Tag Archives: precipice-trail

Five peregrine falcon chicks fly at Acadia, but one nest fails

UPDATE 8/01/2017: Park today announces that trails associated with the Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and Valley Cove will reopen on Thursday, Aug. 3, after five peregrine falcon chicks fledged this year — down from 11 in 2016. Trails were closed on March 17.

Five peregrine falcon checks have fledged at nests at two sites in Acadia National Park this year, but for unknown reasons a nest failed at a third site that has yielded chicks in recent years, a biologist at the park said Friday.

peregrine falcon chick

Acadia National Park wildlife biologist Bruce Connery holds a peregrine chick that has just been lowered from its scrape, or nest, for banding. (NPS photo)

Bruce Connery, wildlife biologist at Acadia, said there was a pair of adult falcons at Jordan Cliffs and it is believed they started a nest but then one of the adults disappeared around the middle of June, and the nest failed. Connery said he does not know why the nest at the Jordan Cliffs failed but he said it was not related to the chicks or the nesting.

“My guess would be that one of the adults either left or was killed by a predator like a great horned owl,” Connery said.

On the positive side, the peregrine falcon chicks at the Precipice and Valley Cove have been flying since about July 1, and seemed alert and healthy when they were spotted by researchers, he said. At least one chick at each of the two sites was flying before the others, he said. “They are all flying now and they are doing great,” he said.

Three peregrine falcon chicks fledged at the Precipice and two at Valley Cove, he said.

The park usually waits for the peregrine falcon chicks to fly for five weeks before reopening trails, including the wildly popular Precipice Trail, that are closed in the early spring each year to protect the nesting falcons and chicks. The trails opened July 29 last year and usually open by early August each year.

peregrine falcon chicks

Peregrine falcon chick being banded in Acadia National Park this year. (Photo courtesy of Erin Wheat)

Connery said the nest failure at the Jordan Cliffs was disappointing because the birds were there and everything seemed to be going along pretty well.

“It would be more understandable if we knew what caused it to fail,” he said, such as the male being attracted to another place.

“We just know we started seeing only one adult …. There was no real rhyme or reason to why it happened.”

Male and female adult peregrines both play vital roles in nesting. Females usually lay eggs in early spring and females incubate the eggs while males hunt and bring food to their mates, according to the web site of the Chesapeake Bay Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Researchers at Acadia don’t know if it was the male or female adult peregrine that disappeared because the feathers of both sexes are mostly similar, but Connery said he would guess that it was the male that left or was killed.

Connery said he was pretty positive it was a “natural event” that caused the nest to fail. He said there is no evidence that human interference was a factor in the nest failure.

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Running pioneer has deep roots in Acadia hiking

One in a series about Acadia National Park hiking trails

Robin Emery is well known in Maine as a trailblazer and champion in women’s running, but many people may not be aware of her deep connections to Acadia National Park hiking.

acadia national park hiking

When asked to act like she owned Emery Path, Robin Emery cheerfully obliged, and kiddingly said she’s charging a small hiking fee to benefit the family.

Emery, 70, a teacher in Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School, has hiked in the park since she was a teenager, including along a namesake trail, Emery Path. Emery is so familiar with the Acadia backcountry that when asked to identify a photo of a path from virtually anywhere in the park, she can almost always correctly say where it was taken.

“I have been all over these mountains,” she said.

During a recent sunny afternoon, she paused at the sign to Emery Path, located off the Sieur de Monts Spring parking lot, before a trek from Emery to Schiff Path and to the peak of Dorr Mountain.

“If you guys want to come, it is going to be a small fee,” she joked with a couple of friends at the trailhead. “The Emery family will get the proceeds.”

She said it’s “awesome” that a trail has her name, but she did not know that it was recently returned to its historic name of Emery Path, after being known as the Dorr Mountain East Face Trail. Emery said she does not research the history of the Acadia National Park hiking trails and generally does not know their names. She just knows where they lead.

acadia national park hiking

One of Robin Emery’s favorite views, of Dorr, Cadillac and Kebo, as seen from inside her car.

The memorial path is named after John Josiah Emery, whose 1895 “cottage,” known as the Turrets, is now owned by the College of the Atlantic. But it’s unclear if there’s a long-lost family connection, according to her cousin John, the keeper of the family geneaology that dates back to 1649.

Emery moved back to Maine in 2000 to live year-round after teaching in Massachusetts for nine years and said she feels a powerful connection with the state and Mount Desert Island. On the drive to Sieur de Monts, she advises friends to “get ready” before stopping her car near the intersection of Kebo Street and the Park Loop Road and pointing to three prominent mountains framed on the horizon.

