Going to Maine

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Oct 24, 2006
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Valley Forge, PA
I'll be in Maine in a couple weeks and I was wondering if there were any "hot spots" for wildlife. We rented a log home on Green Lake, about 30 minutes from Bar Harbor. I've been there before (YEARS ago) and I am definitely going to Acadia. However, I would love to get a shot of a moose, maybe even a bull. Any suggestions?
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
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Westchester County, NY
If you want to see moose, head to Baxter Park (inland from Bar Harbor). That is unquestionably the most likely place to encounter a moose in Maine. You can see moose anywhere in the state, but in my experience, your chances multiply if you around Baxter. By the way, Maine is a huge state geographically and the drive from downeast (Bar Harbor) is a pretty fair distance. Also - Baxter area is pretty desolate. Food and lodging are no where near as prevelant in interior Maine.

If you want to increase your chances of seeing moose dramatically, the place to go is Pittsburg, NH. Pittsburg is on the extreme northeast corner of NH where NH meets Maine (the western edge of Maine) and Canada. There is a 10 mile stretch of Rt 3 in Pittsburg knicknamed "Moose Alley" for good reason. I have been in Pittsburg 5 or 6 times and have never not seen at least 4 or 5 moose (ofter more) every time.

The only problem with Pittsburg is that while seeing moose may be a pretty safe bet, having them available to photograph in decent light is another matter. During the day, they are harder to stuble across. But in the early morning at first light and in the early evening just after sunset, they seem to be everywhere. You can just cruise up and down the road for the 10 to 15 mile stretch and see them grazing in the salt marshes besides the road.

this time of year, if you do see a bull moose, it will likely not have a fully developed rack and will have full velvet on it. If you visit there in late august and through September (especially during the rut), you can often get a glimpse of a bull with a full rack without the velvet. These are the "money shots", but bulls are generally less adventurous near the road than the cows and the calves and if you want to see them, you need to think about driving off the road down the fire trails or logging trails and just hang nearby the water's edge.

And - do not mess with a moose. they may look cute and harmless, but they can be mean suckers, especially if you come across a cow with a calf or a bull who is horny during the rut. Moose have terrible eyesight, but they can hear you and smell you and are definitely faster than you are on foot. Just a word to the wise.

If you want to read about finding moose, google Bill Silliker and get one of his books on looking for moose. He was the undisputed Moose expert for the Northeast until his untimely death a few years back.
 
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Just thought of a few more points I didn't think to include in my prior reply. First - if you are not up for the drive to see moose, then may I recommend that you check out Machias Seal Island. This island is a relatively short drive east of Bar Harbor, just off the coast from Jonestown. There is a guy there named Norton (the son runs it now; I went the first time many years back with his father, Barna) who runs a tour boat to the island to see the atlantic puffins. The island is a tiny place where you land and walk a short distance with a few other visitors (number of guests tightly controlled) to a group of blinds where you get really close to thousands (literally) of these amazingly photogenic creatures. First time I went, I had my 300/2.8 and I found that I used my 28-70 and 70-200 way more frequently. that is how close you are. It is a fabulous photshoot. Place it high on your list.

http://www.machiassealisland.com/

As for Pittsburg and the moose:

If there, look into staying at Tall Timbers Lodge or The Glens in Pittburgh. The 2 best lodges in the area - directly off of Moose Alley with clean, comfortable rooms and good chow. Like Baxter, there is not a lot of other places to eat or sleep in that neighborhood. And if you like boating, Rt. 3 in Pittsburgh runs along the 3 Connecticut Lakes which are just gorgeous.

http://www.northcountrychamber.org/MooseWatching.htm

For Bill Silliker:

http://www.amazon.com/Maine-Moose-Watchers-Guide-Silliker/dp/1565400852/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215391145&sr=1-5

http://www.amazon.com/Moose-Giants-Northern-Bill-Silliker/dp/1552092550/ref=pd_sim_b_1
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
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So Fla
Rich
Rick is right on about moose
esp this time of year, they are northwest of the coast area
there is NO wildlife in Acadia , sorry to say

I just got back yesterday from a week on Mt Desert Island
of course , the scenery and solitude is what I go for, so it doesn't matter

I think in a week I saw, a few deer, a snowshoe hare or two, many crows and even more seagulls

the thing I liked best actually, was the 75 degreee temp and coastal breeze all week

enjoy your trip
 
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
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Valley Forge, PA
Rick, thanks so much for your detailed responses. Other than wildlife, I am really looking forward to photographing the landscapes of Acadia amd the wonderful coastline Maine has to offer. If I don't see Bullwinkle, so be it. I just thought it was worth a shot to ask here. That being said, the puffin shoot sounds great! My mother in law is an avid bird watcher and she may enjoy it as well. I have both a 300 2.8 and the 70-200 so I wil have it covered.

Thanks for the links too. I really appreciate it. It has been a long time since I have been to Maine and I needed the "refresher course".

Frank, I understand the solitude and scenery statement. I do plan photographing the coastline and the town of Bar Harbor. The temperature is also part of our reason we chose Maine. We've been going to the Outer Banks of NC for the past 19 years amd it is always so darn HOT. It was time for a change.

I just hope I come back with some pictures I can share with the Cafe folks.
 
Joined
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One other thought for you. Do a little research on the lighthouses of Maine if you are looking for coastal subjects.

That is my particular favorite along the down east coast. Specifically, have a look at Portland Head, Nubble light, Pemaquid Point and Bass Light. All make for great scenics.

Here is a shot from Pemaquid Point.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
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So Fla
great shot Rick

hopefully you have better morning/ sunset opportunities than I had Rich
every morning and sunset it seems the clouds/ fog made for some challenging conditions

and you will certainly love the cool, fresh air

also if you take the Nature cruise from Bar Harbor, you pass Egg Rock lighthouse with harbor seals a plenty, also might get a few baldies along the tree line or fishing near the seals
 
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
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New England
Hi, Rich -- here's another vote for Machias Seal Island! We went last year and enjoyed it very much (see some puffins in my gallery). Bass Harbor Light is a favorite of mine -- and there are lots of other lighthouses. Sounds like a wonderful trip you have planned ...

Best Regards,
 
Joined
May 20, 2008
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Sarasota, FL
For moose, you could try Rangeley Lake area - particularly the north end of Mooselookmeguntic Lake. About 150 miles from Green Lake, and excellent scenery even if no moose spotted.
 
Joined
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Last time I was there, the Quoddy light was covered with scaffolding. Obviously, you were there after the new paintjob. In the old days, those red stripes weren't nearly as bright and shiny.

Love them stripes.
 
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