Explore the beautiful grassland and pitch pine/scrub oak woodlands of the Kennebunk Plains!
The Kennebunk Plains (or Blueberry Barrens, as the locals call it) is a truly unique place and is considered a premier birding hotspot. It is one of the last large grassland ecosystems remaining in southern Maine, and it is home to species of birds that are considered rare or endangered in Maine, including Grasshopper Sparrows, Upland Sandpipers, Vesper Sparrows and Horned Larks. In fact, Maine's largest breeding population of Grasshopper Sparrows breeds here (more than 20 pairs)! The Pitch Pine/Scrub Oak surroundings and brushy hedgerows are also home to Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Brown Thrashers, Prairie Warblers, Eastern Towhees, and Field Sparrows, to name a few. In the summertime, American Kestrels can be seen hovering above the grass during the day, and at night, one can hear Common Nighthawks calling and Eastern Whip-poor-wills loudly singing.
In late summer, the Plains are painted purple by the spectacular blooms of the Northern Blazing Star - a wildflower that is found nowhere else in Maine. The Kennebunk Plains holds the largest population of this plant on earth (over 80 percent of the world's Northern Blazing Star grows here). Other common plants on the preserve include Lowbush Blueberries, Poverty Grass, and Little Bluestem. Only one of two known populations of Black Racer Snakes in the state can also be found here.
LOGISTICS: Dress in layers and wear good walking shoes. Bring the following: a bagged lunch, bug spray, sunblock, a hat, binoculars, camera (optional), and notebook (optional). If you do not have binoculars, MYBC will provide you with a pair. Note: Ticks are incredibly bad this year so come prepared with tick preventative measures. We will discuss some techniques to help prevent ticks prior to our walk.
We will meet in the Kennebunk Plains parking lot on Webber Hill Road at 8:00 am. If you wish to carpool and live in southern Maine, meet Seth at the Biddeford Park & Ride (across from Walmart) at 7:35 am, or with Marion at the Westbrook P&R at 7:00 am. We intend to be out until 1:00 pm.