Chickadees, Grouse, Puffins and More: A Birder’s Dream in Down East Maine
Cobscook Bay is a haven for birds and birders alike. Come find out why as you join expert birders in spotting puffins, spruce grouse, cormorants and many more.
Rating (4.75)
Program No. 21046RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
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Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Trescott, Maine
Heartwood Lodge

Afternoon: Arrive at Heartwood Lodge to pick up registration packet and room assignment. Coordinator will be onsite by 2 pm. If you arrive earlier than that, check in at Festival headquarters on the CCLC campus. Settle in, enjoy the comforts of this super comfortable lodge. Walk about the campus and do a little self-guided birding. Another option you might want to consider is the opening walks with the Birding Festival which will start with opening ceremonies at the CCLC campus at noon. Materials will be included in your prep materials to pre-register for these walks. A full description of the Festival activities will be listed on the website at www.downeastbirdfest.org. Before dinner we'll gather at Heartwood Lodge lobby at 5:15 pm for a social and the opportunity to meet other participants and one of your guides. Introductions and a layout of the week's plan will be confirmed.

Dinner: At The Commons (the dining area for Heartwood Lodge) you will join other festival participants for a delightful supper of soups and breads and salad.

Evening: This evening we will be joined by guest speaker: Malcolm L. Hunter, Jr., Libra Professor of Conservation Biology, Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, University of Maine. Program: "Of Birds and Beetles: Conserving Biodiversity in a Dynamic World" Maintaining the variety of life forms on Earth is a challenge; indeed, some would argue that it is the single most important issue we face. This is daunting work given the pace of global change, most notably climate change, but the natural world can be robust if we give it a half a chance and bird conservation provides some excellent examples of what we can accomplish

Cobscook Bay region in van trip with Bob & Sandi Duchesne
Trescott, Maine
Heartwood Lodge

Activity note: Seabirds, lighthouses, seals, porpoises, herring weirs and salmon pens.

Breakfast: Enjoy a nutritious breakfast Heartwood Lodge dining room

Morning: Today will be an all-day excursion with renowned birding expert and author Bob Duchesne, along with his wife Sandi. Bob and Sandi are festival favorites and you will find them both very engaging. This is a popular festival event with very limited enrollment. We will bird in five or six special habitats on Campobello Island and in the Cobscook Bay area to have the opportunity to see an inordinate variety of birds. Stops will be in spruce-fir forests, brush and pole stage timber, ocean and tidal flats, and fresh and tidal marshes - habitats for a great variety of birds from hummingbirds to gannets. This excursion will be at a leisurely pace to allow you to focus on new and/or favorite birds. Over the course of the day, it will be possible to see most of the birds expected to be in this area. Bring along your waterproof boots.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch along the trails. We will bring our lunches with us today.

Afternoon: You will continue your day with Bob and Sandi as they share their knowledge of the Cobscook Bay region, as well Campobello Island. You will probably spend some time on the carriage trails on Campobello and a few special spots Bob has in mind.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the Heartwood Lodge dining room.

Evening: After dinner, enjoy Bob Duchesne's "Birding by Ear" program, followed by review the day's bird sightings.

Field Trip to Machias Seal Island for Puffin Viewing
Trescott, Maine
Heartwood Lodge

Activity note: Alcids of all varieties. Atlantic Puffin, Common Muir, Razorbills, Guillemot

Breakfast: Nutritious breakfast at the Heartwood Lodge.

Morning: Heading out from CCLC in the morning, we'll be making a stop at West Quoddy Head. Many neo-tropical migrant birds may be seen along the coastal and inland trails, and the bog walk (if we have the energy and time). Permanent residents include Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay, Common Raven, Boreal Chickadee and White-winged and Red Crossbills. Some other species include Common Eider, Merlin, a great variety of migrating shorebirds, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, kinglets, Swainson’s, Bicknell's, and Hermit Thrush, two dozen species of warblers, Lincoln’s Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco; and seabirds.

Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at West Quoddy Head before we leave for Cutler.

Afternoon: We will be departing for Machias Seal Island, which has the largest Atlantic puffin colony along the Maine coastline. Your trip from Cutler Harbor, aboard the Barbara Frost with Captain Andy Patterson and our guide Colin Brown to the island will take about 60 minutes. You will have about two hours either on the island or in the waters surrounding the island (depending on the landing conditions). If you're interested in terns and alcids, this is your trip. Avian occupants include 3,000 Atlantic puffins, as well as razorbills, Arctic and common terns, common murres, black guillemots and common eiders. Other seabirds, such as northern gannets, black-legged kittiwakes, gulls, shearwaters, and storm petrels, are frequently sighted on the water. Bald eagles and seals are spotted often. This trip involves two open water transfers, one in Cutler Harbor to load onto the Barbara Frost, and another at Machias Seal Island if we are able to go ashore. You will be assisted by the boat's Captain on both maneuvers. The trip is exhilarating and the birds are a real treat.

