News

Hog Island Happenings - July 01, 2024

A magical sunrise on Hog Island.
A magical sunrise on Hog Island. Photo: Blair Clark

Programming

Teen campers departing Eastern Egg Rock.
Teen campers departing Eastern Egg Rock. Photo: Joshua Potter

June has flown by in the blink of an eye! Wonderful memories were made during camps filled with enthusiastic bird and nature lovers. Campers experienced stunning views of Monhegan Island during Spring Migration & Monhegan, explored the birds and geology of Harbor Island during Joy of Birding, and banded songbirds on Allen Island during Field Ornithology. To top it off, teens with Coastal Maine Bird Studies and adults with Puffin Islands got to land on Eastern Egg Rock, meet the seabird research team, and see puffins and nesting terns up close!

A Northern Parula about to be banded oh Hog Island.
A Northern Parula about to be banded oh Hog Island. Photo: Adrien Currier

Highlights from the past few weeks include breathtaking sights and sounds on and around Hog Island; a black-throated green warbler nest has been discovered along the peninsula trail, the melodies of hermit thrush drift through the evening air, and of course our resident Ospreys, Skiff and Dory, are working to raise two chicks on their nest above the mainland boathouse. Many campers were treated to close-up views of colorful warblers during bird banding demonstrations from instructors Sara Morris, Scott Weidensaul, Emma Rhodes, and Anthony Hill. On the mainland, many of our favorite trips featured Bobolinks nesting at Great Salt Bay Farm and ended with an ice cream celebration at Round Top in Damariscotta. During our teen sessions, campers explored the tidepools around Midden Cove and learned to look closely to find all sorts of living creatures. Especially exciting discoveries included several barnacle-eating dorids (types of sea slug), northern pipefish, and an american eel!

Friends of Hog Island Plaque
On the summer solstice, Friends of Hog Island, Audubon staff, and campers all joined together to recognize Founding President and former Executive Director of Friends of Hog Island, Juanita Roushdy. With Juanita at the helm of FOHI, the organization raised over two million dollars, donated more than 75,000 volunteer hours to support the camp’s operations, and supported initiatives like the solarization of Hog Island and the raising of the Queen Mary. Photo: Friends of Hog Island

Moments in Nature

A bird banding demonstration on Allen Island.
A bird banding demonstration on Allen Island. Photo: Santi Tabares Erices

We’ve had many wonderful encounters with the natural world so far this summer. At dawn, campers watched migrating warblers land in flocks on Monhegan Island. After dusk, we explored fascinating moths and insects drawn to a light sheet on Hog Island. In early June, we were visited the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder during an active alewife harvest! Campers got to see and photograph fish swimming up the historic ladder, gulls and eagles feasting on fish, and the harvest in action. Fish were first funneled into a holding pen, then raised up to a chute and pushed directly into the baskets of waiting fisherman, who use the alewives as lobster bait.

Teen campers learn about banding tern chicks on Eastern Egg Rock.
Teen campers learn about banding tern chicks on Eastern Egg Rock. Photo: Mik Oyler

As always, trips to Eastern Egg Rock have been rewarding and life-changing. We’ve seen all three tern species (Common, Arctic, and Roseate) that nest on the island, as well as Herring Gulls, Black Guillemots, and the always popular, Atlantic Puffins! Razorbills, Common Eider, Purple Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, and even Common Murres have also been seen visiting the island. To stay updated with the birds we encounter on all our birding adventures, be sure to follow us on eBird @auduboncamp.

Eastern Meadow Vole
Eastern Meadow Vole. Photo: Matthew Krohn

Back on Hog Island, small, round, fuzzy visitors have been paying frequent visits to the grass around our bird feeders and attracting much love and attention from campers. These adorable creatures, known as eastern meadow voles, create tunnels through the grass and scurry back and forth nibbling on many species of grasses, sedges, flowers, and other species of plants. Campers during our Coastal Maine Bird Studies sessions excitedly gathered around to watch voles at all times of the day, especially during meals when one especially brave vole came out in plain sight and showed no fear of being surrounded by campers with cameras and phones. 

Please note: All birds are handled with proper training and permitting.

Salad Season in the Hog Island Kitchen

It’s been an especially warm June. To help campers beat the heat, we’ve been offering robust salads to accompany meals. Recent favorites, like the Cantaloupe, Tarragon and Pepita Salad found below, have incorporated fruits, seeds, cheeses, and herbs from our garden. We hope you enjoy this taste of Hog Island!

Cantaloupe, Tarragon & Pepita Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 bunch tarragon
  • 8 ounces salty cheese (we used Balfour Farms Gouda), diced
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1 box baby greens
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • balsamic vinaigrette

Optional Add Ins: prosciutto, croutons, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken

Directions

  • Cut a cantaloupe in half. Scoop out the seeds. Place the cantaloupe flat side down and cut the rind off. Cut into bite-sized cubes
  • Pick tarragon leaves off the stem
  • Toss the cantaloupe, tarragon, cheese, pepitas, greens, and shallots together
  • Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and serve!

This salad comes together easily and the tarragon is an unexpected delight. The salad can be prepared up to a day in advance (dress just before serving).

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