Perkins Arboretum

Barred Owl
Perkins Arboretum is part of the Colby College campus. The campus commands the high ground of Mayflower Hill, overlooking the city of Waterville. Just downhill from the campus buildings, a large woodland crisscrossed with trails separates the college from the residential neighborhoods of town. Enormous hemlocks dominate the heart of the arboretum. This is the realm of ruffed grouse, ovenbird, veery, eastern wood-pewee, red-eyed vireo, and typical canopy warblers such as blackburnian, black-throated green, and northern parula. Toward the outer edges of the forest, black-throated blue and Nashville warblers gain ascendancy. Canada warblers call from damp tangles. Black-and-white warblers are found throughout. Cooper’s hawks and barred owls have nested regularly for many years. Broad-winged hawks are often present.

There are two distinct sections. A wide dry path dips into the woods in a horseshoe shape that has its entry points next to Hill House, behind the tennis courts and behind the parking lots opposite the dormitories on the south end of campus. This runs through a birdy section of shrubs, secondary growth, and pines. Expect American redstart, chestnut-sided warbler, common yellowthroat, and gray catbird. Besides the ubiquitous red-eyed vireo, a few warbling vireos have been found here. Veeries often pop out from the deeper woods.

These deeper woods are reached from several points on the southeast side of the arboretum. Two entrances on Mayflower Hill Drive are unmarked. The best entrances are from the parking lots. Follow the signs (or follow the edge of the woods down the hill alongside the old playing fields). Yellow warblers, tufted titmice, Baltimore orioles, and flycatchers are common along the field edge. The trail enters the deeper woods below the fields. There are four color-coded trails. The blue and yellow trails terminate on Mayflower Hill Drive. The white and red trails run on opposite banks of a stream in the heart of the preserve. Both terminate on the railroad track on the far edge of the preserve. The red trail can be muddy on the far end. Footing throughout the arboretum is occasionally challenging and damp.

Trails continue up Runnals Hill on the opposite side of Mayflower Hill Drive, behind the President’s house. House wrens are common and field sparrows have been found in some years. Rose-breasted grosbeaks and eastern bluebirds appear regularly.

Directions: From Waterville, proceed up Mayflower Hill Drive to the campus. From the Waterville-Oakland exit of I-95, turn left onto Kennedy Memorial Drive, then left onto Second Rangeway. Follow around the campus to Mayflower Hill Drive.

GPS: 44.561442, -69.655058