Fall migration is an exciting time, for birds, and for the striking colors of fall foliage. To take advantage of this wonderful time of year, one of the easiest thing you can do is go outside and just take a walk. Whether you’re looking for birds or not, Sears Island is a wonderful place to get outside. Sears Island gained attention in 2003, when a gas company wanted to use the island for their facility. When the residents of Searsport heard about the possible plans, they quickly reacted. They formed concerned citizen groups, lobbied, and wrote letters to local politicians. All of their work paid off and Governor Baldacci allowed the island to be handed off into the control of the brand new non-profit Friends Of Sears Island (FOSI). Since then, FOSI has made and maintained trails, created an informational kiosk, and installed steps down to the beach. All in all, Sears Island is a loved nature preserve by many people. For more information about FOSI, visit their website: https://friendsofsearsisland.org
When you arrive, please note that cars are not allowed past the green gate blocking the road. Once you park, you can start walking. When I visit Sears Island, I prefer to move at almost a snail crawl, stopping whenever I see movement. There are lots of trails that shoot off of the side, but birding down the main, paved road is equally as productive. Some of the most common birds that you can find at the edge of the forest closest to the road are warblers, vireos, and songbirds. They often stop at this end of the island to rest before flying to the mainland. If it is your first time birding here, or if you want to bird, but don’t know where, I highly recommend Derek Lovitch’s guide book Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide. It details over 200 of the best birding sites in Maine, with information on how to get there, when to get there, and what birds to expect.
When you’re walking, you can expect to see warbler and chickadees hopping through the trees. Sparrows and thrushes are frequently found on the road foraging. Deeper into the forest, you can expect finches, vireos, warbler, and waxwings eating berries for a snack. Some of the most dependable birds in the fall are American Redstarts and Chestnut-sided Warblers. On eBird alone, there have been 218 species seen here! That’s quite a list! You can also expect to see water birds such as Herring Gulls, Common Loons, Osprey, or Bald Eagle. Overall, Sears Island is a birding opportunity that should not be missed!