The South Lubec Sand Flats are one of Maine’s best places to witness shorebird migration. Throughout August and early September, the flats fill with shorebird quantity and quality. The best period is from the second week of August through Labor Day weekend. Semipalmated sandpipers and plovers are the most numerous, but careful observation will turn up a nearly equal number of least sandpipers. White-rumped sandpipers are few but noticeable. Black-bellied plovers are numerous, and a few American golden plovers can sometimes be found in their midst, usually in late summer. Small flocks of short-billed dowitchers work both the mud flats and the pond margins. Hudsonian and marbled godwits are rare visitors. Buff-breasted sandpipers pop in occasionally. Dunlin are the latest to arrive.
Later in autumn, horned larks are likely along the spit, and Lapland longspurs are possible, often mixed in the same flock. The best time to visit is one hour after high tide or four hours before high tide. Walk to the end of the bar where birds are concentrated. Wherever shorebirds are present, peregrine falcons and merlins are inevitable. In winter, large concentrations of gulls also roost here, and there is always the chance for Iceland and glaucous gulls among them. There is another overlook area on the South Lubec Road near Carrying Place Cove, which is always worth a stop. At the right tide, the birds may be closer to the outflow of the stream in that area.
Visiting the sand bar requires complete respect for private property. The state owns the farthest section of the bar, but the near sections, including the dirt access road, are clearly posted as no trespassing. It is permissible to park in the parking area at the end of Bar Road, walk directly to the beach, and then down the beach to the state-owned part of the sand bar where large signs are obvious. If the lot is full, please bird elsewhere and return later. Never approach or disturb roosting shorebirds.
Directions: The entrance is normally marked by a small sign that says “Bar Road.” It is a small, dirt road 1.9 miles from Route 189 along the South Lubec Road. Park only in the parking area. Go directly to the beach. Only the south end of the bar is owned by the state. From Route 191 via the Boot Cove Road, bear left onto the South Lubec Road and look for the right turn.
GPS: 44.817890, -66.985016