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Field Guides Tour Report
Maine in Spring: Northeast Breeding Specialties 2018
May 26, 2018 to Jun 3, 2018
Eric Hynes & Cory Gregory

Black-throated Blue Warbler is a quintessential Northeast breeding specialty and this gorgeous male was so close we could almost reach out and touch him. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Thank you very much for choosing Field Guides to experience the birdlife and so much more that Maine has to offer. I think is a very special place and hopefully you feel the same way after adventure together. Blackburnian Warbler was voted the favorite species at the end of our tour, while American Woodcock and Bicknell's Thrush received honors as well. The final tally is 183 bird taxa, which is a new record (by two) for this itinerary.

We began in the southern, coastal area, where we found a number of songbird species at the northern edge of their breeding range. After checking various beaches, marshes and rocky shores, we tallied an impressive list of shorebirds as well. Sites particularly rich with birdlife that we visited included: Dyer Point, Goose Rocks, Biddeford Pool, Scarborough Marsh, Kennebunk Plains, Capisic Pond Park and Evergreen Cemetery. Some of the more noteworthy species we encountered were: Brant, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Piping Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Red Knot, Least Tern, Roseate Tern, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue-winged Warbler, Grasshopper Sparrow, Bobolink, and Orchard Oriole.

Our time in Bar Harbor was focused on Acadia National Park and a boat trip. It would have taken at least a week to see the majority of the park so we had to be selective. Sites within Acadia National Park where we enjoyed birding included: Sieur de Monts Spring, Valley Cove and Seawall. Our pelagic aboard the Friendship V visited Petit Manan Island, plus the outer waters areas known as East Bumps, The Ballpark and Mount Desert Rock. We did well in our short visit to Acadia, adding Barred Owl, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, Peregrine Falcon, Purple Sandpiper, and Arctic Tern, among others.

The third region of Maine we focused on was the western mountains, based out of Rangeley. A memorable birding stop en route was Messalonskee Lake where we picked up Black Tern, Sandhill Crane, Pied-billed Grebe, and Purple Martin. The northern forests surrounding the Rangeley Lakes are chock-full of warblers, thrushes, vireos, corvids, flycatchers, and finches. New species came fast and furious. We delighted in watching Black-throated Blue Warblers, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Gray Jays, Northern Waterthrushes, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, Boreal Chickadee, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, drumming Ruffed Grouse and the absolutely brilliant Blackburnian Warbler.

A side trip into New Hampshire was necessary to gain access to some krummholz: the gnarled, twisted, stunted forests of predominately red spruce and balsam fir that cling to the slopes of the mountains in the northeast. This habitat is the only place where Bicknell's Thrush breed. Our trip up the Mount Washington Auto Road was an unmitigated success. Adding a displaying American Woodcock was the cherry on top.

On our way back to Portland, we saw more Chalk-fronted Corporals than I knew existed, a Yellow-throated Vireo singing incessantly and an unexpected tree fall at Brownfield Bog. Making a beeline for the coast paid off that last afternoon together as we enjoyed superior looks at Roseate Terns at Pine Point before walking out Eastern Trail across Scarborough Marsh for Saltmarsh Sparrow, Tricolored Heron and a vagrant White-faced Ibis.

One more walk out the Eastern Trail our last morning was definitely worthwhile. We found a cooperative Nelson's Sparrow (which had eluded us the afternoon before), a strange hybrid heron of some sort, a Greater Yellowlegs, and an elusive Virginia Rail.

Thanks again for joining Cory and me. I hope this triplist sparks lots of fond memories. Have a fantastic summer and see you the field.

