Greg Miller Big Year Tour Series

MAINE 2025: Mountains & Coast

CE2A1756

TOUR FOCUS
BIRDS & WILDLIFE

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SCHEDULED TOURS

2025 :: June 1 - June 7

TOUR COST

From: $2,800 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Bangor, Maine. (BGR)

GROUP SIZE

6 - 10 Participants

AVAILABILITY

2025: 10 spaces available

PRIVATE TOUR OPTION

This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of MAINE 2025: Mountains & Coast

  • Beautiful coastline & boreal forests
  • Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, & other seabirds up-close!
  • Boreal Chickadee, Spruce Grouse, & Bicknell’s Thrush
  • 20+ warbler species & other eastern songbirds
  • Grand loop through Maine, Vermont, & New Hampshire!

Description of MAINE 2025: Mountains & Coast

This adventurous tour will explore the coast of Maine, travel to the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, and wind through Vermont’s “Northern Kingdom” during a 7-day loop! Our trip begins with a half-day boat trip to Seal Island in the Gulf of Maine. This small island refuge is home to thousands of nesting seabirds including the largest US colonies of Atlantic Puffins and Great Cormorants. The island also hosts Razorbill, Black Guillemot, and the ever vigilant flock of Common Terns and Arctic Terns! A careful look may turn up a rare Roseate Tern. The surrounding waters sometimes hold pelagic prizes such as Common Murre, Northern Gannet, Great Shearwater, or Sooty Shearwater – so keep your eyes peeled! Dozens of Harbor Seals and Gray Seals can be seen hauled out on the rocky shoreline of the island!

Everywhere you look the landscapes are quaint and beautiful. Maine’s rugged coast is broken up by short stretches of sandy beaches while picturesque lighthouses stand proudly on seaside cliffs. Venturing into the Northwoods we’ll pass through vast deciduous woodlands interspersed with dense spruce forests and dark old-growth bogs. These incredible forests are the great songbird nurseries of eastern North America. We might even see a Moose or two!

Classic New England specialties that we’ll search for include Common Eider, Black Guillemot, American Black Duck, Piping Plover, Upland Sandpiper, and forest songbirds like Alder Flycatcher, Black-billed Cuckoo, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Canada Jay! Tough-to-find Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, and Spruce Grouse are top targets during our time in the dense boreal forests of northern Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. A visit to the subalpine zone at the top of Mount Washington will allow us easy access to the very range-restricted Bicknell’s Thrush! The Northwoods provide a summer home to an amazing diversity of eastern warblers, and over 20 warbler species are possible including Mourning and Canada! Throughout this trip, we’ll have many opportunities to eat locally-caught lobster rolls, lobster bisque, and cooked lobster – not to mention all things blueberry – like muffins, scones, pancakes, and pie! New England’s birding, scenery, and food is truly legendary!

Length of Tour

7-Days/6-Nights

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrivals at Bangor Int. Airport in Bangor, ME (BGR). Essex Woods & birding hotspots in route to Camden. Night in Camden, ME.

Day 2 – Puffin trip to Seal Island (or Petit Manan Island depending on conditions). Birding hotspots in route to Portland. Night in Portland, ME.

Day 3 – Scarborough Marsh, Pine Point Beach, Tidewater Farm, Gilsland Farm Audubon Center. Night in Portland, ME.

Day 4 – Capisic Pond, Kennebunk Plains, Brownfield Bog. Night in Jackson, NH.

Day 5 – Mount Washington, Pondicherry NWR. Night in Lancaster, NH.

Day 6 – Moose Bog, Dixville Notch, and Messalonskee Lake. Night in Augusta, ME.

Day 7 – Morning birding in route to Bangor as time allows. Departures no earlier than noon from Bangor Int. Airport in Bangor, ME (BGR).

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrivals at Bangor Int. Airport in Bangor, ME (BGR). Essex Woods & birding hotspots in route to Camden. Night in Camden, ME.

Arrivals at Bangor International Airport in Bangor, ME. We encourage strongly early arrivals or to arrive the day prior to maximize our time in the field on the first day! Afternoon birding at Essex Woods and multiple locations along the Maine coast as we drive ‘down east’ to Camden. We anticipate our first introductions to classic East Coast species like Purple Finch, Pileated Woodpecker, Alder Flycatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and much more! Night in Camden, Maine.

Day 2 – Half-day boat trip to Seal Island (or Petit Manan Island depending on conditions). Birding hotspots in route to Portland. Night in Portland, ME.

