Tag Archives: michael-good

Flight of the Snowy Owl over Acadia National Park

This time of year on the wintry mountaintops of Acadia National Park, the serious birders come to scan the landscape for the Snowy Owl, normally a raptor of the Arctic tundra.

snowy owls in acadia national park

Michael J. Good calls this his favorite photo of a Snowy Owl he saw on Sargent Mountain in December. (Photo courtesy Michael J. Good and Down East Nature Tours)

They may sit and observe a Snowy Owl for more than an hour at a time, as Michael J. Good did, watching the same owl on different days in November, on Cadillac and Sargent Mountains. “There is nothing quite like spending time with this charismatic bird from the North,” Good wrote, in sharing a favorite Snowy Owl photo with us.

Or they may post photos from their field trips on Facebook, as Rich MacDonald did, not only of the two Snowy Owls he saw the same day in December on Sargent, but also of owl pellet degrading after the rains from a day earlier. “Snowy Owls are back!” his Facebook page proclaims.

snowy owls in acadia national park

This was one of two Snowy Owls that Rich MacDonald spotted the same day on Sargent Mountain. (Photo courtesy of Rich MacDonald and The Natural History Center)

MacDonald, a naturalist and field biologist, is co-owner of The Natural History Center with his wife Natalie, while Good, a Registered Maine Guide, is owner of Down East Nature Tours. Both Bar Harbor businesses lead tours year-round in Acadia, and around the globe.

Acadia National Park – well-known for peregrine falcons, the annual HawkWatch and the Acadia Birding Festival – may also rightly lay claim to being a spectacular place to catch the flight of the Snowy Owl.

Even before the 2013-2014 headlines about the sudden upsurge of Snowy Owls migrating to the US – known as an irruption – Acadia has been an occasional winter home for Snowies. Continue reading

Winter a secret wonderland in Acadia National Park

UPDATE 01/20/2020: In addition to this article, you can also see more 2020 winter events, and find routes up Cadillac in winter, in our December 2019 update.

(To plan your trip, see Acadia National Park year-round lodging, restaurants, shopping)

Snow falling on pink granite shores, sea smoke rising from Frenchman Bay, cross-country skiers gliding along freshly groomed trails: It’s winter in Acadia National Park, the quiet season.

cadillac in winter

To get this view from Cadillac in winter, you can’t drive up the 3.5 mile summit road, but you can hike it. Be sure to be properly equipped for snow, ice and cold. (NPS photo)

You may not be able to drive up Cadillac Mountain or around the entire length of the Park Loop Road this time of year, or enjoy a popover on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House.

But the rewards for the hardy and adventurous soul are plenty: Solitude, winter’s beauty and such activities as cross-country skiing, winter hiking or watching for Snowy Owls and other migratory birds.

Winter is a secret wonderland in Acadia National Park, and it’s not a time to hibernate.

While many of the places to visit, stay and eat in area communities are closed, dozens of local businesses and cultural institutions are open for all or some of the winter.

There’s even an annual winter festival at Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, from Feb. 7-9, in 2020, featuring science, art and fun outdoor activities for kids and adults, including snowshoe basics and a winter ecology walk.

winter in acadia national park

It’s a winter wonderland in Acadia National Park, with Cobblestone Bridge blanketed by snow. (Photo courtesy of our friends John and Meghan Khairallah of Acadia365)

On Jan. 20, for the first time this 2020 winter, conditions have been right for volunteers with the Acadia Winter Trails Association to groom and track some of the carriage roads for cross-country skiing.

And in the winter of 2020, serious birders have reported sightings of Snowy Owls on top of Sargent Mountain to eBird.org, which offers an online bird checklist.

Here are some ideas and resources to plan your trip to Acadia in winter. The winter visitor center for the Maine national park is staffed by rangers and is located at the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, open 7 days a week, 8 am to 4 pm, at Main and Cottage Streets.

You can check snow conditions by linking to Bar Harbor area live Webcams.

Continue reading

Hearing the call of wild turkeys in Acadia National Park

For visitors to Acadia National Park who’ve experienced the wonder of seeing wild turkeys along the Park Loop Road, carriage roads or hiking trails, the bird is more than what’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

In fact, some people are so thrilled to see turkeys in and around Acadia that they post photos, videos and statistics on the Internet, whether the birds are spotted after a hike, during an RV vacation, on a nature tour or by the side of the road.

tom turkey struts like peacock

Male wild turkey struts like a peacock and wiggles the wattle under its beak to attract hens (Photo courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife)

Even Michael J. Good, a Registered Maine Guide in Bar Harbor who takes people on birding adventures through his company Down East Nature Tours, gets excited by turkey sightings.

“If I see wild turkey I always STOP and let my clients experience the birds,” Good says in an e-mail, in response to an interview request. “If males are gobbling, I always answer back so we can hear their fascinating call. I always count them when I see them.”

During the first 9 months of this year, 60 wild turkeys were counted by Down East Nature Tours, according to the company’s Facebook page. Scores of other turkeys were counted on Mount Desert Island over the same time period, bringing the 2014 total through September to more than 110 as entered into the eBird database, a project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

There’s something about turkeys that makes people go wild for them in and around Acadia. Continue reading