Photo by Aislinn Sarnacki. Yellow-bellied sapsucker at Caribou Bog Conservation Area on June 4, 2014.

After visiting someone in Orono for an upcoming story, I decided to stop by the Orono Bog Conservation Area, which is located at off the gravel Taylor Road (off Forest Avenue). I wasn’t planning on heading out on any of the trails. It was more of a patrol for wildlife. Several ponds are located near the conservation area’s parking lot, and they’re home to a variety of birds and other wildlife.

It was sprinkling, off and on, but it was sort of refreshing after several days of heat and sun. Right away, I heard the high-pitched trill of a red-winged blackbird, followed by the loud call (sort of like a moan or moo) of a bullfrog. (If you want to hear either of the calls, just click on the links.)

Birds were everywhere. Some I could identify, some I could not. Some I managed to capture a good photo of, some I certainly did not. For example, I spooked a large brown wading bird out of the cattails along the edge of one of the ponds, and I was too surprised to take a decent photo. It flew across the pond and settled into the cattails on the other end, well away from me. I’m curious about what it could be, so I’ll have to return and be more stealthy.

The Canada geese, however, didn’t seem to mind my presence all that much. In fact, as long as I kept my distance, they appeared to be sort of curious, stretching their necks to look in my direction. Among the adult geese, I counted four little squadrons of chicks, and boy were they cute. Compared to the geese chicks I saw in southern Maine a few weeks ago, these chicks were much bigger, their necks longer. It’s neat to see them at different stages of growth.

Then I was lucky enough to have a heron fly across the pond and land in the cattails not far from me. At the time, I was photographing a yellow-bellied sapsucker, which had attracted me to its tree with its loud mewing. It’s so difficult to describe a call. To my ear, the sapsucker sounded a bit like a dog’s squeaky toy. Check out the sound here.

Anyway, the heron didn’t stay long. As soon as I swung my camera in its direction, it spotted me and gracefully lifted into the sky to fly back across the pond, its long legs dangling behind it.

Here are the photos from the short wildlife patrol (I couldn’t get enough of the geese):

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...