Puffins are at the top of almost all birder’s most-wanted list for this tour, so we are getting right to it with a boat trip to the huge seabird colony at Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge. At 8:30am we will set out from the Camden wharf onto the massive Gulf of Maine – a 36,000 square mile region that provided the former haunts to the now-extinct Sea Mink and Great Auk! Today the Gulf of Maine remains a healthy ecosystem with a prosperous fishing community. Rare animals like Northern Right Whale and the charismatic Atlantic Puffin continue to inhabit the deep underwater canyons and rocky islands. Seal Island is a tiny, 10-acre rock that is host to one of the largest breeding colonies of Atlantic Puffins and Great Cormorants in the United States! Various gulls, Common Eiders, all 3 scoter species, and Black Guillemot can be abundant. Close views of the island and surrounding waters should produce excellent views of Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, and both Common and Arctic Terns! A Peregrine Falcon may strafe the island in search of a winged meal, while Bald Eagles scan from prominent treetops. Both Gray and Harbor Seals area often seen loafing on the rocky shorelines of islands. During the commute to and from the island there is a possibility of seeing several rare pelagic species like Parasitic Jaeger, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Great Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Northern Gannet, and Red-necked Phalarope!

If weather conditions do not permit the longer over-water journey to Seal Island, we will reschedule this day to take another charter to Petit Manan Island which is also a wonderful seabird colony hosting many of the same species listed above.

Once back ashore, we will head south along the coast toward Portland, making a few birding stops as time allows, and then celebrate the puffins over dinner! Night in Portland, Maine.

Day 3 – Scarborough Marsh, Pine Point Beach, Tidewater Farm, Gilsland Farm Audubon Center. Night in Portland, ME.

Scarborough Marsh will be our main birding destination for the morning. This vast saltmarsh estuary is one of the best places in the World to find both Nelson’s Sparrow and Saltmarsh Sparrow together…. and without getting covered in mud! Those two “salty sparrows” will be our top priorities, but beware of tricky hybrids! Least Tern can be seen here in addition to ‘Eastern’ Willet, Tricolored Heron, and Glossy Ibis. The declining population of American Black Ducks is still going strong here, and many can be seen in the marsh channels. Nearby Pine Point Beach offers close views of Piping Plover, Least Tern, sometimes Roseate Tern, and lingering waterfowl.

For the afternoon we will visit Tidewater Farm and Gilsland Farm Audubon Center along the shoreline of Presumpscot Bay just north of Portland. Classic species like Osprey, Yellow Warbler, Willow Flycatcher, Veery, and Wild Turkey may be seen in the area. Portland is also the northernmost range of a few songbirds including Red-bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, and Carolina Wren. Carefully check any Snowy Egrets you spot for a rare, vagrant Little Egret – we have seen one in past years! Night in Portland, Maine.

Day 4 – Capisic Pond, Kennebunk Plains, Brownfield Bog. Night in Jackson, NH.

Today we will travel from sea-level to the foothills of the tallest mountain in the northeast! An early start is required for everything we have planned for today, and our first stop will be to Capisic Pond where we may find a few migrant songbirds and Black-crowned Night-Heron.

A visit to the blueberry barrens and sandhill grasslands around Kennebunk Plains will target Upland Sandpiper and Bobolink. This rare, remnant habitat is home to some equally rare plants, like Northern Blazing Star, which are found nowhere else. The plains are a great location for Grasshopper, Savannah, and Vesper Sparrows in addition to Eastern Towhee and Brown Thrasher – all of which we are unlikely to encounter anywhere else during the tour. Clay-colored Sparrow is rare but also possible. Sometimes a pair of American Kestrel can be found staking out a nice snag to nest in. Prairie Warblers nest in the short pines and Pine Warblers nest in the tall pines.

Any birder would be filled with eager anticipation as we begin our journey north toward the Canadian border. Our next birding locale just happens to be a good ol’ northwoods bog. From Kennebunk Plains we have a winding 1 hour, 30-minute drive to Brownfield Bog, located at the southeast edge of the White Mountains. Wilson’s Snipe and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers breed here! Many of us only get to see these birds in winter or during migration. Both Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoo can be found here in addition to Wood Ducks, Hooded Merganser, and others. A whopping 8 species of flycatchers have been reported in June at this location. Yellow-throated Vireos can be common in addition to various warbler species. Our journey north continues through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Watch for Common Loons nesting on small ponds along the roadside! Night in Jackson, New Hampshire.

Day 5 – Mount Washington, Pondicherry NWR. Night in Lancaster, NH.

We will be up early to visit Mount Washington! As we climb in elevation toward the 6,288ft summit, you will see how the habitat changes from birch and maple deciduous forest, to spruce and hemlock coniferous forest, then to stunted spruces, and finally the rocky and barren alpine zone! Mount Washington is famous for its extreme weather with sub-zero temperatures, hurricane-force winds, and intense snow and ice possible throughout the year, and it rarely reaches above 60F in the summer.

