DAY 1 – Arrival and Dinner – I’ll pick you up from the airport. Please arrive by 4:00PM so we can meet in the lobby for introductions and tour overview. Our first lobster dinner will be capped off with scanning the nearby point for sea ducks. Targets include Common Eiders, White-winged Scoters, Black Guillemots, Northern Gannets, gulls and shorebirds. Overnight in South Portland.
DAY 2 – Coastal Portland to Biddeford – Our first full day of birding will start near our hotel. Maine offers so many different quality birding spots along the coast, that more than 10 stops will keep us entertained for the day. We will explore freshwater swamps and ponds, marshes, estuaries, tidal flats, beaches, offshore breeding rocks and the ocean. A few of the locations include the famed Scarborough Marsh, Biddeford Beach, Rashael Carson National Wildlife Refuge and Evergreen Cemetery.
Our target birds are 15 shorebirds including Piping Plover, both Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrow almost side by side, Blue-winged Warbler, four terns including Arctic and Roseate and the hard to find Cliff Swallow. With an early start tomorrow, we’ll head back to the hotel in time for a relaxing dinner. Overnight for a second night in South Portland.
DAY 3 – Kennebunk Plains to Bar Harbor – Our early departure will be rewarded by a beautiful dawn chorus at Kennebunk Plains. This 2,000 acre grassland hosts Maines largest population of Grasshopper Sparrows and the worlds largest population of Northern Blazing Star. Other goodies here include Eastern Whip-poor-will, American Woodcock, Upland Sandpipers, Eastern Meadowlarks and Prairie Warblers. As we head north to Bar Harbor, we’ll make birding stops at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center and several locations around Bangor. We hope to add a bunch of warblers to our trip list with up to 19 species possible today. Overnight in the beautiful Bar Harbor.
DAY 4 – Bar Harbor Pelagic with Atlantic Puffins – When heading out on a pelagic trip, weather plays an important role. We will have two different opportunities to enjoy this three hour boat trip to Petit Manan Island. As we circumvent this breeding colony, Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Common Eiders, Leach’s Storm-Petrels, Common, Arctic and Roseate Terns should be in full breeding activity. You never know what magical bird or mammal could be just off the bow. Some possibilities include Minke and Fin Whales, Common Murres, Sooty, Great and Manx Shearwaters, or Wilson’s Storm-Petrels. Have your cameras ready! This 16 acre island is part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge and hosts the second tallest lighthouse in Maine. Back on land, exploring the spectacular views and birds of Acadia National Park will fill the rest of our day. Overnight for a second night in Bar Harbor.
DAY 5 – Acadia NP to Rangeley – If we had good weather yesterday and don’t need to try again for Petit Manan, a leisurely day is ahead. The morning will be spent with a mouthwatering Bar Harbor breakfast and the breathtaking views of Acadia National Park. Making our way inland, Messalonskee Lake is our main stop. Looking for birds with limited ranges for the area include Black Terns, Pied-billed Grebe, Purple Martin, Alder Flycatcher and Sandhill Cranes. If we got weathered out yesterday, it will be a fantastic day on the boat and on to Rangeley. Overnight in Rangeley.
DAY 6 – The Boreal Forest – Today will be spend exploring the north woods on logging roads, riparian areas, large lakes and trails. Along with the pleasant smell of the Boreal Forest, we will look for the habitats specialties; Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Spruce Grouse, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Blackpoll Warbler, Winter Wren and Moose. The woods will be filled with returning warblers with up to 22 species possible. WOW! Other fun birds we hope to encounter are Olive-sided Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Northern Raven, Dark-eyed Junco and 5 Thrushes. Overnight for a second night in Rangeley.
DAY 7 – The White Mountains and Bicknell’s Thrush – Our task today is to enjoy another day in the north woods and the spectacular views of western Maine and eastern New Hampshire. Tough, I know! We hope to fill out our north woods bird list as we head west. Target birds today include Philadelphia Vireo, Scarlet Tanagers, Bay-breasted and Black-throated Blue Warblers. Hearing the warbler, vireo and flycatcher chorus throughout the day will be magical as these birds establish their territories and begin breeding. This evening is dedicated to the Bicknell’s Thrush. Arriving in the White Mountains, we’ll take a reserved trip up to the edge of the Balsam Fir forest in search of this wondrous thrush. The Bicknell’s has one of the most restricted breeding and wintering range of any North American bird. We will listen for this five part song that rises at the end. The views from the top of Mt. Washington will literally take your breath away. Overnight in Gorham, New Hampshire.
DAY 8 – Gorham NH to Portland ME – As we make our way back into Portland Maine, we’ll break up the drive with some interesting birding locations. The Pondicherry NWR sports 185 species and will provide amply opportunity to pad our New Hampshire list. We might even add birds to the trip list. Brownfield Bog gives us our best chance at the most northeastern range of some species. We’ll target Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoo. As we continue to the coast, we’ll check some favorite spots around Biddeford. We will bid our final farwell with an evening return to the Portland Airport for flights home.