Eight guests had signed up for an exclusive “cooking adventure” at Ann’s Point Inn in Bass Harbor, Maine. Working alongside Chef James Lindquist of Red Sky Restaurant, they were preparing the evening’s menu: dumplings filled with just-picked mushrooms, steamed clams and mussels over freshly made pasta, halibut with a triple citrus beurre blanc, and lobster steamed in seawater and seaweed collected outside the inn. After Chef Lindquist deboned and skinned the halibut, he suggested they lay the skin out on a large rock near the shoreline. As if on cue, a majestic eagle swooped down to participate in the enjoyment of the evening’s delicacies – ensuring this “cooking adventure” was worthy of its name.
The eagles you see on your next trip to Acadia National Park may not be quite this “up close and personal,” but, if you plan your itinerary to prioritize wildlife viewing, you are likely to bring back photos—and memories—of eagles and much more. Acadia National Park protects over 40,000 acres on the beautiful and remote destination of Mount Desert Island, thus preserving the homes and habitats of dazzling birds, mammals, and other wildlife.
Don’t leave home without your binoculars. Considered one of the premier bird-watching areas in the country, Acadia has logged a record of 338 bird species, according to the National Park Service. Twenty-three species of warblers alone have been recorded as breeding in the park!
Eagle sightings have been common on the kayaking trips in Frenchman Bay and boat cruises to Frenchboro that I’ve taken during trips to Acadia National Park. In addition, when we kayak in Somes Sound, we paddle to a spot where we regularly see eagles.
Peregrine falcons are also an important species on the list. In the 1980s, Acadia National Park participated in a cooperative management plan to restore this endangered species. Today, when you scan the sky near the Precipice or Beech Cliffs, you can see the recovered peregrines diving to attack prey at a wondrous speed that can approach miles per hour.
You’ll spot cormorants, terns, and loons, too. As we were biking on our way from Eagle Lake to Witch Hole Pond, we spotted this majestic Great Blue Heron atop a beaver lodge.
Ranger-led bird walks take place between late spring and mid-fall. In addition, volunteers join the National Park Service in the fall to count the migrating hawks.
Seals and harbor porpoises are also common sightings on boat excursions around Acadia. You’re likely to see both harbor seals, as well as grey seals in the Gulf of Maine.
One morning, as we crossed the sandbar between Bar Harbor and Bar Island, we spotted this lost seal pup, which was ultimately rescued thanks to the College of the Atlantic’s program dedicated to marine animal preservation.
As exciting as it is to encounter a seal pup, you should never underestimate the appeal of a marsh full of frogs to a child.
And a boat cruise to retrieve wonders of the deep may end up intriguing not only children, but hard-to-impress adolescents.
Before we leave this topic, we return to Ann’s Point Inn, the site of the epicurean eagle, to answer the question, “How likely is it that we will see a moose on a visit to Acadia National Park?” According to the National Park Service, they do exist in the park, but are rarely seen. However, one morning guests looked out on the same shoreline where the eagle had landed to see this interloper.