Experience the joy of fall migration from Maine’s beloved Monhegan Island. Imagine a birding holiday on a remote and picturesque island where life slows down, and there are no roads and no cars. Monhegan’s geographic position forms a natural migration hotspot, and YOU can spend time here, with a bird expert, to learn, see, and do! We also visit the largest island in the Gulf of Maine, Mount Desert Island (MDI), home to Acadia National Park, where we explore pelagic species from the catamaran Friendship V and seek out fall migrants.

Birds flying south in migration, particularly if there are northwest winds, can get off track and find themselves at dawn out at sea. Once they correct, the almost 2-mile long island of Monhegan is a magnet, a patch of green where they can land for food and shelter. They find shelter in the island’s spruce woods as well as the ample food sources found in the village gardens—viburnum berries, lots of seeds, and insects existing in the clusters of branches and leaf litter. Migrants include a wide variety of warblers, thrushes, vireos, and flycatchers, such as Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Cape May Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, and more! Mount Desert Island acts in a similar way attracting shorebirds, Neotropical migrants and rarities.

Monhegan is privately owned and has over a dozen miles of trails; 350 of its 513 acres are protected by an easement with a local conservation organization, the Monhegan Associates. In addition to the spruce woods to explore, there are gardens, rocky shorelines, 150+ ft. sea cliffs, raspberry tangles, two wet meadows, and a narrow band of red maple swamp. Less than 70 residents live here year-round. The lighthouse site goes back to 1824 while the current light structure dates from 1856 and was automated in 1959. A bench atop Lighthouse Hills affords a fine view!

We start at the Hampton Inn, near the Portland Airport on our first night before departing on our ferry to the island. The food on the island is truly fine dining, with some wonderful local dishes (yes lobster—even at breakfast with scrambled eggs). Take a peek at their menu on the Island Inn website. Our rooms have private bath, and most of our breakfasts and dinners are here, with a chance to sample other island fare at lunch time. The Inn has WIFI, a common phone in the lobby, and bring-your-own for alcoholic libations.

Buildings of the small village are colorful. So are the docks, fishing gear, stacks of lobster pots, and lichens which grown on rocks and aging wood structures. Rocking chairs on the large front porch lend a view of Manana Island which protects the quiet Monhegan harbor. For the first three years of Naturalist Journeys’ history, we made annual fall treks with our groups to Monhegan Island.

We also take the time to explore Acadia National Park on the magnificent coastal island of Mount Desert Island, visiting a Peregrine Falcon nest sight, looking for Spruce and Ruffed Grouse, and exploring wetlands and spruce forests for warblers, shorebirds, and sparrows. The pelagic tour leaves from Bar Harbor searching for Humpback and Fin Whales while birding 20 to 30 miles offshore for shearwaters, phalaropes, and Atlantic Puffin.

This Monhegan and Mount Desert Island birding trip has fantastic birding and a quaint, quintessentially “Maine” coastal village experiences, home to artists in the summer and some hardy fishermen year-round. Ten miles off the mainland, we take a one-hour ferry to get on and off the island and drive to the largest Gulf of Maine Island.

  • “Our visit to Monhegan Island was wonderful. We loved the landscape, the food, the history, and the culture – as well as the birds.” — Bonnie Bowen & Rolf Kolford, 2023 Travelers
  • “An easy-paced nature tour with lovely accommodations, great food, fantastic scenery and not much driving.” — Janet Mersey, 2023 Traveler
  • “Monhegan Island is a place I would love to go back to for its birds, its peaceful atmosphere and the views of the coast on the south perimeter. We had the opportunity here to go on a whale watch tour, and saw some pelagic bird species like jaegers and Atlantic Puffins and also had some fantastic views of minke, humpback and fin whales.” — Kathy Ballhoefer, 2023 Traveler

