For those arriving early or staying late
ABF is proud to offer
pre-fest and post-fest trips for those who wish to extend their birding
Monhegan Island Trip
June 1 (Wed) 6:30am - 5:30pm (starts and ends at The Monhegan Boat Line dock in Port Clyde)
This pre-festival trip starts at the Monhegan Boat Line dock in Port Clyde where we board the boat to Monhegan Island. Twelve miles offshore, scenic Monhegan Island has long been recognized as a migrant trap where anything might turn up, even species that you won't see anywhere else in Maine! (Summer Tanager, Lark Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, and Dickcissel are all "regulars.") While much of the island is forested conservation land laced with trails, the best birding is often in the tiny village, where old apple trees and spruce stands serve as the backdrop for warblers (20+ species is average) and a wide diversity of other songbirds as they pass through. Atlantic Puffin and other seabirds are possibilities on the boat trip out and back! This outing is all on foot (2-3 miles) over easy to moderate trails and dirt roads, with some uneven and
Tour guides are Doug Hitchcox and Kristen Lindquist. Participants should bring binoculars, snacks, lunch, beverages, bug repellent, sunscreen, and good hiking/walking shoes. Dress in layers as it could be cold (especially on the ferry!). There will be some opportunities to stop for food and refreshments at a few places on the island. Keep in mind that the group will not have any place to stash extra items, so be sure to bring a backpack or the equivalent to carry extra clothing or food (if you bring you own).
Participants are responsible for purchasing
their own round-trip Monhegan Boat Line ferry tickets ($42)
out of Port Clyde for a 7:00am departure and 4:30pm return from Monhegan.
To purchase tickets, call (207) 372-8848 or visit
the Monhegan Boat Line website at https://monheganboat.com.
If you live far away, we recommend that you spend the night near Port
Clyde so you can easily meet the group at 6:30am at the Port
Clyde ferry dock. Port Clyde is over 2 hours from Festival
Fee is $70/person. Limit 10 participants.
Saddleback Mountain in search of Bicknell's Thrush
June 1(Wednesday) 7am-2pm
This is a day trip at Saddleback Mountain. Bicknell’s Thrush unique breeding ecology above 3000 feet requires a steady climb to the barren bald peaks of Saddleback Mountain tucked away in the western mountains of Maine. Many northern specialty birds will be found among the rocky summit heaths and boreal krummholz ecosystems of the Rangeley Lakes region, offering opportunities for a variety of hard to find boreal species like Gray Jays, Spruce Grouse and Black-backed Woodpecker. We will study bird communication and ecology of the spruce and fir forest and dwarf shrub summits where Nashville and Blackpoll Warblers, Swainson’s Thrush and Blue-headed Vireo are calling from the spruce zone.
Participants should bring snacks, lunch, beverages,
bug repellent and sunscreen. Dress in layers as it could be cold.
The trip starts and ends at Saddleback Mountain (approximately 3.5
hours from MDI), so we recommend you find a motel closer
to the mountain the night before the trip. There are
several lodging oportunities in Rangeley, only 15 minutes from the
Tour guides are Michael Good, Dotty Doherty, and Jonathan Doherty. This day trip requires 2-3 miles of hiking on steep ski slopes of uneven terrain with rocks and roots (some hiking up slope but mostly down the slopes with a drop in elevation of 2000ft). This trip is only for those in very good physical walking shape (walking sticks helpful). The group will be taken up the mountain in ATVs, but descent will be by foot. Participants should bring binoculars, snacks, lunch, beverages, bug repellent, sunscreen, and good hiking/walking shoes. Dress in layers as it could be cold.
Fee is $90/person. Limit 10 participants.
Bold Coast Birds and Boats (2-Day Trip)
June 6(Monday) 6am - June 7 (Tuesday) 12pm
This one-and-a half day birding blitz along the northern coast of Maine is designed to provide a fast but thorough immersion in one of the most scenic corners of the country. We'll meet at the Machias River Inn at 6am on June 6th and will end the day there at 7:00pm. The second day will start again at 6am at Machias River Inn and will end at Noon.
While this Bold Coast trip visits some of the same hotspots as the Boreal Trip Downeast during the festival, this trip has the time and opportunity to explore more of downeast Maine. Being based out of Machias gives us the ability to both soak in the birds and the beauty of the area and to spend additional time searching for target species. We'll travel by van to all the secret hotspots in this vicinity, searching for Spruce Grouse, Boreal Chickadees, and Gray Jays all while appreciating the lovely coast of Maine! One of the highlights of this trip will be a boat excursion out of Eastport, Maine, the easternmost city in the United States, to view the massive Old Sow Whirlpool up close. The boat trip will then continue to the southernmost nesting colony of Black-legged Kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island. The kittiwake colony will be very active at that time of year and there is potential for up close views of whales and several species of seabirds.
Additionally, downeast Maine is more boreal than the areas around Acadia National Park, increasing the chances of rare northern forest species. This is also an area of extensive tidal mudflats and salt marshes where we will look for shorebirds and Nelson's Sparrows. Imagine scenery as spectacular as Acadia National Park, but without the crowds!
This trip will require slow walking on level roads and trails through good habitat. Depending on recent weather, there may be some spots that are muddy. Water resistant footwear is advised. Participants should wear clothing appropriate for the time of year. Dawn temperatures can start in the 40s in early June.
Participants should bring binoculars, lunch, and beverages. There will also be multiple opportunities to stop for food and refreshments at local convenience stores. Participants should make prior plans for accommodation either at the Machias River Inn or elsewhere in Machias on the night of June 6th. The night before the trip could either be spent in Machias (recommended), or travel up the coast from Acadia to meet the group early that morning. The trip ends at noon on June 7th, allowing plenty of time to make it back that day to Mt. Desert Island or Bangor, both 1.5 hours away, or even Portland. Better yet, stay and enjoy the Bold Coast for a bit longer.
Tour guide is Cameron Cox. Fee is $170/person. Limit 10 participants. Participants interested in staying at the Machias River Inn may make their own reservations directly with the inn at 207-255-4861. Other accommodations are nearby. Trip starts at 6am at the Machias River Inn on June 6th and ends there at 12pm on June 7th.