Take care,


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Purple Sandpiper is another regional specialty we saw extremely well. These hardy coast-huggers made us do a little rock scrabbling to put them in good light. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
BRANT (Branta bernicla) – A lingering small flock up against the jetty at Hills Beach was a welcomed surprise.
CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis) – A few pairs already had well-developed goslings.
WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa) – Only a couple fleeting glimpses.
GADWALL (Mareca strepera) – A handsome drake stood alone in the marsh behind the Pelreco building in Scarborough Marsh.
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) – Those ducklings up in Rangeley were the cutest.
AMERICAN BLACK DUCK (Anas rubripes) – Our best looks were from Eastern Trail.
COMMON EIDER (DRESSER'S) (Somateria mollissima dresseri) – This is the default duck along Maine's rocky coast.
SURF SCOTER (Melanitta perspicillata) – Cory picked out an individual among all those Black Scoters off Seawall.
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (NORTH AMERICAN) (Melanitta fusca deglandi) – Usually this is the most numerous scoter still on the coast during the tour, but not this year.
BLACK SCOTER (Melanitta americana) – The gathering off Seawall in Acadia National Park was impressive. Their nearly simultaneous diving was memorable.
COMMON GOLDENEYE (Bucephala clangula) – The lone drake still on the coast at Biddeford Pool was unexpected.
HOODED MERGANSER (Lophodytes cucullatus) – The hen on the log up in Rangeley turned out to be the only one of the tour.
COMMON MERGANSER (Mergus merganser) – This species is not known to be particularly vocal but on more than one occasion we witnessed a hen overhead giving a low, barking call.

Our first evening along the coast was a touch gloomy and yet eerily beautiful at the same time. Guide Cory Gregory did a splendid job of capturing the atmosphere in this image from Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth.

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER (Mergus serrator) – An individual flew by us at Seawall while we were picnicking.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
RUFFED GROUSE (Bonasa umbellus) – We never laid eyes on one, but some of us could hear drumming on more than one occasion in the north woods. [*]
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – One of the first species to make the list our first evening as we drove to our dinner spot.
Gaviidae (Loons)
RED-THROATED LOON (Gavia stellata) – Good spotting Tom! We studied this species distinctive profile at Seawall.
COMMON LOON (Gavia immer) – Hearing this splendid species calling at night is always magical.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – Laura's sharp eyes alerted us to this sometimes reclusive species in the marsh at Messalonskee.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
NORTHERN GANNET (Morus bassanus) – Three different immature birds buzzed the boat during our pelagic trip.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus) – More days than not.

Semipalmated Sandpipers are by far the most numerous migrant shorebird in Maine but we teased out a Dunlin, plus some Sanderlings and White-rumped Sandpipers in this flock as well. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – Russ to the rescue! He spotted our first at Brownfield Bog on the penultimate day. We went on to find a few more at Scarborough Marsh but their numbers aren't what they used to be, so the state has started monitoring their breeding colonies.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Plenty of good looks at Scarborough Marsh.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula) – Also easily seen in even larger numbers at Scarborough Marsh.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – We saw one during our second afternoon visit to Scarborough Marsh and then two together during our return visit the next morning. Two is a noteworthy count for a species that is more common to the south.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – We observed a patient "snipper" thrash and consume a frog still absorbing its tail.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Portugal. The Man kept us from my preferred parking spot but we managed to scope a couple roosting birds at Mercy Hospital anyway.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Seen regularly at Scarborough Marsh.
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – In the last decade, this western species has become almost annual in spring migration around Scarborough Marsh. We managed to tease one out of the flock off the Eastern Trail.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Overhead most days.

The semipalmata or "Eastern" subspecies of Willet is a very conspicuous breeder in the coastal marshes of Maine. Their aerial displays our final morning rose to a cacophony. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Lots of nesting birds in Maine now. It is great to see their recovery from DDT.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus) – One bird glided over the canopy while we were working on our first Black-throated Blue Warbler.
BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) – One adult was particularly active each time we visited Scarborough Marsh.
BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – This long-distance migrant is a common breeder in Maine. We all scored our first from a Subway parking lot.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – More days than not.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola) – The only time this marsh breeder came into view was the last morning.
Gruidae (Cranes)
SANDHILL CRANE (Antigone canadensis) – It was exciting to see this rare breeder in Maine at Messalonskee; good spotting, Gary.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Some of the late migrants we observed might not bother continuing all the way up to their arctic breeding grounds.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus) – The more we scanned, the more we found at Goose Rocks.
PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus) – This state endangered bird allowed us some excellent views in Kennebunkport.

