Maine has a way of spoiling people.
Our spring season is noisy with the breeding songbirds of the northern
forest. In late summer, these same birds begin to form foraging flocks prior
to migration, chattering amongst themselves and revealing their locations.
The beaches flood with migrating shorebirds, and the offshore waters fill
with pelagic species. Many of these species nest on islands in the South
Atlantic, such as Great and Sooty Shearwaters and Wilson's Storm-petrels,
then spend their winters up here during our summers. Meanwhile, some
subarctic breeders begin winging their way to their wintering areas in
August and September. Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers harass the gulls and
shearwaters. Great and South Polar Skuas join them on rare occasions. Red
and Red-necked Phalaropes congregate in mixed swarms near where whales feed.
This tour will spend two nights at the Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC) surrounded by the mainland portion of Acadia National Park. From here, day trips will venture offshore for pelagic birds and whales, and probe the coastline for a great variety of foraging songbirds. Then, headquarters will shift to the Eastland Motel in Lubec for two nights. This motel is so ideally located, it sits within 15 minutes of Quoddy Head State Park, the South Lubec Sand Flats, Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Maine Coast Heritage Trust trails in the spruce maritime forest, and Canada's Campobello Island.
Day One begins in Bangor as the group convenes for the 5-day, 4-night tour. We'll bird our way directly to the Schoodic Peninsula and arrive in time for lunch at SERC. After checking in, the afternoon will be spent exploring this section of Acadia National Park.
Day Two takes us offshore into the Gulf of Maine where whales and pelagic birds congregate.
Day Three will be spent birding our way up the coast. The area above Acadia National Park is the quintessential "downeast" Maine experience. Small fishing villages dot the coastline. While Acadia's shoreline is rockbound, mudflats become more prevalent above the park, and shorebirds become abundant. This is the time of year when they are migrating through Maine, often in big numbers.
Day Four will explore all of the secret spots in the Cobscook Bay area, with a side trip onto Canada's Campobello Island. This was the famed summer home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Roosevelt International Park is just across the border. Head Harbor Passage lies between the U.S. and Canada - with a tide so strong that the world's second largest whirlpool, "The Old Sow," swirls in the middle. So much sea life congregates in this channel that minke whales are usually sighted from land. The channel fills with Bonaparte's Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Eiders, Black Guillemots, and Razorbills, feeding off mackerel and herring.
Day Five is leader's choice, giving us a day to make up for any bad weather or missed opportunities. The tour ends in Bangor just before dinner.
Participants should bring binoculars, and this is a scenic tour for photography. Spotting scopes are useful and the guides will provide one for group use, as well as guidebooks and extra binoculars. A passport or other proper identification is required for visiting Campobello. This trip will not require strenuous hiking. Hikes will be slow and on level ground. There may be some spots that are muddy, uneven, and slippery, but large boots are unnecessary. Boat tours can be cold and damp. Bring appropriate clothing.
For more information, contact the leaders:
Seth Benz, Director of the Schoodic Institute Bird Ecology Lab SBenz@SchoodicInstitute.org, 207-288-1350
Bob Duchesne, Maine Birding Trail
Tour is limited to 10 participants to insure proper attention. Package price includes four nights lodging, all meals from lunch on Day One through lunch on Day Five, guided transportation by 15-passenger van, and boat excursion. Souvenirs and alcoholic beverages excluded.
Accommodations at SERC are in spacious, multi-bedroom cottages, with shared living, dining, and bathroom areas. Typically, most visitors to SERC find this shared arrangement to be roomy. Basic tour fee is $1200 per person, double occupancy in private bedroom with shared bath. However, single supplement and private apartment options are available. Accommodations at the Eastland Motel are private and unshared.
To register, open Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
P.O. Box 277, Winter Harbor, Maine 04693