2023 Maine – Monhegan Island
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Medium Group
Monhegan is a small, picturesque island of 1.5 square-miles that lies ten miles off the coast of central Maine. It is a prime stopover for southbound migrants and vagrants blown offshore, especially with the passage of a high-pressure system and the ensuing northwest winds. It can be expected to produce an excellent sampling of eastern North American resident and migrant species, with a fair chance for a few western and southern vagrants.
Previous excellent finds include Magnificent Frigatebird (!), Red-headed Woodpecker, Eastern & Western Kingbirds, Say’s Phoebe (!!), Golden-winged Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Clay-colored and Lark Sparrows, and Red and White-winged Crossbills. We found a Black Skimmer on the 2010 tour. We’ll watch for warblers and thrushes, finches and sparrows, and falcons and accipiters as we walk the island’s 17 miles of trails and check favored locations such as the Ice Pond, Lobster Cove, and Burnt Head.
Seabirds including guillemots, jaegers, shearwaters, and Northern Gannet are possible as we scan from the rocky headlands and during our 70-minute boat ride from the mainland. All four nights are in the same lodge on Monhegan.
Go on both the preceding Grand Manan (New Brunswick) and the Monhegan Tour, and the room and meals on the day between the two tours are at no extra charge! The Grand Manan Tour is described separately, under New Brunswick.
Duration: 6 days
Limit: 5 – 10
Date: 21 September – 26 September 2023
Start: Bangor, ME
End: Bangor, ME
US$3280 per person sharing assuming 5 – 10 participants
Single supplement: US$615
We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail [email protected] for details.
- Guiding fees
- Entrance fees
- All transport while on tour
- Domestic and International flights
- Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
- Alcoholic drinks
- Personal insurance
- Laundry Service
Arrive in Bangor, Maine
Arrival is at Bangor International Airport (BGR). Transfer to your hotel, where a room will be reserved in your name. We will gather in the hotel lobby, tentatively at 6:30 p.m. We’ll confirm this time at a later date. From there we will go out for an orientation dinner and to discuss tomorrow’s exciting events and what to expect on Monhegan Island.
Port Clyde and Monhegan Island
After breakfast we’ll drive south for two hours to the fishing village of Port Clyde on the Atlantic Coast. The Monhegan Boat Line will provide the transportation to our island destination. We will leave the van at the dock, as the ferry is for foot traffic only. All of our birding will be on scenic walking trails.
During the 70-minute crossing, we’ll look for pelagic species that may include Northern Gannet, Black Guillemot, rafts of Common Eiders, and possibly a Bald Eagle, Parasitic Jaeger, or Great Shearwater. We should also see Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoises, and maybe a WHALE or two. One year a migrant Cape May Warbler joined us on the boat for the entire crossing.
The next four nights will be in the quaint, comfortable Island Inn (or similar), overlooking Monhegan Harbor.
Day 3 - 5
Monhegan Island Trails and Waterfront
Each day will be a new adventure as we explore Monhegan’s 17 miles of walking trails. Most songbirds are nocturnal migrants, so we will spend much of the day searching for overnight arrivals. Places like the Ice Pond and the road to Lobster Cove can be especially productive, particularly if a cold front and resultant northwest winds push migrants out to sea from the mainland.
Lobster Cove is a great spot to watch for migrant raptors, waterfowl, seabirds, and a few shorebirds. Years ago after a storm we found a Magnificent Frigatebird there, the first Monhegan record! And we once spotted a King Eider close offshore among the thousands of Common Eiders. Backyard feeders can be quite active and yield species including Baltimore Oriole, Rusty Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Several feeding stations are famous for Dickcissel, Lark Sparrow, and Clay-colored Sparrow. We often find all three. One year along the road through the village we found a Say’s Phoebe and a Western Kingbird, during our first TWO HOURS on the island! Two years later we found yet another Say’s Phoebe, this one on Manana Island!
We’ll return to the lighthouse after our delicious dinner to look and listen for nocturnal migrants in the beam of the light.
We’ll spend our final hours on 700-acre Monhegan Island, then head for the dock and our return ferry ride to Port Clyde, which departs at 9:00am. It is at least a two-hour drive back to Bangor International Airport and your afternoon flights home.
MONHEGAN ISLAND, MAINE
22-26 September 2012
Top 10 lists are voted upon by the participants at the completion of each tour.
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.
Will we do any birding the first day?
Yes! We have birding planned if time allows and everything is on schedule.
How should I dress for the tour?
Check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.
Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?
There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.
What language are tours conducted in?
Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.
Can you help me book flights?
Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!
Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?
While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.
NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.
Do you provide trip insurance?
No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.
Are meals included?
For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.
Will I get seasick on the boat?
Most people will not get sick, although you should take precautions if you are prone to motion sickness, as the weather can dictate how rough the ride will be. There are various remedies sold at local pharmacies which can help relieve motion sickness and will make your trip more enjoyable.