Mt. Blue S.P.

Mt. Blue
Mt. Blue State Park is second only to Baxter State Park as the largest state park in Maine. It contains several hiking peaks and a lakefront camping area. Center Hill is reached shortly after driving into the park. It is a short, interpretative trail that brings visitors quite close to breeding hermit thrushes and winter wrens, apparently accustomed to visitors and less shy than usual. American redstarts are plentiful in the overlooks, and many of the most common warblers are present. Scarlet tanagers are often audible from the parking lot.

Mt. Blue (3,167 feet) is a popular hike, though the pace is relentlessly uphill, the footing uneven, and the views limited. This mountain offers the potential for all six of Maine’s breeding thrushes. Wood thrushes and veeries are sometimes heard around the deciduous base of the mountain. Hermit thrushes are typically audible for the first 15 minutes of the climb, replaced by Swainson’s thrushes for the remainder of the trek to the summit. In the thick spruce zone on top, a Bicknell’s thrush is possible, though rare. (Nearby Tumbledown Mountain is a better bet.)

Scarlet tanagers like the mature hardwoods around the parking lot. Black-throated blue and blackburnian warblers dominate most of the trail, with winter wrens, brown creepers, and red-eyed vireos for company. American redstarts, Nashville and magnolia warblers appear in the transition zone from birch to spruce. Blackpolls, bay-breasted warblers, yellow-bellied flycatchers, and boreal chickadees may be found around the summit.

The campground on Webb Lake in Weld offers campsites in a mature forest featuring beech, birch, white pine, and hemlock. There is a foot trail around the perimeter, but because there is little change in elevation or forested habitat, the species diversity is average. Expect hermit thrushes and red-eyed vireos.

Directions: From Route 2 in Wilton, turn onto Route 156 and follow the signs to the park in Weld.

GPS: 44.722265, -70.361971