Puffins and Bicknell's Thrush
June 11 - 13, 2013:
Trip leader: Maine Birding Trail
This intensive tour packs a lot into three days. We
begin at Scarborough Marsh near Portland, ferreting out
Nelson's and Saltmarsh Sparrows. Next stop: Pine Point
for a chance at Piping Plovers and Roseate Terns. After
a lobster and seafood lunch, we'll run up the coast for
Atlantic Puffins and more terns. The following day takes
us to the western mountains where the chief target is
the rare and very hard-to-get Bicknell's Thrush. (I
can't tell you where. It's a secret spot.) Blackpoll,
Mourning, and Bay-breasted Warblers are in the same
spot. So are Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and Boreal
Chickadees. We expect to have them all before breakfast.
Then it's off for more northern forest birding.
Puffins and Grouse
June 26-28, 2013
Trip leader: Maine Birding Trail
It's a 2-Nation Vacation. This 3-day/2-night tour heads
downeast to visit the Atlantic Puffins on Machias Seal Island.
Bring your passport, as we'll also spend time on Canada's
Campobello Island and in the spruce forests along the Maine
coast searching for Spruce Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, and Boreal
Chickadees. Songbirds will be in full voice, so expect at least
18 species of warblers, plus a multitude of thrushes,
flycatchers, and kinglets. Pelagic species such as shearwaters,
storm-petrels, and gannets are likely. Our accommodations are located just
ten minutes from Campobello and Quoddy Head State Park, and a
mere fifteen minutes from Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge and
a Maine Coast Heritage Trust site that is one of the most
notorious Spruce Grouse spots in the state.
There are five Atlantic Puffin colonies off the Maine
Adult puffins come ashore to breed in late April, and begin returning to
the sea in August. Some linger into September, but the fruitful season
for visitation is only about a dozen weeks long. Once they leave their
islands, puffins disperse across the ocean and are seldom seen, even
from boats. Puffins are not often seen from the mainland.
Eastern Egg Rock is an 11-acre island located six miles from New Harbor.
Common, Arctic, and Roseate Tern colonies are also established on the
island and it is one of the most reliable places to see Roseate Terns in
Maine. The island is visited every day during puffin season by
The Hardy Boat, which is docked at New Harbor. See
www.hardyboat.com or call 1-800-2-puffin. Capín
Fish circles the island four times a week from Boothbay Harbor.
www.mainewhales.com or call 800-633-0860. The
Monhegan Boat Line in Port Clyde visits the island daily and
four evenings a week during the puffin season, mid-June through August.
www.monheganboat.com/puffin.html or call 207-372-8848.
Matinicus Rock is larger and more distant than Eastern
Egg Rock. It also has a population of Razorbills and may host Great
Cormorants in summer. There are no regularly scheduled commercial trips.
Maine Audubon provides occasional tours. Visit
www.maineaudubon.org or call 207-781-2330 for updated
information. Charter trips are available from Matinicus Excursions. See
www.matinicusexcursions.com or call 207-691-9030.
Seal Island is three times the size of Matinicus
Rock. It lies 22 miles off the mainland. Besides the abundant puffins,
it is home to a large number of Razorbills, and supports a few breeding
pairs of Great Cormorants. Black Guillemots are abundant on the way to
the island, and the trip passes through waters that are good for pelagic
species. Captain Bill Baker of
Old Quarry Adventures makes regular trips to the colony
beginning in May, and additional visits are available by charter. Call
Petit Manan Island is a 16-acre island covered in
birds. It supports a large population of Laughing Gulls and Common
Terns, almost as many Arctic Terns, and several dozen pairs of Roseate
Terns. Many pairs of Razorbills visit the island, and actual nesting
began in 2007. Leachís Storm-petrels, Black Guillemots, and Common
Eiders also nest on the island.
Bar Harbor Whale Watch makes daily morning trips to the
island before heading out to the whaling grounds. The large, stable boat
is great for people who suffer from seasickness. While whale-watching,
expect to see pelagic birds, as well. Call 207-288-2386.
Bar Harbor Boat Tours now visits Petit Manan every
afternoon on a trip that also features other seabirds and lighthouses.
Call 1-855-732-3294 (1-855-SEA-DAWG) Toll Free or 207-801-2300.
Robertson Sea Tours visits the island on board the
Mairi Leigh from its headquarters in Milbridge.
The shallow draft of the boat allows it to get in closer to shore than
the larger boat from Bar Harbor. Email:
email@example.com or call 207-483-6110.
Machias Seal Island is the granddaddy of puffin islands.
Huge numbers of Atlantic Puffins populate the 20-acre island,
accompanied by plenty of Razorbills and Common Murres. Large colonies of
Common and Arctic Terns also nest here, though their nesting success in
recent years has been diminished by gull predation. Captain Andy
Bold Coast Charters from Cutler and visits the island
daily. Call 207-259-4484. The Wilcox family has provided daily trips
from Grand Manan since 1969. See
Seawatch Tours or call 877-662-8552.
"Best Nests" near
Flagship Inn - Boothbay Harbor,
near Cap'n Fish tour to Eastern Egg Rock.
Inn On The Harbor -
Stonington, near Old Quarry Adventures tour to Seal
Ann's Point Inn
- Bass Harbor, near Bar Harbor
Whale Watch and Bar Harbor Boat Tours to Petit Manan.
Bass Harbor Cottages
Bass Harbor, near Bar Harbor Whale Watch and Bar Harbor
Boat Tours to Petit Manan.
Machias Motor Inn - Machias, near Bold
Coast Tours to Machias Seal Island.
Eastland Motel -
Lubec, near Bold Coast Tours to Machias Seal Island.