Tour Highlights

  • Bird wetlands, farmlands, and coastal areas near Portland, Maine, a major hotspot for migrating shorebirds and waders, en route to Monhegan
  • Watch for seabirds such as Great Shearwater on the ferry ride to and from Monhegan Island
  • Discover in-depth Maine’s top eBird hotspot over your island days
  • Search for warblers, vireos, and flycatchers around Ice Pond, a freshwater inland pond
  • Bird from Monhegan Island’s unpaved roads and well-established trail system
  • Learn new skills with time to study fall plumage warblers, sparrows, gulls, and other groups in detail
  • Relax and go with the flow of migration; each day brings a new surprise (porch time on the rocking chairs with a view allowed!)
  • Discover Bar Harbor and the diversity of birding Acadia National Park and pelagic birds of the Gulf of Maine
  • Bookend your island time with time in Portland and Bangor as we add twenty or more species to our island list

Trip Itinerary

Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.

Sun., Sept. 8       Arrivals in Portland, Maine

Welcome to Maine! Your trip starts today from Portland where you are met at the airport by your guide. For birding today, please plan to arrive no later than 2:00 PM. If you arrive later, simply take the hotel shuttle and plan to meet the group for dinner, a lobby meet-up at 6:45 PM. From the airport we plan to stop at our hotel, check in, and then head out for some afternoon birding. Tonight, we kick off the trip with our welcome dinner, and a chance to meet all our traveling companions and guides.
Accommodations at the Embassy Suites (D)

Mon., Sept. 9       Morning Birding | Afternoon Ferry to Monhegan Island

This morning we depart by 7:30 AM after breakfast and packing up our gear. We check a few birding hotspots (mainly marshes and ponds, with hopes of secretive Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrow and some mainland-preferring shorebirds such as Dunlin) close to the city, and a few more as we head north to New Harbor to catch the Hardy Ferry, passing through New Brunswick. If we drove straight it’s about an hour and a half, so we have time for stops. If it’s good weather we pick up seafood or a picnic, if not, we find some nice fresh fish or lobster rolls indoors to sample.

The good news is the ferry ride is only about an hour, you may want to be up on deck to spot possible seabirds en route. Even if foggy we should get glimpses of Northern Gannet, Common Eider, Black Guillemot, Red-necked Phalarope, and perhaps all three scoters. With good light we may spot Great Shearwater or see big flocks of migrating Blue Jay. An excellent find would include Black-legged Kittiwake mixed in with the more common gulls–Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed being the most common of this clan.

We dock and have help to get our luggage up to the hotel, which sits imposingly over the harbor, commanding a lovely view. Immediately you are thrown back in time, and for the next few days the only thing you really have to do is to eat and bird! As time permits, we wander the few streets of the village where gardens provide food and shelter for migrants, getting an immediate read on the bird activity. Over thirty species of warblers have been noted on the island—you have a superb chance to see at least 25 on this trip.

The first glance at the Island Inn’s dinner menu will bring you a smile, thankfully you have several evenings to make a dent in it. Start with New England Clam Chowder, Lobster Bisque, or try the Heirloom Beets. Then how about halibut, haddock or fresh scallops, or if you prefer, pork chops or several vegetarian options including Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms and Lemon Risotto and watercress.
Accommodations at the Island Inn (B,L,D)

Tues., Sept. 10 & Wed., Sept. 11      Two Full Days on Monhegan Island

Fall migration is in full swing! While we never know if our check of the southeast facing beaches reveals scores of birds arriving, we do know we should find a steady stream of a variety of species, usually tallying about 100-120 species for the trip, depending on conditions and how we do on the mainland as well. Over the next two days, our daily plans are fluid, moving with the flow of migration and following up on sightings reported around the island. There is an excellent trail map, and we need time to both check the always-productive village and garden area, but to also make it over to sea watch areas on headlands where we gaze out for possible Cory Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Northern Gannet, and Northern Fulmar. Offshore ledges and coastlines are attractive to Double-crested and Great Cormorants sunning themselves, and in quiet coves we may find Great Blue Heron, Snowy or Great Egrets, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, or a Belted Kingfisher.