“That is my favorite view on the whole island, almost, right here. That is Dorr, Cadillac and Kebo.” Continue reading

The peregrine falcon has “great” year in Acadia, 11 chicks fly

UPDATE 7/29/2016: Park today announces reopening of Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and parts of Valley Cove Trails, and closure of 1-mile section of Valley Cove Trail between Flying Mountain and Man o’ War Brook because of deteriorating trail conditions.

A biologist at Acadia National Park said several popular hiking trails at Acadia National Park should open by early next week, following “a great” year for the peregrine falcon at the park.

Peregrine falcon chick

A peregrine falcon chick is held for banding in the spring (Photo by Keith Wozniak/Acadia National Park)

Bruce Connery, wildlife biologist at Acadia, said 11 peregrine falcon chicks fledged, or took their first flight, at the park’s three main nesting sites this year. That’s up from 7 for each of the prior two years at those sites.

He said the peregrine falcon nests at the Precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain and Jordan Cliffs each produced four fledged falcons and the nest at Valley Cove, three.

“It is great,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “We usually have good success at one site, sometimes two. It is a rare to have that kind of success at three sites.”

He said there was also a chick of the peregrine falcon at Ironbound Island this year with a photo taken by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. The park holds a conservation easement on Ironbound, a privately owned island in Frenchman Bay.

Sign for closing Orange & Black Path for the peregrine falcon

This trail closure sign on the Orange & Black Path, shown in early July, will soon be coming down.

The Precipice Trail, the Jordan Cliffs Trail, part of the Orange & Black Path and the Valley Cove Trail, which were closed early this spring to protect the falcon chicks, should all open maybe this weekend or by early next week, he said. The trails usually do open in early August every year.

The park has not officially announced the date for reopening the trails and trail crews still need to approve some trail sections for safety reasons for hikers, he said. The park announced the trail closures in March. Continue reading

Endangered falcons take the stage at Acadia National Park

Endangered falcons gave birth to 11 chicks this year at Acadia National Park and now are putting on a show for hundreds of visitors to the park.

endangered falcons

Park Ranger Andrew Wolfgang shows visitors the location of the endangered falcons and their nest during peregrine watch in Acadia National Park.

On Saturday alone, about 160 people stopped to catch the action of  the state-listed endangered falcons  at a “peregrine watch” site in the Precipice Trail parking area below a nest high on the east face of Champlain Mountain.

“We got a bird up,” said Park Ranger Andrew Wolfgang, pointing to the cliffs when one of the endangered falcons flew back to the nest after a brief absence. “It’s a really nice look at an adult in this scope right now.”

Wolfgang and Samuel Ruano, a peregrine falcon interpretive guide and raptor intern, supervised the use of two spotting scopes that allow visitors some excellent views of the peregrine falcons. Wolfgang and Ruano also spoke frequently to visitors about the history of the peregrines in the park and the need to temporarily close popular hiking trails to give the nestlings time to mature.

With the scopes, visitors could clearly see a peregrine falcon perched upright on the cliff face outside the nest or even the nestlings themselves.

“Amazing,” said Keith Spencer, a grade 7 English teacher in the public schools of Everett, MA, after he looked through the scope and saw a falcon. Continue reading

Look, up on the Precipice of Acadia – peregrine falcons!

UPDATE 8/6/15: The Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and Valley Cove Trails opened today, according to the official park news release.

While we wait for the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park to reopen any day now, and as a follow-up to our blog post on the 7 peregrine falcon chicks that fledged this year, here are some never-before publicized photos of peregrine falcons, taken by Erickson Smith, biological science technician with the park.

peregrine falcon

One of the female peregrine falcon chicks banded this year in Acadia National Park, on the Precipice of Champlain Mountain. Looks cute and fluffy now, but once mature will dive after prey at more than 100 miles per hour. (NPS Photo / Erickson Smith)

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7 peregrine falcon chicks fledge at Acadia National Park

UPDATE 8/6/15: Precipice, Jordan Cliffs and Valley Cove Trails reopened.

UPDATE 7/31/15: Statistics provided by the park state that in 2014, there were 9 peregrine falcon chicks hatched at Acadia including 1 chick at Jordan Cliffs, 2 at Ironbound Island, 4 at the Precipice and 2 at Valley Cove.

A biologist at Acadia National Park said he is pleased that 7 peregrine falcon chicks fledged at the park this year and that popular hiking trails in the nesting areas should reopen around the first week of August.

peregrine falcon chick

Park wildlife biologist, Bruce Connery, holds a peregrine chick that was lowered from its scrape, or nest, for banding, in this file photo. (NPS photo)

Bruce Connery, wildlife biologist at Acadia, said the Precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain is now home to three fledged peregrine falcon chicks; the Jordan Cliffs, two; and Valley Cove cliffs above Somes Sound, also two.

The Precipice Trail, the Jordan Cliffs Trail, part of the Orange & Black Path and the Valley Cove Trail, which were closed early this spring to protect the peregrine falcon chicks, should all open in early August as is usual each year following the falcon nesting season, he said.

