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Join Naturalist Journeys on this exciting Maine Northwoods nature tour. The trip starts with time in Bar Harbor and a pelagic for seabirds and marine mammals, followed by five nights at the New England Outdoor Center.
Explore Baxter State Park and Katahdin Woods & Water National Monument looking for warblers, woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay, Spruce Grouse, and possibly even Bicknell’s Thrush.
- Enjoy a cruise off Bar Harbor—we keep our eyes peeled for puffins and whales
- Explore Baxter State Park for warblers, flycatchers, and more
- Relax at the lovely New England Outdoor Center and indulge at the Center’s River Drivers Restaurant, the perfect home base for our explorations
- Visit Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument looking for American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers, as well as Moose
Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.
Wed., July 10 : Arrivals in Bangor, Maine | Bangor Forest & Orono Bog
Please plan to arrive at Bangor International Airport (BGR) no later than 1:00 PM today. Your guide meets you at the airport; we plan to do some birding en route to Bar Harbor, so be sure your binoculars are handy and your shoes are good for short walks.
We include a good stop at the Bangor Forest and Orono Bog, an hour and a half northwest of Bar Harbor. This three-mile walk meanders through forested wetlands that surround the bog to the peat bog and a one-mile boardwalk, offering opportunities for some northern specialty birds like Lincoln’s Sparrow, Palm Warbler, Northern Harrier, and a host of breeding birds known to frequent the bog ecosystem and the edge habitat. Bogs form “boreal islands” with a high percentage of species of northern affinities and are regarded as relicts of former conditions associated with the Wisconsian glaciation. This prepare us for our Northwoods birding adventure where this habitat is plentiful. There is the possibility of Black Bear, White-tailed Deer, and Moose when we leave the coast and while driving into the northern forest.
Dinner tonight is at McKays Public House, a quaint and beautiful restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining and a delicious, locally sourced menu.
Accommodations at the Bar Harbor Inn (B,L,D)
Thurs., July 11 : Gulf of Maine & Outer Islands Pelagic | Mount Desert Island
Today we board the Friendship V, a double hulled catamaran built to smoothly maneuver through the Gulf of Maine waters. We travel 20 to 30 miles offshore in search of Arctic and Common Tern, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, and Common Murre rounding out the list of alcids that nest along the rocky shores of Maine’s small islands. We hope to encounter Humpback, Finback, and Minke Whales, and possibly encounter White-sided Dolphin, too.
Foraging among the whales, it’s possible to find swarms of Wilson’s and a few Leaches Storm-Petrels, Northern Gannet, Greater and Sooty Shearwaters, Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers, and other members of the ocean dwelling tubenose species.
This afternoon we head to Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. The only national park in Maine, Acadia is surrounded by quaint coastal New England communities with strong ties to the ocean. The largest island in an archipelago of 4600 islands is home to around 330 species of birds throughout the year.
We are back to Bar Harbor tonight for another delicious dinner and a good rest up before we head into the Northwoods tomorrow.
Accommodations at the Bar Harbor Inn (B,L,D)
Fri., July 12 – Mon., July 15 : Exploring from the New England Outdoor Center
The New England Outdoor Center (NEOC) is a recreational lakeside retreat, which has award winning views of Mount Kadahdin, Maine’s highest mountain at 5,269 feet. Named Katahdin by the Penobscot Indian Nation, it means “The Greatest Mountain,” and features many northern specialty birds. The on-site River Drivers Restaurant is delicious, and hosts the remainder of our dinners. Over the next four days, we explore and bird the area based out of this lovely retreat. Our breakfasts and dinners are at the Center’s lovely restaurant, and we typically enjoy a picnic lunch in the field.
The New England Outdoor Center hosts a fantastic array of habitats, including a lake and forested trails. We like to take time to explore right from our lodgings!
Katahdin Woods & Water National Monument
87,563 acres of mountains and forestland in northern Penobscot County, Maine, including a section of the East Branch Penobscot River. The monument is located on the eastern border of Maine's Baxter State Park. The views from KWWNM of Mt. Katahdin are spectacular. Nearby, the West Branch of the Penobscot River flows south out of the North Maine Woods.
Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument is our newest federal park in Maine. We continue to search for American Three-toed and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Spruce Grouse, and Boreal Chickadee. This is a great location for warblers and flycatchers, too, as well as Moose.
Baxter State Park
Baxter State Park was established in 1931 by 28 donations of land, in trust, from park donor Governor Percival P. Baxter between 1931 and 1962, eventually creating a park of over 200,000 acres (809 km2). The park is home to Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Bay-breasted Warbler, Canada Jay, and Spruce Grouse. We drive the famous loop road through the park. If the group wants a longer hike, we can make an attempt for Bicknell’s Thrush. Taking the Hunt Trail there is a possibility for Bay-breasted Warbler, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher as we climb to around 2800 feet where we should encounter the endangered Bicknell’s Thrush. This is optional.