We enjoyed an awesome encounter with a family of Barred Owls at Acadia National Park. Guide Cory Gregory shared this photo of the adult.

KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) – We scored a pair in the exact same location as last year's tour.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
UPLAND SANDPIPER (Bartramia longicauda) – Seeing and hearing this distinctive shorebird at Kennebunk Plains was a definite highlight. One individual sustained an aerial display way overhead for several minutes.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – The one bird roosting at Fortunes Rocks turned out to be the only one of the tour, surprisingly.
RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) – Three salmon-bellied migrants foraged on the mud flats at Pine Point.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – This is a species we often miss on this tour. They show up in big numbers in fall migration but are far less common in spring.
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina) – Our first was at Goose Rocks but we followed that with good numbers at Pine Point.
PURPLE SANDPIPER (Calidris maritima) – After an uncooperative bird the first evening, we were delighted to get much better views of this regional specialty during our time in Acadia National Park.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla) – We could hear them calling "meet meet eet" when the mixed flock of shorebirds.
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (Calidris fuscicollis) – It was a little tricky separating these guys from all the Semipalmated Sandpipers... until they all took to the wing.
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER (Calidris pusilla) – The most common peep on the Maine coast.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus) – There were dozens and dozens probing the mud at Pine Point.
AMERICAN WOODCOCK (Scolopax minor) – Our first attempt was weathered out. Our second attempt they were a no-show. I was not looking forward to getting backed into a corner on the last night, so it was a tremendous relief to hear that first peent when I stuck my head out of the specialized van. What an awesome show in the spotlight. It turned out to the one of the top vote getters.

During our "Whales and Puffins Cruise" we visited Petit Manan Island where Razorbills and Atlantic Puffins were all around the boat. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus) – Two small flocks were seen briefly while motoring farther offshore during our boat trip out of Bar Harbor.
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – We caught a few on the rocks the first evening.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca) – We finally caught up to a migrant the last morning.
WILLET (EASTERN) (Tringa semipalmata semipalmata) – Scarborough Marsh is loaded with these clamorous shorebirds.
Alcidae (Auks, Murres, and Puffins)
RAZORBILL (Alca torda) – Great looks at Petit Manan Island during our boat trip.
BLACK GUILLEMOT (Cepphus grylle) – I love their brilliant red feet. This Alcid hugs the coast more than its cousins and is the least migratory.
ATLANTIC PUFFIN (Fratercula arctica) – Another species we saw well at their breeding colony at Petit Manan Island.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla) – Numerous.
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis) – Not as many in the Rangeley area as I am used to seeing.
HERRING GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus argentatus smithsonianus) – Abundant along the coast.
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larus marinus) – Common along the coast but not as numerous as the previous species.
LEAST TERN (Sternula antillarum) – We first saw these tiny, state-endangered terns at Goose Rocks.
BLACK TERN (Chlidonias niger) – Their breeding plumage is simply gorgeous. Messalonskee is one of only four known breeding sites in the state, so they are listed as a "species of greatest conservation need."

Black-capped Chickadee is Maine's state bird and we enjoyed these charismatic songbirds throughout the tour. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

ROSEATE TERN (Sterna dougallii) – Our views late in the tour off Pine Point were far more satisfying; nice to compare them to Common Tern in good light.
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – The most conspicuous tern along the Maine coast.
ARCTIC TERN (Sterna paradisaea) – Only during our pelagic trip with best views near the breeding colony at Petit Manan.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Of course. [I]
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura) – More days than not.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) – We heard this uncommon breeder at Kennebunk Plains singing its "dripping water" or "coo" song repeatedly. [*]
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) – While listening for owls on our night excursion in Rangeley, one could be heard softly singing. [*]
Strigidae (Owls)
BARRED OWL (Strix varia) – What a wonderful experience with a calling adult and two fuzzy kids in Acadia National Park.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor) – Some of us saw a foraging bird pass overhead while waiting for American Woodcocks to start displaying.