Raptors use the island, with Merlin being one of the most common, to hunt birds on the wing over land and sea. Osprey and Bald Eagle call, both fairly common, as well as Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, and Sharp-shinned Hawk. Peregrine Falcon patrol the cliff areas.

Island trails are a mix, many are wide, well-marked and leisurely, some have steeper and rocky sections that when wet can require caution. All cliff edges and rocky sea areas require caution. But for the most part we move at ease, searching for bird activity. We may split up and talk by radio to survey more areas, meeting up at viewpoints. Some of the more common forest birds include Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Blue-headed, Philadelphia and Red-eyed Vireos, Carolina Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, White-throated and Swamp Sparrows, Baltimore Oriole, and more. Rusty Blackbird, Dickcissel, and Bobolink are all good and regular finds.

Possible warblers? The mix changes each week of this month as migration conditions lure them south. We should see Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee, Nashville, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Cape May, Northern Parula, Yellow, Blackpoll, Pine, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, and Wilson’s Warblers. We watch avidly for Connecticut—often one of the most sought-after by our groups. Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Blackburnian, and Canada are all possible. This is a super opportunity to learn fall plumage of the fabulous New World Warblers, America’s avian darlings.

We typically do a walk in the morning, another in the afternoon, and we make quick trips to close-in areas such as the village gardens regularly. You are welcome to take a seat at the local brewery to chat with locals, browse the galleries or explore on your own. Our pace answers that of the birds, some years can be quieter than others, but all years are good! The basic recipe for a day on Monhegan starts with Earth, Wind, Sea and Sky, adding in birds, views, smells of the ocean, colors—natural and cultural, and always the sound of the bell buoy. We trust the island infusion kicks in to make this a most-memorable birding holiday.
Accommodations at the Island Inn (B,L,D each day)

Thurs., Sept. 12        Ferry Back to the Mainland | Bar Harbor

Today is a travel day to Mount Desert Island. We want to check around the Inn for any incredible migrants and begin our day with a traditional breakfast and an early departure on the Hardy Ferry to the mainland. As we backtrack to the mainland, we look for any pelagics we might have missed and enjoy the exceptional vistas of this unique ferry ride. Now that Monhegan Island is firmly etched into your lists of amazing places to bird, it is time to transfer to another gem along the Gulf of Maine archipelago.

Mount Desert Island (MDI) is the largest and most diverse island in a chain of 4600 islands left behind by the Wisconsin Glacier 1300 years ago, from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. Monhegan is an island 1.7 miles long and .7 miles wide making the area 4.5 square miles. MDI has an area of 108 square miles and is 15 miles long and about 8 miles wide so birding opportunities are endless. Located in Hancock County, with 343 species reported in eBird, MDI is home to Acadia National Park (ANP) which supports 338 bird species and a wide variety of habitats from semi-alpine to saltwater estuaries and open ocean birds along the eastern seaboard. Considered one of the premier bird-watching areas in the country, Acadia is a favorite breeding ground for neotropical migrants and stop-over site for an incredible diversity of birds, from owls to shorebirds and from raptors to warblers.

Monhegan Island lies 66.8 miles from Mount Desert Island and takes about 2 1/2 hours to drive to once we land. There are a few stops we can make along scenic coastal Rt 1. We hope to visit the Peregrine Falcon nest site on Champlain Mountain this afternoon and possibly enjoy a coastal walk along the historic Bar Harbor Shore Path.