We spend our time at Baxter looking for Moose and boreal specialty birds, an abundance of warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, and finches that breed in the northern Maine forest. White-winged and Red Crossbills are a key species we look for while also visiting known hotspots for Black-backed and American Three-toed Woodpeckers. We should witness Fox and Lincoln's Sparrows singing on their territories. We also have a great chance to witness some of the tougher warblers, such as Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Tennessee and Mourning, and northern forest flycatchers such as Alder, Least, Yellow-bellied, and Olive-sided.
The Golden Road
The Golden Road is a privately owned and mostly unpaved road, extending from Millinocket west over 100 miles to the Quebec border. It was established in the 1970s as a transportation conduit for raw wood to feed the hungry Great Northern Paper Company mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket. We travel parts of this road seeking boreal species in the woods and around many lakes and rivers of northern Maine. From Millinocket The Road skirts the southern boundary of Baxter State Park, then crosses Abol Bridge and travels along the south bank of the West Branch of the Penobscot River.
Your guide is local and has good contacts throughout the region. We plan one of our morning or afternoon outings as a “guide’s choice” day to look for key species that we may have dipped on and explore in areas that have had recent good bird reports.
Tues., July 16 : Departures from Bangor
Our journey comes to an end today as we travel south to Bangor International Airport. Today we say goodbye to the North Woods and our truly unique experience. It is an hour and a half drive from our lodge to the airport, so please plan flights out after NOON. (B)
Baxter State Park
Northern Harrier by Peg Abbott
Moose in Baxter State Park
Spruce Grouse by Greg Smith
American Three-toed Woodpecker by Bryan Calk
Barred Owl by Peg Abbott
Blue-headed Vireo by Carlos Sanchez
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher by MJ Good
Hairy Woodpecker by Peg Abbott
Northern Goshawk by Bryan Calk
Baxter State Park
Moose by Bryan Calk
Common Loon by Greg Smith
Yellow-billed Cuckoo by Carlos Sanchez
Cost of the Journey
Cost of the journey is $3890 DBL / $4890 SGL, based on double occupancy, from Bangor, Maine. Cost includes six nights’ accommodations, all meals as noted in the itinerary, airport transfers, ground transportation, professional guide services, park and other entrance fees, and miscellaneous program expenses. Not included is round-trip airfare to and from Bangor, personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, drinks from the bar, and gratuities for luggage handling or other services. Guide gratuities are at your discretion.
Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed.
Arrival and Departure Airport: Bangor International Airport (BGR)
Arrival Details: Plan to arrive July 10, no later than 1:00 PM
Departure Details: Plan July 16 flights after 12:00 PM
Travel Tip: You may wish to arrive a day early and rest up from your travels. Most hotels are within 10 minutes of the airport. If you’re interested in exploring around the town of Bangor, there are some fun things to do. You can go for a short stroll along the Penobscot River Walkway, which has scenic views of the Penobscot River. If you’re into transportation history, the Cole Land Transportation Museum has a large collection of historic Maine vehicles, including some unique antiques. Make sure you also swing by the massive Paul Bunyan statute, which is an iconic symbol in Bangor.
Browse below for trip reports and species lists from past versions of this and other tours from this destination.
Michael has more than 25 years of experience studying the birds of North America, and brings a wealth of knowledge about Neotropical migrants and the avifauna of the Eastern United States. Michael has traveled extensively in the US, Alaska, Europe, Australia, South America and Cuba. He is also a regional business leader promoting sound ecologically practices in business and land development. Michael has been guiding professionally for many years, focusing on avian ecology in the Gulf of Maine bioregion. His fields of expertise include wetland ecology, ornithology, environmental education and developmental biology. Michael worked for many years at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, studied numerous aspects of the Gulf of Maine.
In his spare time, he maintains Three Pines Bird Sanctuary in Town Hill, Maine, studying micro-habitat of Neotropical migratory birds on Mount Desert Island, Maine and winter ecology in various Neotropical countries, when given the opportunity.
Other trips with Michael Good
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- Trinidad & Tobago: Incredible Birds & Wildlife
James grew up in New Jersey and started birding at a young age. He continued that passion by getting an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine. Since then, he has worked and birded extensively across the United States, including conducting point counts and banding ducks in Maine; identifying and counting waterfowl in Nebraska; counting migrating raptors in Texas, Arizona and Wyoming; and surveying for Northern Goshawks in northern California. The past three springs he has been a bird guide in the Chiricahua mountains in southeast Arizona, and he enjoys sharing his passion for birds with others. His favorite bird is the Red-headed Woodpecker.
Other trips with James Petersen
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Photo credits: Banner: Mount Katahdin (NJ Stock), Canada Jay (NJ Stock), Atlantic White-sided Dolphins (NJ Stock), Spruce Grouse (NJ Stock), Reflected Lake (RootsLilla of Wikimedia Commons), Northern Harrier (NJ Stock) Primary Thumbnail Gallery: Mount Katahdin, Booth Harbor, Canada Jay, Cormorants in Harbor, Red Crossbills, Spruce Grouse, Moose, Booth Bay Harbor