A small flock of Cedar Waxwings entertained us two mornings in a row as they busily gobbled down apple blossoms. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus vociferus) – Given the cold, damp conditions, we were fortunate to hear a brief chorus of four birds at dusk. [*]
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica) – Plenty overhead in several communities.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) – About an every other day bird.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – Three birds chattering overhead outside Rangeley was a surprising high count in one location for this species.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes carolinus) – One was calling briefly in the distance at Kennebunk Plains. [*]
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – What a great show we enjoyed on the south side of Rangeley Lake.
DOWNY WOODPECKER (Picoides pubescens) – Multiple days.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – Also seen well multiple days.
NORTHERN FLICKER (YELLOW-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus luteus) – We probably heard more than we saw.
PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus) – Two sightings stood out: a record distance flight over open terrain at Kennebunk Plains and an unlikely roadkill bird in NH.

Immersing ourselves in the expansive nature of the western mountains of Maine was good for the soul. This idyllic scene is from the boat launch on the north shore of Upper Richardson Lake. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – We had excellent scope views at the Precipice Trailhead parking area and heard calling birds (likely begging juveniles) at Valley Cove -- both in Acadia National Park.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Contopus cooperi) – The cooperative and vocal pair up in Rangeley were a treat.
EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) – One bird sang and sang but its perch remained hidden from all of us. [*]
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Empidonax flaviventris) – We did well with this species in the northern forest.
ALDER FLYCATCHER (Empidonax alnorum) – We came across this species more often than the other Empids.
WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii) – This is an uncommon breeder in Maine. We caught up to one in Brownfield Bog and heard another briefly at Scarborough Marsh.
LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus) – These guys were most obliging in Grafton Notch State Park.
EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe) – A common breeder in Maine.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – We heard these large flycatchers a lot more than we saw them.
EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus) – The pair at the edge of Great Pond in Biddeford Pool were welcomed companions during our picnic lunch out of the wind.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – We only encountered this species at the edge of its range at Brownfield Bog. One bird gave us good looks but also sang and sang and sang.

Here are just a few of the hundreds of Harbor Seals we observed loafing on Mount Desert Rock. A lesser number of their larger cousin, the Gray Seal, were present as well. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius) – We had to get up into the northern forest to see this beautiful vireo.
PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Vireo philadelphicus) – I love it when an old, reliable location remains that way; we could see the buttery throat well in the scope.
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus) – There seemed to be fewer around this year; our best looks were at Brownfield Bog.
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – One of the most common breeders in the forests of the northeast.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
GRAY JAY (Perisoreus canadensis) – Well on its way to being Canada Jay again; we had curious families approach us in several places.
BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata) – More days than not.
AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos) – An every day bird.
FISH CROW (Corvus ossifragus) – It was tough to hear their distinctive calls over the road noise in Saco but the primary formula difference was evident in the photos and the quicker wingbeats were noticeable as well.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax) – Only during the latter half of the tour.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis) – The colony near Messalonskee seems to be doing well.
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – Not as many as there used to be but we saw some most days.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – Only encountered briefly at a couple locations.

