Getting on/off a mini-bus, on/off 46-foot research vessel. For your comfort, wear lots of layers (dress for winter.) Walking about 4-5 miles; variable terrain.
At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of hot and cold choices.
We’ll board College of the Atlantic's research and support vessel, m/v Osprey, for an expedition to productive waters around Petit Manan Island, part of the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Eleven seabird species breed on this island: Common Eider, Common Murre, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Roseate Tern (only a few of this Federally-listed species breed on the island), Common Tern, and Arctic Tern. Add all these up and over four thousand birds reside on Petit Manan Island in the summer! Turning south, we’ll proceed 25 nautical miles out to sea to go whale- and seabird-watching. It is early in the season, so whales may be scarce, but we will be seeking Fin, Minke, and Humpback Whales. Being this far offshore, we have a chance to find Northern Fulmar, maybe early Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Great Shearwater, and plunge-diving Northern Gannets. (PLEASE NOTE: For your comfort, bring a daypack with lots of layers—we always tell people to DRESS FOR WINTER!)
In the field during our bird-watching expedition.
After our intense offshore excursion, we'll have a more relaxed afternoon, visiting the Sieur de Monts Spring area of Acadia National Park (this is one of the two major spring avian hotspots on MDI and one of Rich’s favorite spots for its rich cultural and natural history). We'll walk the easy Jesup and Hemlock Trails (this is a one-mile loop with an option to extend it into two miles) and explore the Wild Gardens of Acadia. For the past four years, a family of resident Barred Owl have haunted this area, often making regular appearances—at this date, we will likely find the female incubating her progeny. The diversity of warblers, sparrows, thrushes, and flycatchers make this area a hotspot.
We’ll again dine at a downtown Bar Harbor restaurant.
Scenic visit to Cadillac Mountain. We’ll drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the United States, noted for its stunning 360-degree views (it is also the first place in the Continental U.S. to see sunrise six months of the year). As the day comes to an end, Rich will lead a walk to a great view of the sunset while continuing discussion of MDI’s glacial geology, as well as pointing out some of the unique alpine flora while searching for Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, White-throated Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, and Golden-crowned Kinglets.