Dinner: We'll join festival participants for a hearty, homemade dinner at the Cobscook Community Learning Center. This dinner has become a Festival tradition where guides and participants come together and share stories and findings to date. A choice of movie or a hike will follow dinner. Preceding dinner, we will enjoy a slide show of participants photographs. If you have some you want to share or take any during the festival, please feel free to join in with your submissions. Send them as an attachment to Dylan at: dylan@thecclc.org

Evening: We'll join resident guide Bob Duchesne and MNWR staff for an evening hike at Commissary Point or the Edmunds MNWR, hoping to see late-displaying woodcock. We'll explore a diverse selection of forest and field habitats, including areas managed specifically by Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to benefit woodcock, and which also provide homes to more than fifty other species that use the same areas. This property is also home to bears, coyotes, deer, porcupines, ruffed grouse, hares and many other species.

Travel to historic seaside village of Eastport , Maine
Trescott, Maine
Heartwood Lodge

Activity note: Seabirds, lighthouses, seals, porpoises, herring weirs and salmon pens.

Breakfast: Get up with the sun and enjoy a healthy breakfast at Heartwood Lodge dining room

Morning: Today, we will head to the little seaside city of Eastport, Maine. In the morning we board the traditional lobster boat, the Lady Patricia, with guide Woody Gillies. The boat is berthed at the picturesque Eastport breakwater. We'll slip around the many Canadian Maritime islands in Head Harbor Passage, getting an upclose and personal viewing of the spectacular scenery and plentiful wildlife. Bring your binoculars and camera. You may see shearwaters, storm-petrels, cormorants, ospreys, hawks, bald eagles, gulls, terns, and alcids. Seals, porpoises, herring weirs, salmon pens, and lighthouses will be part of the two-hour tour as well.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own in the seaside village of Eastport, choosing from Maine's best lobster roll at Quoddy Bay Lobster to a quiet lunch at an Eastport waterfront restaurant

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will continue the day's exploration Woody Gillies. We will stroll along the Passamaquoddy Walking Path as we look for birds through diverse coastal habitats. This paved path is located on the Passamaquoddy Reservation at Pleasant Point, also called Sipayik, and was once part of a railroad bed that ran to it's terminus in Eastport. A wide variety of migrating warblers and other passerines can be seen feeding and singing all along the path including American redstart, Wilson's warbler, blue-headed vireo, and ruby-crowned kinglet. Savannah sparrow and Nelson's sparrow nest in the open fields next to the ocean. Look for shorebirds such as short-billed dowitcher and wilson's snipe around the edges of the brackish pond. Swamp sparrow and common yellow-throat can be found in the marshy areas, Enjoy the expertise of your guide who is well versed in the Down East birding community.

Dinner: We'll make it for dinner at The Commons dining room with a good home-cooked style dinner.

Evening: Enjoy a birding expedition through the lens of Chris Bartlett, one of the finest festival guides. Chris also leads our late summer birding expeditions and he will show you the bounty of our Bay.

Exploring the habitats of Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge
Trescott, Maine
Heartwood Lodge

Activity note: Birding "freestyle" with Bill Kolodnicki

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet at Heartwood Lodge dining room. Take in the beautiful light over the bay in the early morning.

Morning: We'll be joined by our guide Bill Kolodnicki to make sure we haven't missed any of the offerings of the Bay area, like the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. If you are looking for a special species and haven't had any luck, maybe you will get lucky today.

Lunch: Pick up your bag lunch from The Commons and enjoy it on your free afternoon.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon birding on your own. You'll find a lot to explore right around the CCLC campus and the nearby bay. You may want to go back to Campobello and enjoy the RCIP grounds and visit the Roosevelt summer cottage and Visitor's Center if you are not able to make time before you leave tomorrow. There are two "Eleanor Roosevelt" teas daily at Hubbard. We'll help you reserve space if you decide to take part in one of those events.

Dinner: Enjoy an authentic home-cooked dinner at Heartwood Lodge dining room.

Evening: Graduation Festivities

Buffet Breakfast, Program Concludes
Trescott, Maine

Breakfast: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet at Heartwood Lodge dining room. Eat your fill and linger over that last cup of coffee while bidding farewell to your new birding acquaintances.

Morning: After breakfast we'll depart independently. Don't leave the bay area without spending some more time on the coastal byways on your way home. Have a safe trip!

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