Dinner tonight is at McKays Public House, a quaint and beautiful restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining and a delicious, locally sourced menu. Get a good night’s sleep as we head out on a pelagic trip tomorrow.
Accommodations at the Atlantic Oceanside (B,L,D)

Fri., Sept. 13       Gulf of Maine & Outer Islands Pelagic | Mount Desert Island

After breakfast at the Bar Harbor Inn, we board the Friendship V, a double hulled catamaran built to smoothly maneuver through the Gulf of Maine waters. This is our day to see MDI from the ocean as mariners have for 1000s of years. We travel 20 to 30 miles offshore in search of Arctic and Common Terns, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, and Common Murre rounding out the list of alcids. 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, Red and Red-necked Phalarope, 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. Depending on what we have seen already today, we search for missing species and new island locations that highlight the unique aspects of Mount Desert Island and Down East Maine.

We are back to Bar Harbor tonight for another delicious dinner.
Accommodations at the Atlantic Oceanside (B,L,D)

Sat., Sept. 14       Exploring Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island

After a leisurely breakfast at the Bar Harbor Inn, we gather together for a birding trip around Mount Desert Island taking in coastal and inland habitats known for good fall migrants. The first part of the morning we explore Eastern MDI and go into Acadia National Park.

The afternoon can be set aside for leisurely exploring around Bar Harbor or we have the option of birding the western side of MDI going to Seawall for migratory warblers and seabirds. Bass Harbor Marsh and Seal Cove are all excellent locations for ducks, warblers, and the first fall waterbirds.

We are back to Bar Harbor tonight for a final delicious and celebratory dinner.
Accommodations at the Atlantic Oceanside (B,L,D)

Sun., Sept. 15       Departures

Our journey comes to an end today as we travel north to Bangor International Airport for your departure flights. Afternoon departures allow time to visit the Orono Bog and Bangor Forest to better understand these northern habitats and look for a few birds before your flights. Please plan flights out after 1:00 PM from Bangor.

If you prefer to book roundtrip air to Portland, you can shuttle back with our guides, who are returning their vehicles. You would need to plan evening flights out of Portland. (B)

  • Lincoln's Sparrow, Maine, Maine Birding Tour, Maine Nature Tour, Acadia National Park, Acadia National Park Tour, Naturalist Journeys

    Lincoln's Sparrow by Nick Tepper

  • Magnolia Warbler, Maine, Maine Birding Tour, Maine Nature Tour, Acadia National Park, Acadia National Park Tour, Naturalist Journeys

    Magnolia Warbler by Nick Tepper

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    Orange-crowned Warbler by Nick Tepper

  • Palm Warbler, Maine, Maine Birding Tour, Maine Nature Tour, Acadia National Park, Acadia National Park Tour, Naturalist Journeys

    Palm Warbler by Nick Tepper

Cost of the Journey

The cost of this journey is $3990 DBL / $5250 SGL, from Portland, Maine, departing Bangor. This cost is based on double occupancy and includes all accommodations; meals as specified in the itinerary, professional guide services, local park and other area entrance fees, and miscellaneous program expenses. The cost does not include transportation to or from your home to Portland or items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone charges, porterage, maid gratuities, or beverages from the bar.

Travel Details

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 Airport: Portland International Jetport (PWM)

Arrival Details: Plan to arrive September 8, no later than 2:00 PM

Departure Airport: Bangor International Airport (BGR)

Departure Details: Plan September 15 flights after 1:00 PM

You may also depart out of Portland International Jetport (PWM) if you prefer to book a roundtrip flight. You can shuttle back to Portland with the guides and plan on evening flights out.

Travel Tip: You may wish to arrive a day early and rest up from your travels. The easiest option would be to book an extra night at our first night tour hotel, the Hampton Inn Portland Airport https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/pwmmehx-hampton-portland-airport/. If you’d like to explore a bit, there are many interesting things to do in Portland. Portland Head Light, a historic lighthouse that is the most photographed in America, is a popular and scenic spot to visit that also has a museum. The Victoria Mansion is an Italianate villa known for its architectural significance and well-preserved lavish interior that can be toured. And if you’re into art, The Portland Museum of Art is a fascinating place to visit and has over 18,000 works of art including pieces from Andy Warhol and Claude Monet. All of these attractions are located within 20 minutes of the airport and can be reached via taxi, Uber, or rental car.