Our primary target on Mount Washington is the rare, endemic Bicknell’s Thrush which can be found in the stunted spruces near the summit. These thrushes are one of America’s most range-restricted and localized birds. They have only recently been considered a distinct species from Gray-cheeked Thrush, and current research actually points toward them being more genetically similar to Veery. There are only a few, scattered high-altitude locations in the northeast that offer the specialized habitat these thrushes require, and Mount Washington is perhaps the easiest and most beautiful location to try for them. Other birds we will be looking for include Boreal Chickadee, American Pipit, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Blackpoll Warbler, Red Crossbill, and White-winged Crossbill. Snowshoe Hare and North American Porcupine are possible along the road. Breeding American Pipits occur in low numbers on the alpine tundra. Fog can often obscure views, but whatever the weather conditions may be – it’s always beautiful and special up there at the top! The summit visitor center includes a wonderful little weather museum and gift shop.

We will spend the afternoon birding around nearby Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge and other hotspots in search of various boreal songbirds and other targets. Ruffed Grouse is possible in this area. After dinner we will have an optional excursion for night-birding; targeting Northern Saw-whet Owl. Night in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

Day 6 – Moose Bog, Dixville Notch, & Messalonskee Lake. Night in Augusta, ME.

This area of northern Vermont is affectionately known to locals as the ‘Northern Kingdom’. The forested mountains and ridges certainly frame the area like massive castle walls. This is a remote area with fantastic habitat and equally fantastic birding possibilities. Ruffed Grouse are rare here but the colorful, secretive Spruce Grouse still lurks through these dark, damp forests. Even where this bird is expected, it can be very easy to miss but Moose Bog should hopefully produce a sighting, and this is a great site for a number of harder-to-find boreal goodies including Canada Jay, Black-backed Woodpecker, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Alder Flycatcher, Brown Creeper, Canada Warbler, Palm Warbler, Swamp Sparrow, and Winter Wren will be searched for too. Stunning male Magnolia Warblers and Blackburnian Warblers may be singing from the treetops! Swainson’s Thrush and Hermit Thrush nest here, and Red Crossbill flocks may be heard flying overhead. Threatened and declining populations of Rusty Blackbirds breed in the alder-lined creeks. This beautiful little spot can be hard to leave… but we can at least dedicate a few hours exploring it!

We’ll grab a lunch for the road and head back into New Hampshire to Dixville Notch. A road cut into the forest winds up to a new wind-turbine facility which allows us birders access to some excellent habitat where we will search for Mourning Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo, and Purple Finch. Although this area is just as far north as Moose Bog, the habitat is slightly drier and the predominant grouse here will be Ruffed. There will be another opportunity here for Bicknell’s Thrush, Boreal Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Dark-eyed Junco, among others! From there, we will say our goodbyes to the northwoods and begin heading back ‘down east’. Sit back and relax as we travel through beautiful forests and rolling farmland. Broad-winged Hawks may be perched along the roadside.

Our final destination for the day will be Messalonskee Lake. This area contains Maine’s only breeding colony of Black Terns. Other marsh birds found here include American Bittern, Northern Harrier, and locally-rare Sandhill Crane. Night in Augusta, Maine.

Day 7 – Morning birding in route to Bangor as time allows. Departures no earlier than noon from Bangor Int. Airport in Bangor, ME (BGR).

Alas! The final day of our Maine birding adventure is here already. Departures for no earlier than noon from Bangor International Airport (BGR) in Bangor, Maine. We will try to squeeze in some birding along the route in search of any remaining targets.

Cost

Cost is $2,800 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Bangor, Maine. (Airport code BGR).
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code BGR).

Cost Includes

Cost includes airport transfers, all ground transportation, accomodations, entrance fees and services of your professional leader(s).

Cost does not Include

All meals, flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered, the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $450 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

Six night’s accommodations in standard motels, all ensuite and comfortable. Wherever possible, we support local establishments that implement eco-friendly practices. Full-size, luxury SUVs will be used for this tour.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Most walking will be short hikes on mostly flat terrain, but please prepare to walk 2+ miles at a time. Our boat trip to visit the seabird colony will be 6+ hours on the water, and you must be prepared for a variety of weather and sea conditions. Mount Washington is famous for its extreme weather, and even in June we have braved 70+mph winds and snow blizzards to reach the summit! Prepare accordingly!

Recommended Field Guide

Sibley Birds East  (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)
by David Allen Sibley

Sibley Birds is also available as an App

Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock

by Stephen Kress and Derrick Jackson

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

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

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA 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.

Itinerary Changes

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.

Location Map