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Short Trips for Target Species: Bicknell’s Thrush, Boreal Chickadee & Atlantic Puffin, ME

This trip will be a mix of boreal forest and rocky coasts; after all, dense spruce and fir forest butting up to rock coast-line is what makes Maine Maine! Our whirlwind trip through southern Maine will be one to remember. A mix of time spent tracking down nesting boreal species and singing warblers and a bit of time chasing some absurd rarities. We will explore 4,121 foot Saddleback Mountain for Bicknell’s Thrush, which nests only on a few of the highest peaks in the northeastern US and Canada, and nowhere else on earth! We will also seek out Boreal Chickadee and Black-backed Woodpecker. Later we will charter a comfortable, 36 foot lobsterboat to take us to view seabird nesting colonies and marine mammals! With any luck the Red-billed Tropicbird, likely the only one of its kind within 1,500 miles, will put in an appearance! There should be a great variety of species on this tour, along with great scenery and wonderful food; it will be a treat in many ways!


Secondary Targets: Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Red-billed Tropicbird*, Little Egret*, Saltmarsh and Nelson’s Sparrows

  • Tour Cost
  • Number of Days (Length of Tour)

    5 days / 4 nights


    Dates & Cost

    June 14-18, 2018   

    $1300.00 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Augusta, ME.


    Single Supplement

    If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to get a roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $200 will be assessed.


    What is Included / Not Included

    Included in the cost are all accommodations, transportation, entrance fees and permits, from Augusta, Maine.


    Not included are air travel and associated fees to Augusta (AUG),  trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, bottled beverages, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature. You will be responsible for purchasing all lunches, dinners and some breakfasts. Most of our motels offer a free continental breakfast. We will eat our meals together as a group.



    $500.00, check, paypal or credit card, along with your completed Registration Form


    How to Book

    In order to hold your space, you must complete the Registration Form found on-line, and submit it to us on-line, or download a copy and mail it to us, along with a $500.00 deposit per participant.


    Final Payment

    Full payment, by check, is due 120 days prior to the departure date

  • Itinerary
  • Day 1: Portland/Scarborough to Rangeley

    After collecting everyone from Augusta airport we will make a quick stop at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center to try for the Little Egret which has been spending the past few summers in this area, before heading inland. We will drive toward Rangeley, and if we have time this evening we will bird Boy Scout Road and the Kennebeck River. 


    Day 2: Rangeley and Saddleback Mountain

    After an early start to pick up Bicknell’s Thrush as the sing after dawn we will spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon exploring Saddleback Mountain. We should find Boreal Chickadee, and Black-backed Woodpecker and may also find White-winged Crossbill, Ruffed or Spruce Grouse. After lunch we will visit Boy Scout Road for Gray Jay, another chance at boreal chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers and almost 20 species of warblers which nest in the area! 


    Day 3: Downeast Maine

    Today we will load aboard Capt. John Drury’s 36 foot lobster boat. John is an excellent birder and guide, and has been engaged in seabird research in this area since the 1970’s, and his seabird tours have been ranked among the best in New England!  With John at the helm, we will motor out to Seal Island, home to Razorbills, Arctic Terns, and of course, Atlantic Puffins. Here we may also see Leach’s Storm-petrel, which nest on the island but are rarely seen near the burrow during the day. The real prize here is the potential to see the lone Red-billed Tropicbird which has been returning to this location each summer for 12 years. Even if we happen to miss the tropicbird, this will be a simply fantastic day! 


    Day 4: Portland/Scarborough Marsh

    At 3,200 acres Scarborough Marsh is the largest remaining section of saltwater marshland in the state. In birding terms it is best known as one of the very few spots in the world to find both ‘Sharp-tailed sparrows’: Nelson’s Sparrow and Seaside Sparrow. From Scarborough Marsh we will check on one Maine’s longest stretches of sand beach for Piping Plover, Roseate and Least Terns. We will scope the ocean for scoters, eiders and other seaducks. If we are lucky a jaeger or shearwater may pass offshore! Night near Portland, ME.


    Day 5: Portland and Departures

    Today we will bird the Portland area, trying again for the Little Egret if we still have not seen it, before we go to the airport for our departing flights.

  • Accommodations
  • 4 nights accommodations in standard motels, all ensuite and comfortable. Wherever possible, we support establishments that implement eco-friendly practices.

  • Additional Info
  • Recommended Field Guide:

    Sibley Birds East

    (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)

    by David Allen Sibley

    Sibley Birds is also available as an App




    This trip is for non-smokers only. Smoking is not permitted at any time during our tour.


    Point of Departure (Getting There and Back)
    The tour begins and ends in Augusta, Maine. The airport code for Augusta State Airport is AUG. You will need to make your own arrangements to arrive on Day 1, and depart on Day 5.

    Note, the itinerary may change. Please do not book flights before checking upon the final arrival and departure times.


    Physical Requirements (Walking, Pace of the Tour)
    A reasonable degree of fitness is required.


    Climate / Weather




    Group Size
    The group is limited to a maximum of 7 participants. 


    Final Information
    Detailed General Information will be sent to each registrant upon booking. Final Information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.


    As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance


    Participants arriving from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.


    The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.