Hotel Recommendations:
If you wish to arrive early and prefer to stay downtown, we recommend:

Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront
(207) 780-0780

AC Hotel Portland Downtown Waterfront
(207) 747-1640

Browse below for trip reports and species lists from past versions of this and other tours from this destination.


  • Michael Good

    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

  • Pat Lueders

    Pat Lueders has been leading tours for Naturalist Journeys since 2014 after volunteering as the Field Trip leader and coordinator for St. Louis Audubon for 10 years. She has led tours regularly in the U.S. including Utah, Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina, and New Jersey. Internationally, she has led groups to Central America (Costa Rica, Panama, Belize, Guatemala), South America (Galapagos, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago), and Africa (Kenya & Uganda). For the fall 2023 & winter 2024, she’s excited to return to Trinidad and add New Zealand, Jamaica, and Portugal to her itineraries.
    When home in St. Louis, she’s been the coordinator of the Great Rivers Trumpeter Swan Watch for 12 years, and she conducts Breeding Bird Surveys for the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Department of Natural Resources.

    Other trips with Pat Lueders

Map for Maine's Monhegan Island

Essential Information +

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have Read more

This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!

Ahead of Your Tour

  • Please talk with your doctor about general health needs. It is a good idea to consult with your doctor about general vaccinations recommended for travel.
  • 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. After you make travel reservations, please send a copy of your travel itinerary to the Naturalist Journeys office at clientservices@naturalistjourneys.com.
  • Travel insurance in case of serious medical emergency is recommended. Full health coverage and repatriation is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
  • Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Remember to pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.

Health Information

We will share a copy of your health and emergency contact information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important in case of a medical emergency. In addition to bringing any prescription medications with you, we recommend that you have a copy of the prescriptions in case of loss.

Pace of the Tour & What to Expect

You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of hotels (our eContact List) a few weeks before your departure. This will serve as an outline for each day and alert you to any recent changes made in the schedule or to our hotels, if needed.

Our journeys are set up to follow the rhythm of nature. Our focus is on birding and nature; we offer full, well-planned field days and often get up early for that magical time around dawn. We generally follow the published itinerary, but we stay flexible to the weather, wildlife opportunities and the interests of the group. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.

The pace of our Naturalist Journeys tours is moderate; to fully participate you should be able to get in and out of vehicles several times a day, and walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain. It is important to participate with a flexible attitude as adjustments may be made in our schedule to make the most of our time in the field or for other purposes at your guide's discretion. We are not a “listing” bird company that drills down on target species, but at times we do wait for those special species unique to the places we visit. During the day, we take time to stop for photos and for educational opportunities to learn about conservation projects, landscapes, and geology. We appreciate other taxa as well as birds, with mammals often the biggest draw but plants and butterflies are also very popular. Our clients often lend their own expertise to the mix.  

We like to make meals a fun and memorable part of the experience, too. Breakfasts are often at hotels, and we carry snacks, fruit, and water in the vans each day. Lunches are a mix of picnics in the field (weather dependent) and a chance to dine with locals at small cafes and restaurants. For dinner, we pride ourselves in our homework to keep up with the best choices for dining, choosing restaurants with atmosphere that specialize in local foods. On occasion we keep dinner simple to go back out in the field for sunset wildlife viewing or night walks. In some remote locations, our choices are limited. If you are tired, room service for dinner may be an option you can choose.

Food & Drink

We carry water and juices/cold drinks in the cooler each day, and sodas if people like them. Please also plan on bringing and filling your water bottle for hiking each day. We try to use as few plastics as possible!

Packing, Clothing & Laundry

Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing the vans. Please pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.

Dress is informal and is casual even at restaurants. Layering is a great way to stay comfortable. Protective clothing is essential, whether it be from sun, rain, cold, insects, or vegetation. You need closed toe shoes, and wear comfortable walking shoes with good tread. Hiking boots with good support for hiking and on rocky terrain can work well.