This Red-eyed Vireo foraged close enough to us that we could appreciate the blood red eye. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Plenty of good looks.
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) – The colony behind the Pelreco building seems to be way down.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (Poecile atricapillus) – Maine's state bird.
BOREAL CHICKADEE (Poecile hudsonicus) – We had to search to find this boreal obligate but one bird gave everybody a good look outside Rangeley.
TUFTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus bicolor) – In the forests in southern Maine.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis) – There were many in the western mountains this year.
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis) – Another bird found primarily in the forests of southern Maine.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana) – We kept hearing them and eventually saw one well outside Rangeley.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Several times along the southern coast.
WINTER WREN (Troglodytes hiemalis hiemalis) – I heard more this year than in years past but they remain a pain to try and see well.
MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) – A bonus pick-up when we turned around for Killdeer.

Saltmarsh Sparrow was definitely on the most wanted list so we were thrilled to see and hear them so well at Scarborough Marsh toward the end of the tour. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

Regulidae (Kinglets)
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus satrapa) – One several days in the western mountains but more inconspicuous than usual.
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula) – Where were these sprites this year? Normally this is a very conspicuous species in the northern forest. Perhaps they were well into their nesting and keeping a low profile.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis) – It was surprising to see a pair pop up in a bog outside Rangeley.
VEERY (Catharus fuscescens) – What an interesting song.
BICKNELL'S THRUSH (Catharus bicknelli) – It becomes stressful when one of the primary targets doesn't come into play until the end of a tour but the wait was worth it. Our evening up on Mount Washington in NH was magical. After getting that look we all wanted, it made the chorus at dusk that much sweeter.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – Plenty in the northern forest.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) – One of my favorite songs.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – The pair in Evergreen Cemetery turned out to be the only ones we saw the whole tour. Sadly, this species is declining rapidly.
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius) – This species is clearly not of conservation concern.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) – More days than not.
BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum) – They were singing up a storm this year at Kennebunk Plains.

Our experience up on Mount Washington was not to be forgotten. Participant Ann Scarfe shared this memento of the krummholz or "crooked wood," home of the Bicknell's Thrush.

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) – Plenty along the southern coast.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Yep. [I]
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum) – The small flock foraging on the apple blossoms next to the bridge was unforgettable.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – Once we found one singing from an elevated perch, we were able to observe through a scope and see its whole body pulsating to crank out that emphatic song.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Another warbler with an emphatic song.
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera) – We had one bird come in pretty close but the thick vegetation kept some of us from getting a clear view.
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – Great looks at this striking bird.
NASHVILLE WARBLER (Oreothlypis ruficapilla) – Only in the northern forest.
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) – A common breeder in Maine.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – These fantastic warblers are all over the place in Maine. The only day we didn't encounter one was the first evening.
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) – Daily during the second half of the tour.
MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia) – Lots in the northern forest.

Gray Jays are always entertaining. We were lucky to come upon several family groups. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – Voted the favorite bird of the tour. That gorgeous male just sang and sang in the sunlight -- some serious eye candy!
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – They were thick at Brownfield Bog.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – We enjoyed excellent looks our first morning together.
BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Setophaga striata) – There were still quite a few migrants passing through the Portland area.
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens) – We enjoyed some stunning looks at this decidedly eastern warbler.
PALM WARBLER (YELLOW) (Setophaga palmarum hypochrysea) – This species is very much tied to bogs for breeding.
PINE WARBLER (Setophaga pinus) – We cleaned this one up at Kennebunk Plains.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata) – Multiple days, multiple locations.
PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor) – One of the first birds we saw well on the tour; what a distinctive song.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – A common breeder in Maine.
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis) – We encountered a few tardy migrants along the coast before seeing some in the northern forest on their breeding grounds.
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – Our only one was a singing migrant along the shore of Capisic Pond in Portland.
Passerellidae (New World Buntings and Sparrows)
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum) – It is challenging to hear them sing but we certainly had good scope views of bird singing at Kennebunk Plains.

