the Sea - a joint adventure of the Maine Birding Trail and the Schoodic
Forever Wild - Baxter State Park surrounds Mt. Katahdin, Maine's highest peak. Nearby, the West Branch of the Penobscot River tumbles out of the North Maine Woods. We'll spend the first half of the tour in the northern forest during the height of songbird singing. From there, we move off to the northern portion of Acadia National Park and the downeast coast of Maine. The scenery on this adventure is equal to the variety of birds to be found.
These two 5-day, 4-night tours meet in Bangor and move immediately to The Maine Highlands in and around Baxter State Park, where we'll chase some of Maine's toughest birds, including American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers. Spruce Grouse and Boreal Chickadees also haunt this locale, and we should witness Fox and Lincoln's Sparrows singing on their territories. While we're in this spot, we'll have a great chance to snap up some of the tougher warblers, such as Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Tennessee and Mourning, and northern forest flycatchers such as Alder, Least, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided.
Day One begins in Bangor as the group
convenes for the 5-day, 4-night tour. We'll head directly for one of the
best boreal birding spots deep in the Maine forest. Our first two nights
will be spent at the
Big Moose Inn, straddling two quiet lakes. We'll follow dinner
with a little moose watching.
Day Two begins early. We'll rise with the sun and head up the west side of Baxter State Park, enjoying the abundance of warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, and finches that breed in the northern Maine forest. This will also be a chance to target any rare woodpeckers or grouse that might be missed on the first day.
Day Three begins early again, as we head up the east side of the park to Roaring Brook. Here, we'll enjoy close-ups of moose, chase down Philadelphia Vireos, and search out a few other elusive species. After lunch, we'll finish up with the mountains, then bird our way to the sea at Acadia National Park, where we'll spend our next two nights enjoying the accommodations and meals at the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC).
Day Four features a puffin and seabird tour as we circle Petit Manan Island, one of Maine's breeding colonies of Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills. With luck, we may encounter some of the pelagic species that come into the Gulf of Maine in summer, such as Northern Gannet, Great and Sooty Shearwaters, and Wilson's Storm-petrels.
Day Five is leader's choice, giving us the opportunity to make up for any bad weather that may occur. The day and the tour end before dinner in Bangor.
Participants should bring binoculars, and this is a scenic tour for photography. Spotting scopes are useful and the guides will provide one for group use, as well as guidebooks and extra binoculars. This trip will not require strenuous hiking. Hikes will be slow and on level ground. There may be some spots that are muddy, uneven, and slippery. Adequate footwear is advised, but large boots are unnecessary. Mosquitoes and black flies will be present. Insect repellent is suggested. June tends to be warm, sunny, and dry, but conditions in the northern Maine woods are changeable. Dawn temperatures may start in the 40s and reach the 80s by afternoon. Boat tours can be cold and wet. Bring appropriate clothing. Bring an appetite. We don't starve.
Tour guides are Seth Benz, Director of the Schoodic Institute Bird Ecology Lab, and Bob Duchesne, founder of the Maine Birding Trail and author of the trail guidebook.
Tour is limited to 10 participants to insure proper attention. Package price includes four nights lodging, all meals from lunch on Day One through lunch on Day Five, guided transportation by 15-passenger van, and puffin boat excursion. Rooms at the Big Moose Inn feature shared baths. Upgrades to a room with private bath are available for a limited time. Ask for current availability. Fortunately, due to the schedule of the tour and the time spent in the field, shared baths are seldom a concern for most people.
Accommodations at SERC are in shared, multi-bedroom cottages, with kitchen and ample living space.
Fee is $1200 per person, double occupancy. Single supplement and room upgrades available.
To register, open Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
P.O. Box 277, Winter Harbor, Maine 04693