The park has not officially announced the date for reopening the trails and still needs to check some trail sections for safety reasons for hikers, he said.

“We are still watching chicks,” he added. “They are getting to be pretty good fliers but they still have a ways to go. They still all come back to the cliff every night. They are dependent on it. They seem to still be pretty much in a group dynamic. They go off for a little bit, but an hour later they will be back perched within 20 to 50 feet from each other. That cliff is still important to them.”

peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon on the cliffs of Champlain Mountain this spring, with the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park closed until early August. (NPS photo from Acadia National Park Facebook page)

He said the number of fledged chicks is around average for the park.

“It is right in the middle,” he said. “It’s pretty much what we should hope for and expect.”

Unlike last year, Connery said, no peregrine falcon chicks were likely born this year on Ironbound Island, which is located in the park’s legislative area and is protected with a park conservation easement.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “Some people said they saw them but we never saw them. We were only out four times. If you pick the wrong day, you could be off. I don’t know. It seems odd we would not have seen them if they had chicks but it is possible.”

Also, there were no peregrine falcon chicks on the Beech Cliffs above Echo Lake, a fifth location where falcons have nested in the past.

According to Erickson Smith, biological science technician at the park, there were 9 peregrine falcon chicks hatched at Acadia in 2014 including 1 chick at Jordan Cliffs, 2 at Ironbound Island, 4 at the Precipice and 2 at Valley Cove.
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Dogs have best friend in Acadia National Park

When Nicole Ramos hikes in Acadia National Park, she is elated she can bring Lucy, her Jack Russell Terrier.

Nicole Ramos likes to hike in Acadia with her Jack Russell Terrier

Nicole Ramos hikes in Acadia National Park with Lucy, her Jack Russell Terrier.

Otherwise, she is unsure of what she would do. “I’d probably be disappointed and maybe have to go somewhere else,” said Ramos, 35, of Camden, Me., while starting a hike with Lucy along the Asticou & Jordan Pond Path in Acadia.

Of the 59 national parks, Acadia is in the minority in keeping dogs and owners together on hiking trails. In fact, Acadia is among only a few national parks – Shenandoah in Virginia is another – that allow dogs and other pets on trails, as long as they are leashed, according to the National Park Service.

When they plan a trip to Acadia, dog owners are generally happy to discover that they don’t need to leave their pets at home or place them in a kennel if they want to hike.

Todd Long and his two dogs in Acadia National Park.

Todd Long is shown walking on Cadillac Mountain with his two Jack Russell Terriers, Chelsea and Daisy. Long and his dogs visited Acadia National Park for the first time.

“I couldn’t put them in a kennel,” said Todd Long, a water well service contractor from Brevard, N.C., who was walking on the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail with Chelsea and Daisy, his two Jack Russell Terriers, during his first-ever visit to Acadia.

“They are too spoiled. They are used to being with me,” said Long.

(See Acadia on My Mind’s new page for Top 5 hikes for dogs)

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Peregrine falcons cap great year at Acadia National Park

A biologist with Acadia National Park said it was “a great year” for nesting peregrine falcons at the park.

peregrine falcon chick

Park wildlife biologist, Bruce Connery, holds a peregrine chick that has just been lowered from its scrape, or nest, for banding. Acadia National Park photo and caption.

Bruce Connery said peregrine falcons raised chicks that fledged at four sites including Jordan Cliffs, the precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain, Valley Cove cliffs above Somes Sound and privately-owned Ironbound Island in Frenchman Bay, an island where the park holds a conservation easement.

“It’s great to have that kind of recruitment into the overall Maine population,” Connery said. “We had a great year. We have to be thankful for that.”

Connery attributed the success to a spring with low amounts of rain or snow. Damp or wet springs can be a problem for the eggs of birds that nest early including falcons and eagles, he said.

It might be the first time that particular combination of four sites was home to peregrine fledglings, he added.

“It seems to vary year by year,” he said. Continue reading

Acadia National Park is hoping for 4 sites where falcon chicks fledge

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — For the first time, Acadia National Park this year could be home to four sites where the chicks of four pairs of peregrine falcons successfully fledge.

peregrine watch at Acadia National Park

During “peregrine watch” at Acadia National Park, Patrick Kark, right, with hat, helps a visitor spot a nesting falcon on the cliffs on the east face of Champlain Mountain.

The chicks of peregrine falcons have successfully fledged, or flown, at three sites in the past but never four, according to officials at the park.

The falcons have nested at four sites in the past.

Nest sites this year have been confirmed on the precipice on the east face of Champlain Mountain, at Jordan Cliffs above Jordan Pond and at the Valley Cove Cliffs above Somes Sound. Continue reading