While not exactly a highlight, our fallen tree incident certainly was interesting. Cory found Matt Dillon, his chainsaw and his sidekick Spike, just outside Brownfield Bog WMA thankfully. Remarkably, we were back on the road in less than an hour. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

NELSON'S SPARROW (ATLANTIC COAST) (Ammodramus nelsoni subvirgatus) – The last addition to the triplist on our final morning. This subspecies is particularly washed out and blurry.
SALTMARSH SPARROW (Ammodramus caudacutus caudacutus) – Wow - what a show. Those were some of the best looks I have ever had at this range-restricted species and I have never heard them sing so much. It must have been our timing.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina) – More days than not.
FIELD SPARROW (Spizella pusilla) – Only at Kennebunk Plains and in smaller numbers than I am used to encountering there but we had a great scope view.
DARK-EYED JUNCO (SLATE-COLORED) (Junco hyemalis hyemalis) – In the northern forest.
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis) – What a delightful song; their tone quality can't be beat.
VESPER SPARROW (Pooecetes gramineus) – Thanks for getting us on that bird Connie!
SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis) – Also at Kennebunk Plains.
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia) – Practically everywhere.
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii) – Some of us got bins on this uncommon migrant along the boardwalk at Sieur de Monts Spring.
SWAMP SPARROW (Melospiza georgiana) – Their lazy trill was heard at a number of our wetland stops.
EASTERN TOWHEE (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) – Great looks at Kennebunk Plains.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – We got lucky when we found a nest at Evergreen Cemetery.

Black Guillemots are the most overlooked alcid. The don't get all the attention that puffins do but with those clean white underwings and cherry red feet, they are more eye-catching in some ways. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – Mostly along the southern coast.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – A few quick looks at several stops.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
BOBOLINK (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) – We witnessed a tremendous performance in Saco.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (EASTERN) (Sturnella magna magna) – Seen and heard well at Kennebunk Plains.
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – A male held its perch nicely for all to see at Capisic Pond in Portland. Capisic is one of the only places they are routinely seen in Maine.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – One male was singing sort of a funky song at Messalonskee. He had us looking for a chat.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – No shortage of these guys.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (Molothrus ater) – Here and there.
COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula) – Common works for this bird.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) – Mostly during the first couple of days.
PURPLE FINCH (Haemorhous purpureus) – Lots of singing in the northern forests.
RED CROSSBILL (Loxia curvirostra) – Few of us got on a small flock before they flew off and at another point their call notes were heard.

We had our share of lobster rolls along the way but none larger than the one Russ was served in Bar Harbor. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL (Loxia leucoptera) – Two flew over calling outside Rangeley.
PINE SISKIN (Spinus pinus) – Quite a few in the Rangeley area this year.
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (Spinus tristis) – An every day bird.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – We missed it on Day 6! [I]

SNOWSHOE HARE (Lepus americanus) – Seen well several times outside Rangeley.
PLAIN EASTERN CHIPMUNK (Tamias striatus) – We heard more than we saw.
WOODCHUCK (Marmota monax) – Gary helped get this one on the list.
EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus carolinensis) – Many.
RED SQUIRREL (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) – The number of Red Squirrels jumping off Boy Scout Road as we drove in one morning was astounding. It was not a good sign for nesting songbirds this season.
MUSKRAT (Ondatra zibethica) – Almost underfoot at Brownfield Bog.
NORTH AMERICAN PORCUPINE (Erethizon dorsatum) – Two live ones along the road during our night drive was a refreshing change from all the roadkill we had seen.
HARBOR PORPOISE (Phocoena phocoena) – A few of us spotted one or two in Frenchman Bay shortly after leaving the dock.
RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) – We watched one along the road our final morning.
COYOTE (Canis latrans) – A large individual crossed Route 16 early one morning.
HARBOR SEAL (Phoca vitulina) – Many on various islands during the boat trip.

Hearing their calls on inland lakes was special but our closest looks at Common Loons were on the ocean. Immature birds like this one spend years at sea until they are old enough to breed. Photo by guide Eric Hynes.

