Schoodic Point is a separate part of Acadia National Park. Although it shares some of the habitat characteristics of the larger park on Mount Desert Island, there are important differences. The Schoodic portion is more strongly boreal, with uncommon sightings of spruce grouse and rare sightings of black-backed woodpeckers. The park loop road is closer to the water, with frequent pull-offs, making it easy to scan for waterfowl. Schoodic is one of the most exposed points of land anywhere on the coast. and is one of the best places to scope for distant sea birds.
Schoodic Woods is a modern campground that is also the headquarters of a recent park expansion, including new walk/bike paths. Though seldom seen, spruce grouse lurk in the woods in this area, and are sometimes encountered in the open. The new paths are terrific for generalized birding, offering easy views of the surrounding treetops. A good variety of warblers is found along the way. Winter wrens, purple finches, and wayward red crossbills spice up the birding.
Frazer Point: The first contact with salt water after entering the park loop road is a causeway called Mosquito Harbor, worth a brief stop. In season, belted kingfishers forage over the wide tidal river. Immediately afterward, pull into Frazer Point. The open space and low shrubbery attract warblers and kinglets, and this spot is noted for songbird fall-outs during spring migration. The picnic area provides a wide-open look at the channel into Winter Harbor. Good binoculars or a spotting scope are helpful, because the sea ducks tend to stay rather distant here.
Schoodic Head: For the next couple of miles, proceed through low coniferous forest with a smattering of birch trees. Through spring and summer breeding season, this is warbler rich. At about 2.3 miles beyond Frazer Point, a gravel road appears on the left. The road climbs a mile up Schoodic Head, followed by a few hundred yards of footpath to the summit. The road is closed in winter, but even in summer birders often elect to park at the bottom and hike the length. The spruce-fir mix is adequate for boreal specialties. Spruce grouse, black-backed woodpeckers, and yellow-bellied flycatchers occur here, but none are common. Swainson’s and hermit thrushes are present. In irruptive seasons, it’s good area for crossbills, particularly red. Beyond the Schoodic Head road, there is a marshy pond attractive to great blue herons.
Schoodic Point: Continue along, lingering for a quick scan wherever there is water. Where the road forks right to Schoodic Point and becomes two-way traffic, take the time to check the birds of Arey Cove. At any time of year expect common eiders and black guillemots. All three scoters are found here in the colder months, especially black scoters. In winter, it’s a good chance for red-throated loons. Schoodic Point extends into the Atlantic, and northern gannets may be passing in any season but mid-winter. It’s a good spot for occasional black-legged kittiwakes in late summer and fall. Harlequin ducks are becoming more common in winter, and purple sandpipers are regularly sighted.
Blueberry Hill is the next good stop along the loop after departing the point. Many warblers lurk along both sides of the road in spring and summer. These include American redstart, Nashville, chestnut-sided, black-throated green, yellow, and yellow-rumped. Spend ample time scanning the waters off Blueberry Hill. Common eiders and black guillemots should be easily seen. Double-crested cormorants are abundant in summer; great cormorants take over in winter. Bald Eagles nest on Schoodic Island offshore, and are almost unmissable in this area most of the year. In winter, snowy owls, northern harriers, and rough-legged hawks are sometimes spotted in the distance on this island.
Buck Cove is the last cove before exiting the park. Sheltered from north winds, it's a particularly good spot for eiders, grebes and scoters in winter. Purple sandpipers also flourish in this area.
Schoodic Loop Rd
Winter Harbor, ME 04693
GPS: 44.340302, -68.058243