View over Monhegan Harbor to Manana Island Photo: John Murdock
The coast ofMaineis one of those treasures—beautiful, of course, and rugged, yet also accessible. Our short tour will visit two of our favorite places, Mount Desert Island, home toAcadiaNational Park, andMonheganIsland. MountDesertis well known forAcadiaNational Park, which occupies most of it, but also for the generations of influential summer residents who have been captivated by the island’s beauty and active lifestyle. We’ll spend our time seeing the sights, all of which are good for birds, and take a boat trip into theGulfofMaineto look for seabirds and whales. MonheganIslandis a treasure. Small, isolated, and quite far offshore, it concentrates landbird migrants, attracts off-course vagrants, and provides some of the most pleasant birdwatching anywhere. There are very few motor vehicles, and footpaths lead out in many directions through spruce forests and small clearings to high rocky headlands and tiny coves. Fall is probably the best birdwatching time at Monhegan, as nocturnal migrants drift offshore on northwest winds and find refuge on the island, sometimes in large numbers. We’ll use tools such as geography and weather patterns to guide our decisions, supplemented by NEXRAD radar and current weather conditions. This tour is designed for participants to experience the wonders of migration, and each day we’ll put ourselves in place for the best birding opportunities the day has to offer.
Day 1: The tour begins this evening in Portland,Maine. Night in Portland.
Day 2: We’ll spend the morning in the Scarborough Marsh and Biddeford Pool areas, fine places to view migrants and residents alike. Both Saltmarsh and Nelson’s Sparrows could still be in residence along with a selection of migrant shorebirds. If there has been a good nocturnal migration, the woods and thickets of Biddeford Pool could be full of birds, possibly including Philadelphia Vireo and a dozen or more warbler species or we may began by witnessing the “Morning Flight” phenomena After lunch, we’ll commence the three-hour drive north and east to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. This is often a good night to have our first lobster dinner. Night in Bar Harbor.
Day 3: Weather permitting, we’ll take a morning bird and whale cruise on a stable catamaran on theGulf ofMaine. Greater and Sooty Shearwaters are likely, and we may also see Razorbills, Atlantic Puffins, and Red and Red-necked phalaropes. Cetaceans might include Harbor Porpoise and Atlantic White-sided Dolphin as well as Humpback, Minke, and Fin Whales. After lunch we’ll visit some of our favorite spots onMountDesert, looking for migrants while surrounded by the magnificentMaine coast. Night in Bar Harbor.
Day 4: If the weather yesterday was bad, we’ll try our boat trip again this morning. Otherwise we’ll bird locally, looking for Common Eider, Black Guillemot, and others. If the weather is suitable, we’ll drive to the top ofCadillacMountain, where the view is spectacular and where we might encounter a modest raptor passage. After lunch we’ll drive west to the coastal town ofPort Clyde, where we’ll board a ferry toMonheganIsland. Night on Monhegan.
Days 5–6: Our days on Monhegan will be unscripted. We’ll usually begin by walking the dirt road through town before breakfast. We have favorite gardens and weedy patches that over the years seem to have harbored more than their fair share of birds, and we’ll visit them repeatedly. After breakfast we’ll take a longer walk, perhaps past Ice House Pond through Cathedral Woods to the northeast side or perhaps to Lobster Cove or Burnthead Cliff. No walk is very long and each is lovely in its own way. If there are lots of migrants about, we may never get out of town. Afternoons will be a repeat of the mornings but to different destinations. During our stay we’ll certainly visit some spots more than once, but there’s more than enough to do. Nights on Monhegan.
Monhegan, like all migration spots, can be full of birds … or we might have to search for the next migrant. With two full days plus an evening and a morning on Monhegan we have a reasonable chance of experiencing a movement of birds that might include upward of 20 warbler species and a fine mix of flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, and other migrants. We can’t predict what our days will be like, but we can say with confidence that our surroundings will be remarkably beautiful.
Day 7: After a final morning on Monhegan, we’ll return to Port Clyde and travel on toPortland. Since we’ll pass byFreeport, we’ll make a short stop at L.L. Bean, the iconic outdoor store, which is worth a visit if only to see the fine display of wild trout swimming in a large wall aquarium. Night in Portland.
Day 8: The tour concludes this morning in Portland.
Updated: 04 October 2012
- 2014 Tour Price Not Yet Available
* Tour invoices paid by check carry a modest discount. Details here.
Group size limited to eight participants with one leader.