GRAY SEAL (Halichoerus grypus) – This large cousin with the "horse head" was seen at Mount Desert Rock.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – Those tiny hoof prints at Brownfield Bog were remarkable.
MOOSE (Alces alces) – Only one this year and it didn't stay in view very long.
AMERICAN BULLFROG (Lithobates catesbeianus) – I am not sure if anyone laid eyes on this species but we certainly heard them. [*]
GREEN FROG (Lithobates clamitans) – Heard lots of these guys and some might have seen a few.
PAINTED TURTLE (Chrysemys picta) – Sunning on logs.
COMMON SNAPPING TURTLE (Chelydra serpentina) – That head of the biggest one in the pond at Evergreen Cemetery was the size of a softball (or larger).
AMERICAN TOAD (Anaxyrus americanus) – A lovely purr-like trill could be heard at night in Rangeley and we saw one at night in NH.
SPRING PEEPER (Pseudocris crucifer) – Almost deafening behind our motel in Rangeley.


A Common Garter Snake at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park was the only snake of the tour.

Barb McLintock and Ann Scarfe authored this delightful summary of our adventure:

Into the city of Portland Maine

On a fine spring day in May

Came fourteen birders from here and from there

With guides Eric and Cory to show them the way.

Near Portland Cory went a hunting

To find us all an American Bunting. Thatʼs not a bird, Eric said,

But rather a drape of blue, white and red.

Steve came east from Colorado

To search the forest through

He was very much delighted

With his first Black-throated Blue.

That statue at New England U

Gave rise to many a joke and pun

But when Laura said it had kidney stones

It led to such laughter with that sense of fun.

There are birders and then there are spouses of birders

And daughters of birders too

When Betsy and mother go off on adventures

Thereʼs no telling what they will do.

Collette loved the birds along the way

That Halloween warbler made her day.

And she made a unique find far from home

In the park was a traveling Femo gnome.

Marie came north from Georgia

New birds to make her sputter

But those lilacs and those lilies too

They set her heart a flutter.

Barry liked his birds so much

A new camera he did buy

Expert coaching from both our guides

Meant nothing passed him by.

Eagle-eyed Teri saw them all

Shrubs and trees and flowers tall

Those Latin names she modestly called

And on I-naturalist was enthralled.

Kennebunk plain was full of sparrows

So many that our brows did furrow

But Connie did not merely whisper

When she found our one lone Vesper.

When Messalonskee Lake we passed

We stopped to look out in the grass,

But the lumber yard we needed to gain

For Gary to find us our Sandhill Crane.

Kris likes to wander down the road

Some new birds for to spy

But on the spot he surely was

To name those crossbills on the fly.

Tom had great eyes for water birds

The Green Heron he did spot

And then at beautiful Seawall Beach

That red-throated loon he caught.

The dragonflies at Brownfield Bog

Found Annʼs shirt a fine abode.

So numerously did they come

That we ended up calling her Ann the ode.

Barb loves to walk the great outdoors

Birds and flowers and mushrooms fine,

Many new views for her this trip,

The best? Maybe her lifer porcupines!

Itʼs not the rarest bird on the list

But weʼd missed it on all the past days.

So a cheer went up when a Great Blue Heron

Fell under Russʼs sharp gaze.

To get up to the Alpine air,

We needed to borrow two drivers fair

Wink and Sue rose to the heights

So we could hear those thrushes sing in the night.

There was a tree where it shouldnʼt be

So Cory found Matt and his dog Spike

And also his chain saw which worked so well

We all were spared a very long hike.

As for guides Eric and Cory, what can we say?

They searched for birds by day and by night

And taught us so much about all nature too

Our hearts were always filled with delight.

But now our trip is nearly oʼer

And homeward we must go

Many fine birds we all have seen

And many new friends come to know.

Many a laugh and joke we have shared

And as we part with a sigh

We know weʼll all keep birding on.

This is au revoir but not goodbye.

Totals for the tour: 183 bird taxa and 14 mammal taxa