Bird Treks - A Quality Birdwatching Tour Company


22-26 September 2012

  1) MERLIN--we had many sightings every day. These small falcons put on incredible aerial shows, dives, and chases.
  2) Golden-winged Warbler--this is a very rare bird on Monhegan. There was an adult male near the Ice Pond. After several attempts, we finally found it.
  3) Peregrine Falcon--not quite as numerous as the Merlin, but just as spectacular, if not more so.
  4) Clay-colored Sparrow--this is a rare species on the Atlantic Coast. We had great looks at 1 or 2 daily, especially at the seed pile near the lighthouse.
  5) Herring Gull--this immature gull spent a lot of time in the front yard of the Island Inn. It had a large amount of monofilament fishing line wrapped around its right leg. We were able to remove the line and hopefully allow the leg and foot to heal.
  6) Baltimore Oriole--several spectacular, prolonged scope views. These birds seemed to glow on their perches.
  7) Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker--many, many good scope views. One was occasionally being chased by a Merlin or Sharp-shinned Hawk.
  8) Red-breasted Nuthatch--at least hundreds daily, possibly a thousand or more. WOW! What an invasion!
  9) Wood Duck--a flock of 4 drakes circling the Ice Pond was absolutely stunning.
10) Ring-necked Pheasant--we saw 2 or 3 males daily. They put on quite a show, often at close range.

Marine mammals that we saw included a breaching Humpback Whale, 20 Gray Seals, 25 Harbor Seals, and 10 Harbor Porpoises. A Maritime Garter Snake was our only identified reptile. FOURTEEN species of butterflies included Mourning Cloak, Red Admiral, Monarch, Painted and American Ladies, Bronze Copper, Common Buckeye, Cloudless Sulphur (rare), Question Mark, and Eastern Comma. This is a nice butterfly assortment for so late in the season.

21-25 September 2009

  1) Lark Sparrow--A rather secretive individual at Tom and Josephine's feeders finally gave us excellent views in good light.
  2) Baltimore Oriole--We saw numerous Baltimore Orioles, but one was an exceptionally brightly-plumaged male that was frequently admired and discussed by all of the birders on the island.
  3) Bald Eagle--Nice looks at one or two adults every day.
  4) Ring-necked Pheasant--Pheasants are quite common on Monhegan and we saw quite a few every day, often at close range.
  5) Prairie Warbler--one cooperative individual was staked out in a row of Lilac bushes.
  6) Ruby-throated Hummingbird--Several hummers can be expected annually in late September. They are always admired and appreciated.
  7) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker--Daily observations, mostly of juveniles. They feed heavily in the abundant apple trees.
  8) Dickcissel--One gave its distinctive call note in flight, while another fed with Savannah Sparrows in a back yard in the village.
  9) Say's Phoebe--A single bird was found on Manana Island, across the harbor, catching insects from a rooftop. This is the 7th record for Monhegan. Our 2007 tour group found one in the village, the 6th record.
10) Cedar Waxwing--Always a big favorite.

Mammals included a single Minke Whale, numerous Harbor Porpoises and Harbor Seals, and a small pod of Gray Seals. Our butterflies were Mourning Cloak, Red Admiral, Monarch, White Cabbage, Orange Sulphur, and American Lady.

23-27 September 2008

  1) NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW--an elusive individual at Lobster Cove finally perched up for scope views. This bird is not commonly found on Monhegan.
  2) Clay-colored Sparrow--incredible looks on a daily basis, often in direct comparison with Chipping Sparrows. We saw as many as FOUR in one day.
  3) Yellow-throated Vireo--singing near the lighthouse. We had to work for it, which made the sighting all the more satisfying.
  4) Philadelphia Vireo--great looks near the cemetery.
  5) Black Guillemot--many good views whenever we checked the ocean.
  6) Semipalmated Plover--two juveniles were picturesquely perched on a rock jetty in the harbor.
  7) Peregrine Falcon--daily good views of this spectacular raptor.
  8) Lark Sparrow--close scope views every day, especially at Tom's feeders and a nearby weedy-seedy area.
  9) Orange-crowned Warbler--several good looks, right in the Village.
10) Dickcissel--the individual with the sparrow flock eluded us, but we saw and heard numerous birds in flight, as many as SEVEN in one day.

