Sanctuary Bird Walk

A.  With a quick scramble up the rocks, you'll find yourself on top of Little Tip Toe Mountain, owned by the Town of Vinalhaven. To the east you'll have a wonderful view of Crockett's Cove. Scan the water for waterfowl and seabirds.

In the spring and summer, visitors will undoubtedly hear the hoarsely high-pitched "zeee zeee zrr-zoo-zee" song of the black-throated green warbler. On fall days, Little Tip Toe can be a good hawk watching spot. Northern harriers, broad-winged hawks and sharp-shinned hawks ride the updraft of the peak, while merlins, American kestrels and peregrine falcons can be seen as well.

B.  Walk north on Tip Toe Mountain Road (back the way you drove in), and in about 0.1 mile you'll come to Heller Field on your right. The field is edged with sumac and alders and is a great habitat for American woodcocks. In the summer look for double-crested cormorants and black guillemots fishing on the water, or for belted kingfishers as they patrol the shoreline. The flats are feeding ground for herring gulls, crows, and shorebirds in migration.

C. From Heller Field continue walking north along Tip Toe Mountain Road, keeping your eyes and ears open. The road can be humming with songbird activity; as the road rises back up into taller forest, listen for ovenbirds with their distinctive, "teacher, teacher, teacher!" song.

D. You will quickly approach a tiny parking spot on the right side of the road. This is the entrance to Whitmore Pond Sanctuary. From here a trail passes through a mix of spruces, alders, and overgrown meadows. Transitional places like these are great places to see sparrows, or even a deer feeding under an old apple tree. Please note, no dogs are allowed in the sanctuary.

E. Curling back across the narrow stretch of land, you'll come to a bench with the best views of Whitmore Falls. It is not uncommon to see great blue herons stalking their prey by the falls in the marsh.