Timber Point: Rachel Carson NWR. 10/06/14

Looking at Timber Point from the end of Granite Point Road

Looking at Timber Point from the end of Granite Point Road

It is always wonderful to discover a new place here in Southern Maine to explore, especially as access to public lands is limited in this well developed corner of New England.

A birding couple I met on the beach on Saturday told me about Timber Point and Timber Island trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. They were up for the day from Massachusetts, chasing eBird reports of birds of interest. I live practically next door to Rachel Carson Headquarters, and I had never heard of Timber Point or Timber Island. A little research turned up the facts. It is a new trail and a new property for the NWR system, acquired after a locally organized fund-raising drive that covered the $2 million plus purchase price. It is a point of rocky upland and mixed forest extending out along the ocean side of the Little River across from Goose Rocks Beach and south of Fortunes Rocks. At low tide you can walk out to Timber Island. Local volunteers, along with the Civilian and Youth Construction Corps, built trails and boardwalks as needed and one raised deck overlook, and installed a Tide Clock near the head of the passage to the Island. It is altogether a wonderful spot and one that I will add to my regular round of photoprowls. It was dead high tide when I was there yesterday of course, but I plan to get back there the first sunny day we have at low tide.

All images are with the Sony HX400V. Landscapes are in-camera HDR.

Timber Island from the tip of Timber Point

Timber Island from the tip of Timber Point

There were lots of the typical birds of the Maine fall: Gulls and Cormorants in the water, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrows, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Brown Tree-creeper, Rufus-sided Towhee, Blue Jays, etc. in the trees and marsh…most of which stayed well out of camera range. :) I did manage a few shots. The Brown Creeper was the first I have seen in Southern Maine in at least 10 years.

There were, seemingly, hundreds of chipmunks busy gathering acorns.

I counted 5 species of butterfly: Cabbage White, Clouded Sulfur, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, and Monarch. I was able to photograph all but the Monarch, which came flying across the marsh from the ocean side, down the road a ways to the first opening to the River side, and on out over the water again.

You walk down a shaded lane…the old road to the classic “Rustic” Maine hotel that occupied the point. The building is still there, now owned by the National Wildlife Service, but it is in need of major renovation. Its fate is uncertain, and it is currently out-of-bounds to the visiting public. Along the ocean side of the Lane is an extensive cattail marsh, home, I am sure, to many birds. The lane leads to a patch of rocky upland and a mixed hardwood forest (Timber Point), Then out into narrow meadows along the shore at the tip of the point. From here you have excellent views of the mouth of the Little River, Goose Rocks Beach across the water, Timber Island, and the open ocean beyond.

Cormorant taking flight off Timber Point

Cormorant taking flight off Timber Point

Friday morning is looking good for return trip and a walk out to the island. Look for an update sometime after that. And I am sure these are only the first of many visits to Timber Point and Timber Island in the future.

September Skies: Kennebunk/port Coast

Beach at the mouth of the Mousam River. Sony HX400V in-camera HDR

Beach at the mouth of the Mousam River. Sony HX400V in-camera HDR.

It was one of those perfect September days (just, it was the 3rd) on the coast of Maine. I started the day with a photoprowl to the beach and the Kennebunk Bridle Path along the Mousam River on my bike. I did a lot of processing when I got home, but it was too nice a day to stay in front of the computer, and I back out, up along the coast from Strawberry Island to Cape Arundel and the Bush Estate, on my scooter. On both photoprowls I was carrying the Sony HX400V.

The beach and the sky above it were amazing. The horizon was at its maximum and perfectly clear. High clouds were coming in from the west and piling out over the sea. I used the flip out LCD on the Sony for a variety of low angle shots, and took a few sweep panoramas. These (except for the panorama) are all in-camera HDR shots from the Sony. All are processed for HDR effect in Lightroom.

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Around the corner from the sea, along the course of the Mousam, looking inland was just as spectacular and the sky over Back Creek Marsh and the road to the beach was something special.

 

As I walked along the back side of the dunes, between the dunes and Back Creek, hundreds of dragonflies came up over the dune, coming in off the sea around Great Head Point into a stiff breeze. They were mostly Green Darners, with a few Wandering Gliders and maybe one or two Black Saddlebags. I put the camera in Sports mode and tried for some flight shots. There were also a whole group of Cabbage White Butterflies feeding on the Moth Mullen on the dune. As I was shooting a single butterfly on the flowers, a second did a perfect photo bomb! The butterflies are at the full 1200 equivalent field of view of the zoom on the HX400V, the dragonfly is at about 600mm and cropped.

I continued on my bike to the Kennebunk Bridle Path, which runs along the course of the Mousam River on the other side from the beach. It passes through forest and marsh all the way back to Kennebunk. There is what I call a water meadow on the other side of the path from the river, not far in, where a tidal brook enters the Mousam. The meadow/marsh is always beautiful, in every season, especially with an interesting sky above it. I took some more in-camera HDR shots, and tried both horizontal and vertical sweep panoramas. The horizontal panorama is shot with the camera in portrait orientation for the tall/wide effect. The vertical panorama is difficult to view on your average screen. Click on it to open it in a new window. Click again to expand it to full size if you want to study the detail.

In-camera HDR from the Sony HX400V, processed in Lightroom.

In-camera HDR from the Sony HX400V, processed in Lightroom.

tall/wide panorama using portrait orientation and sweep panorama.

tall/wide panorama using portrait orientation and sweep panorama.

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vertical sweep panoramas catch a lot of sky above the landscape for unique view.

On the way back across the Mousam River I stopped my bike long enough for a shot upriver. I could not actually get off the bike as the margin on the bridge is very narrow and cars were a constant danger, but I got what I needed.

Looking up river from the Rt. 9 bridge on the Mousam.

Looking up river from the Rt. 9 bridge on the Mousam.

Later in the day I decided to take my scooter and ride along the whole stretch of coast from Strawberry Island off Great Head in Kennebunk, to Cape Arundel and the George Bush Estate. The clouds were gathering, and I did not have full sun for some of the ride, but it was still spectacular. I have photographed St. Anne’s Church on Old Fort Point many times, in all kinds of weather.

St. Anne's Church. Kennebunport ME

St. Anne’s Church. Kennebunport ME

The same goes for the Bush Estate on Walker’s Point. I like the flowers here in the foreground. They are planted around the memorial to George Bush Senior, who summered in his wife’s family’s home on the point for most of his adult life.

Walker's Point and the Bush Estate.

Walker’s Point and the Bush Estate.

We will finish up with another vertical sky panorama, looking back over Colony Beach and the mouth of the Kennebunk River into Kennebunkport and Kennebunk.

Big sky over Kennebunkport

Big sky over Kennebunkport