Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park is unique in Maine. Technically, it is a state park. But when Anita Harris donated 1,230 acres to the state in 1971, her vision of a sanctuary unaltered by modern park facilities was honored. The network of old roads, paths, and animal trails is good for birding. There are a variety of ponds, marshes, forests, and shoreline that can take a full day to explore.
Maps and a local bird checklist are available at the visitor's center.
From Cape Rosier Road watch for the signs and turn right onto Back Road, then right again onto Indian Bar Road. Check Smith Cove for bald eagles, ospreys, great blue herons, and bay ducks. The fringes of the parking lot and grassy margins should offer such warblers as American redstart, chestnut-sided, northern parula, and black-throated green. Backshore Trail near the beginning of Indian Bar Road leads through old fields to another section of the shoreline on Penobscot Bay.
The quick hike to the summit of Backwoods Mountain passes through wooded uplands filled with woodland warblers, thrushes, woodpeckers, and ruffed grouse. Panoramic views wait at the top. The Mountain Loop trail that circumnavigates the slopes is relatively easy and provides many of the same birding experiences.
The Beaver Flowage Trail is easy but often wet. There are small parking areas on the north and south sides of the flowage. American redstarts and chestnut-sided warblers work the secondary growth. Yellow warblers inhabit the open areas. Yellow-rumped, northern parula, black-throated green, and black-and-white warblers occupy the forest edge. Canada warblers nest in the low thickets bordering the wet areas. Song sparrows in the dry grass yield to swamp sparrows in the wet grass. Marsh wrens nest in the cattails. American black ducks, wood ducks, and teal are sometimes visible in the open water areas.
The Goose Pond Estuary contains a salt marsh that is home to common goldeneyes and belted kingfishers. The natural ledges are made of volcanic ash rock, but the “mountain” was created by a copper mine that used to operate here. In season, note the abundance of sea lavender.
There are two trails that lead to Fresh Pond, of which the Aaron Trail is the more strenuous. Explore the woods and old homestead fields before checking the pond for waterfowl. Canada warblers may be found in thickets near wet areas. Blackburnian warblers prefer the mature tree stands.
Directions: From Route 176 in Brooksville, turn north onto Cape Rosier Road. Proceed 1.5 miles and watch for a small sign that indicates the right turn onto Back Road. Continue less than a mile and turn right again onto Indian Bar Road.
Harborside, ME 04642
GPS: 44.357748, -68.780594