Spending Money

Many people ask how much to plan to bring as spending money. Part of that depends on how much you want to shop. Most shops will take VISA and MasterCard or American Express. Typical items people purchase include local souvenirs and T-shirts, caps, and natural history books.  You may want to bring cash for drinks with dinner (if available) or smaller local purchases.


Expect the normal tipping protocol to apply for hotel maids and bar service. If at the end of the tour, you would like to show your appreciation to your guides, tipping is entirely appropriate but at your discretion. We hope that you will be pleased with all professional services. Gratuities for group meals are included. For your birding tour guide, we suggest $10-$15 per day per guest. Note that if there is more than one guide, this amount can be split among them.

Cell Phones & Internet Service

Wi-Fi and cell phone service are available in most US destinations, although there are some exceptions in remote locations. Wi-Fi is generally provided in all hotels, lodges, and restaurants you visit, at least in public areas. Please refrain from taking or making cell phone calls in the vehicles when traveling with other passengers unless it appears to be an emergency as this disrupts other guests – please plan cell phone calls on your own time.


Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Please respect all designated smoking areas at hotels and restaurants.


For this tour, your guides will drive travelers in either full-size or mini-vans or a combination of those two. We ask all attendees to please rotate your seating, so you ride with different drivers and alternate between front and back seats.

Photo Release & Sharing

We take many group photos and will share photos with the group. And after your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos. Please note that this is our policy and if you prefer to be excluded, we need to know ahead of your tour.

By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representatives permission to record photos and/or video of your participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochures, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.


Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at clientservices@naturalistjourneys.com or telephone our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey.


Packing List +

Please pack light! Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid Read more

Please pack light!

Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage. Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle. It is our hope that you can pack in one checked suitcase that does not exceed 45 pounds. Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this is an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.

In general, the weather during your stay should be cool, with days in the 60s and nights in the 50s. Rain is always possible. Check your favorite weather website closer to your departure to better predict what the weather will be on your adventure.

Dress is comfortable and informal throughout the trip. Dressing in layers is the best way to be comfortable. Lightweight long sleeve shirts and long pants make ideal field clothing as they are more protective from sun and vegetation. But if you like to wear them, by all means bring some shorts. Also, choose clothing you don’t mind getting dirty or muddy and things that are comfortable and easy to wear. Note on clothing colors: We recommend muted colors of tan, brown, khaki, grey or green, as they are spotted less easily than white or bright colors, though camouflage clothing is not recommended.

Clothing & Gear

  • Lightweight long pants, 2 pair
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirts – 2 or 3
  • Shorts (optional)
  • T-shirts or equivalent (1 per every other day recommended – remember you may buy some there!)
  • Personal underclothing
  • Socks – lightweight and easy to wash and dry
  • Comfortable walking/hiking shoes such as tennis shoes
  • Lightweight hiking boots. Please note that forest trails will be on uneven terrain and may be muddy – good tread and support are essential!
  • Rain-friendly footwear (rubber bottom)
  • Lightweight raincoat or poncho
  • Lightweight jacket, fleece fabric is ideal
  • Comfortable clothes for evening (a cleaner version of your field clothes or a skirt, sundress, etc.)
  • Bathing suit, optional
  • Hat with broad brim
  • Bandana (optional, great for cooling off when you are hot and sweaty, can be purchases with a gel inside for several hours of cooling)
  • Field vest (optional), a great source is Big Pockets

Equipment & Miscellaneous

  • E-ticket verification
  • Photo ID
  • Small daypack or fanny pack for carrying your field gear
  • Umbrella – compact and not brightly colored
  • Walking stick – we find that many travelers appreciate a walking stick on trails, sporting goods stores carry collapsible models that pack easily in your suitcase (optional) Small flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • Alarm clock, or use your cell phone
  • Sunscreen/lip balm with SPF
  • Sunglasses with neck strap Insect repellent (something containing DEET)
  • Toiletry articles
  • Binoculars
  • Spotting scope and tripod (optional)
  • Camera and extra batteries, memory cards, lens cleaning supplies and your instruction manual (optional)
  • Water bottle (or plan to refill one bought on location)
  • Notebook or journal and pen (optional) Field guides (optional)
  • Laundry soap if you plan to do hand washing
  • Rechargeable power bank (optional)


WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!