Minke Whale, Harbor Porpoise, and Harbor Seals all put on nice shows. Gray Seals were also seen. The Monarch flight was quite impressive, and there seemed to be many more Mourning Cloaks than usual.

26-30 September 2007

  1) AMERICAN BITTERN--Late in the afternoon it flew into the Marsh in the village. We watched it through the scope for at least 30 minutes, and showed it to many of the birders on the island. Later that evening we saw it leaving the Marsh, migrating south.
  2) Black-throated Green Warbler--Spectacular views of this handsome wood warbler.
  3) Black-crowned Night-Heron--Two adults perched in a spruce at the Ice Pond that showed a decidedly yellow tint around the face and neck.
  4) Brown Thrasher--sometimes just the way even a common bird is seen makes it special.
  5) Say's Phoebe--we found this 6th Monhegan and 12th Maine record within our first hour after landing on the island! It was seen throughout the afternoon, but not relocated on subsequent days.
  6) Wood Duck--the drake at the Ice Pond looked better everytime that we saw it.
  7) Yellow-billed Cuckoo--Several great prolonged views through the scope. One sat in the open for at least 20 minutes.
  8) Western Kingbird--we found this uncommon flycatcher on our first afternoon, soon after the Say's Phoebe. It too was gone by the next day.
  9) Black-headed X Ring-billed Gull--This was our best estimate of this bird's parentage. We saw it in the harbor and again later from the ferry near the Rocks. It was a rather striking bird in adult winter plumage.
10) Black Guillemot--from full summer to full winter plumage, always with the bright red legs and feet. This is a coastal Maine specialty.

On different occasions we saw Harbor Porpoises, Harbor Seals, and Gray Seals near the shores of Monhegan Island. We spent an evening with researcher Jeff Wells and Hans, a National Geographic videographer, learning about and watching modern electronic techniques for detecting the masses of songbirds that migrate after sunset.

25-29 Sep 2003

  1) MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD--an adult female, most likely the first record for the island.
  2) Lark Sparrow--a nicely marked young bird seen on several days.
  3) Merlin--seen daily. Saw one take a warbler and another capture a Flicker, within 30 minutes of each other.
  4) Yellow-crowned Night-Heron--juvenile bird arrived at the Ice Pond on southerly winds.
  5) Blue Grosbeak--great scope views of a rich, brown juvenile.
  6) Peregrine Falcon--great views flying and perched.
  7) Clay-colored Sparrow--a feeder mate of the Lark Sparrow.
  8) Nashville Warbler--many good views.
  9) Yellow-breasted Chat--brief glimpses of a pretty bird.
10) Parasitic Jaeger--chasing gulls near Lobster Cove during Hurricane Juan.

Mammalian highlights included 20 Gray Seals, large numbers of Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoises, plus one Minke and one Finback Whale. A friendly Northern Redbelly Snake topped the reptile list. We had incredible looks at an adult female Magnificent Frigatebird at Lobster Cove that was likely a delayed result of Hurricane Isabel. What was probably the same bird was seen at Gloucester and Marblehead Massachusetts two days later.

25-29 September 2001 (second tour)

  2) Bald Eagle
  3) Clay-colored Sparrow
  4) Cedar Waxwing
  5) Peregrine Falcon
  6) Lincoln's Sparrow
  7) Common Eider
  8) Black Guillemot
  9) Red-breasted Nuthatch
10) Scarlet Tanager
We also enjoyed the many Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoises that we scoped from shore.

20-24 September 2001 (first tour)

  2) Bobolink
  3) Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
  4) Lark Sparrow
  5) Cedar Waxwing
  6) Clay-colored Sparrow
  7) Balimore Oriole
  8) Parasitic Jaeger
  9) Black-throated Green Warbler
10) Northern Gannet
Several of us were lucky enough to see a NORTHERN WHEATEAR in New Jersey on our drive to Maine. We all enjoyed the 100's of Harbor Seals and small numbers of Harbor Porpoises.

