May 21, 2018
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Well-known birder takes reins as BDN columnist

By John Holyoke, BDN Staff

You’ll hear no hunting stories from me today. I’ve yet to have any close encounters of the venison kind this fall (big surprise, eh?), and there are a few important matters to address.

First and foremost, I’m excited to announce an addition to our Outdoors pages that I’m confident you’ll enjoy — a new freelance bird columnist.

Birds, you may know, are serious business. If you doubt that, do what I did once (or more than once): Publish a bird photo in the newspaper with a caption that misidentifies the species of bird. The result, I can tell you, is not pretty.

Birders know their stuff, you see. And if you mess up, you’ll likely hear from dozens of irate bird-watchers who want to set the record straight.

Luckily, the columnist joining us comes with quite a resume. You might even say he wrote the book on birding in Maine… because he did. Drumroll please … meet Bob Duchesne.

Of course, if you’re an avid birder in these parts, you’ve likely already heard of Duchesne, spoken to him, visited his website or read his book. Duchesne is the founder of the Maine Birding Trail ( and author of a book of the same name.

In addition, he’s an accomplished guide for fellow birders, and is serving his fourth term as a member of the Maine House of Representatives representing Hudson.

Three times a month, we’ll print Duchesne’s columns in our weekend edition, and he says he’ll likely focus on four different components of bird-watching.

Some weeks, he’ll give you tips. Sometimes he’ll provide trip reports and tell you about interesting bird sightings. He’ll also let you know about some prime birding locations, when possible, and will keep you informed about various birding events that you’ll want to know about.

Simply put, we’re happy to have Duchesne on board, and think he’ll be a fantastic addition to our crew.

Sarnacki blog up and running

As I told you last weekend, we here at the BDN have really begun focusing on offering content through blogs on our website. Some of our blogs are written by you — our readers. Others are written by established bloggers looking to reach the audience that can provide.

And still others are written by BDN staffers… like me.

And like Aislinn Sarnacki. Earlier this week we went live with her blog, which we’re calling Act Out With Aislinn. You can find it at

According to her job description, Aislinn is a reporter for our Living section. Thankfully, we’ve got her on loan to the Outdoors desk for a weekly feature story and a weekly hiking video that we call “One-Minute Hikes.”

In her blog, Aislinn will take you along on some of her adventures, which generally involve hiking boots or snowshoes, forests and mountains. A self-described “wilderness romper and fashion-forward bookworm,” she’s also an avid photographer and videographer, so her blog promises to be full of great images.

And while we’re talking about blogs, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank everyone who took the time to check out my new offering, “Out There,” which debuted a week ago. Thousands of you dropped by, several left comments, and a few others got in touch by email with suggestions and tales of your own. I appreciate that.

Finally, let me assure you that we’re not done adding blogs: If you’re an aspiring blogger who wants to be read by thousands, stop by our site ( and pitch your idea. We may well have a home for you.

Fly Tying Symposium on tap

If you’re free on Sunday and want to pick the brains of some of the best fly tiers around, you may want to stop by the Brewer Auditorium, where the Penobscot Fly Fishers are staging their annual Fly Tying Symposium.

Whether you’re interested in taking up tying as a hobby or you’re a veteran tier looking for a few tips, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at the symposium. A total of 28 experienced tiers are signed up to attend, tie and teach.

The great thing about this show is that it’s a low-key affair; you’re apt to end up in a 15-minute conversation and end up with a new fishing buddy. At many other shows, everybody’s out to sell you something, while symposium vendors are all about education.

The show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Brewer Auditorium. Admission is free, a concession stand will be up and running and beef stew will be available for purchase at lunchtime.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

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