Medical & First Aid Items

  • Personal medications (and copy of vital prescriptions)
  • Motion sickness preventatives if likely to be needed on bus, van drives, etc.
  • Personal first aid kit and medications for general ailments
  • Copy of eyeglass prescription, vaccination records, and any medical alerts
  • Insurance information
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts
  • Band-aids, moleskin to protect against blisters
  • Antibacterial gel


Suggested Reading List +

There are many titles of interest for Maine and Monhegan Island. The following are a Read more

There are many titles of interest for Maine and Monhegan Island. The following are a few that we have enjoyed that can get you started. 

Top Picks

Field Guide to the Birds of North America

Merlin App. A phone-based birding app from Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. You can download it here.

Field Guides

Sibley Guide to Birds

Warblers of Eastern North America

A Field Guide to Warblers of North America

 The Birder’s Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America

Shorebirds of North America

Gulls Simplified: A Comparative Approach to Identification

Birds of Maine Field Guide

Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East

A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians of Eastern & Central North America 


Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds

The Migration of Birds: Seasons on the Wing

Gatherings of Angels: Migrating Birds and Their Ecology 

Natural History

Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Understanding What You See and Hear

The Birder’s Handbook: A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds

Maine’s Favorite Birds

Birdwatching in Maine: A Site Guide

 History & Culture 

Monhegan Island

The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier

Frommer’s Maine Coast

Your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials for participants to share. As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.


Useful Links +

Learn more about your destination at these external websites, carefully researched for you. Read more


Visit Maine

Monhegan Island

Nature, Wildlife & Biology

Audubon Society – Birding in Maine

Maine Audubon

Monhegan Birding Hotspot links

Species in Maine – iNaturalist.org

Wildlife watching

Conservation, Parks & Reserves

Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center

Monhegan Island Wildlands: Maine

Monhegan Associates, Inc.: An Island Land Trust

The Nature Conservancy in Maine

Endangered Species in Maine

Geology & Geography

Bedrock Geologic History of Maine

The Geology of Monhegan Island

The Geologic Society of Maine

Geography and Climate of Monhegan Island

History & Culture

History of Maine

First Peoples of Maine

Monhegan at 400: “A Fortunate Island” – Article, Island Journal

“The Golden Road” – Article, The Maine Magazine

Famous Maine Foods: A Tantalizing Culinary Journey – Article by VisitMaine.net

Helpful Travel Websites

Arrival: Portland International Jetport (PWM)

Departure: Bangor International Airport (BGR)

Homeland Security Real ID Act

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

ATM Locator

Date & Time – Portland, ME

Photo credits: Banners: Sailboat by Greg Smith; Harbor Seal by Peg Abbott; Lobster Cove, Valerie Gebert; Port Clyde, Valerie Gebert;Gray Jay, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Portland, Maine, by Greg Smith; Yellow-rumped Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Black-throated Green Warbler, Nick Tepper; Canada Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Philadelphia Vireo, by Nick Tepper; Blackburnian Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Song Sparrow, by Nick Tepper; Cape-may Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Yellow-rumped Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Chestnut-sided Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Black-throated Green Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Lincoln's Sparrow, by Nick Tepper; Bog, by Greg Smith; Magnolia Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Maine Shoreline, by Dan Donaldson; Orange-crowned Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Harbor, Walter Brust; Palm Warbler, by Nick Tepper; Island Inn, courtesy Islandinnmonhegan.com


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