Warbler         36

     Northern Parula           76

     Yellow Warbler         13

     Magnolia Warbler         19

     Black-throated Blue Warbler         41

     Yellow-rumped Warbler     105

     Black-throated Green Warbler         83

     Blackburnian Warbler          8

     Pine Warbler 8

     Blackpoll Warbler          6

     Black-and-white Warbler 32

     American Redstart        18

     Ovenbird  35

     Northern Waterthrush    4

     Common Yellowthroat   45

     Wilson's Warbler          5

     Canada Warbler          2

     Scarlet Tanager          2

     Eastern Towhee          4

     Chipping Sparrow         57

     Savannah Sparrow          4

     Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow          3

     Song Sparrow     22

     Swamp Sparrow         35

     White-throated Sparrow     48

     Dark-eyed Junco            15

     Northern Cardinal          1

     Rose-breasted Grosbeak         2

     Bobolink   35

     Red-winged Blackbird       14

     Common Grackle          12

     Brown-headed Cowbird 7

     Baltimore Oriole             3

     Purple Finch     20

     House Finch 3

     Pine Siskin 26

     American Goldfinch       40

     House Sparrow         15


Total number of birds             6686