Monhegan Island, Maine Trip Reports
by Mike Haldeman
20-24 September and 25-29 September 2001

Due to the events in New York City and Washington DC this year's tour to Grand Manan, New Brunswick was replaced with a tour to Monhegan Island, Maine. That meant two consecutive tours to this quaint island. The four days of the first tour did not produce the ideal weather conditions for a large migrant fallout, but we still found some excellent birds. The one-hour ferry ride from Port Clyde to the island started the tour with quick looks at Greater Shearwater, Parasitic Jaeger, Black-legged Kittiwake, and numbers of Northern Gannets. We saw an adult Bald Eagle and Black Guillemots before we even left the dock. Within fifteen minutes of our arrival we were enjoying close up views of Lark and Clay-colored Sparrows at the feeding station of Tom Martin, The Bird Man of Monhegan. Throughout the trip Tom's feeders provided us excellent opportunities for sparrow study including Clay-colored and Chipping Sparrows side by side, close looks at Lincoln's Sparrow, and as many as four Lark Sparrows at a time. We also had nearly constant views of Rusty Blackbird and an incredible close-up show of a richly colored fall-plumaged Bobolink, all the while being entertained by colorful stories of the last fifty years of Monhegan birding by Tom and his wife Josephine.

The many trails and few dirt roads that weave their way through this town misplaced by time gave us many chances for studying Tennessee, Nashville, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Palm, Blackpoll and Wilson's Warblers, among others. The island was inundated with Black-capped Chickadees, Purple Finches, and Baltimore Orioles. Other highlights included a Yellow-breasted Chat and close study of a first fall Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Merlins commonly harassed our quarry while Sharp-shinned Hawks spent their time chasing the abundant Northern Flickers. From the rocky coast we watched Northern Gannets of all plumages dive for fish as Common Eider, Black Scoter, and Black Guillemot patrolled the shores. Great Cormorants were in evidence among the more common Double-cresteds and Harbor Seals relaxed on the smaller islets. The coast was also the forum for our final hour American Pipits, four of them walking the rocks only twenty feet away.

The fog cleared and the skies brightened for the second tour. The ferry ride produced many Greater Shearwaters at close range due to the prevailing east winds. Our ocean scanning from the cliffs on the east side of the island yielded many Northern Gannets, migrating Common Loons and all three scoters, and several groups of Harbor Porpoises. The winds never fully swung around to the northwest but the migration picked up nonetheless. A White-crowned Sparrow joined the group at Tom's feeder, and Bay-breasted and Prairie warblers added to the flock at the Ice Pond. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks finally dropped in and a couple of Blue Grosbeaks, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and a Red-headed Woodpecker were nice finds this far north. The raptor shows continued through this tour with the Merlins dive-bombing everything that flew, many close fly-bys of Peregrine Falcons, and adult and immature Bald Eagles.

This New England migrant and vagrant trap combines great birding, the tranquility of a town from America's past, and, of course, incredible seafood to make an unforgettable tour.

26-30 Sep 2000

  2) King Eider
  3) Lark Sparrow
  4) Blue-winged Warbler
  5) Merlin
  6) Savannah Sparrow
  7) Whimbrel
  8) Black-throated Blue Warbler
  9) Lincoln's Sparrow
 10) Black Guillemot
In addition to the great birds we saw lots of Harbor Seals, a Smooth Green Snake, and lots of Mourning Cloaks, Red Admirals, and Monarchs. But our most unusual observation was a Northern Parula with a banana sticker on the side of its face!?!


MONHEGAN ISLAND, MAINE: 25 - 29 September 1998
  1) Clay-colored Sparrow
  2) Peregrine Falcon
  3) Merlin
  4) Cedar Waxwing
  5) Dickcissel
  6) Wood Duck
  7) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  8) Western Kingbird
  9) Great Cormorant
10) Golden-crowned Kinglet
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