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2024 Maine’s Bold Coast: Schoodic to Head Harbor Passage

August 27 @ 2:00 pm - August 31 @ 2:00 pm

Maine’s Downeast region is ideal for exploring the quieter reaches of Acadia National Park, spruce-bordered rocky headlands, nearby blueberry barrens, and diverse hotspots on the preserved lands of coastal Washington County. Join Schoodic Institute’s bird ecology director Seth Benz on this exciting bird tour and experience the excellent birding Downeast Maine has to offer!

This program begins at 2:00pm in Bangor, ME (or you may opt to drive to Schoodic Institute for a 3pm check-in and 4pm tour start). We will meet at Rockefeller Hall on the Schoodic Institute campus (9 Atterbury Circle, Winter Harbor, ME 04693) for introductions and a tour of the institute campus. We’ll spend two nights at Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park and two nights at Eastland Motel in Lubec; Maine’s easternmost town. From each lodge, day trips will investigate nearby intertidal areas flooded with migrating shorebirds and wood edges peppered with restless flocks of southbound warblers. We’ll also venture offshore for pelagic birds and whales into Head Harbor Passage, a deep-water channel between Canada and the United States.

We are offering van transportation from Bangor (Odlin Road Park & Ride parking area is very near the Bangor Airport). We will pick you up at the airport OR participants may provide their own ground transportation to and from Schoodic Institute. All participants must be prepared to wear a facial mask that covers nose and mouth during all van travel. Changes to the status of COVID-19 precautions are monitored closely by Schoodic Institute and are subject to the guidance of the Maine CDC (and U.S. CDC). We will adjust accordingly.

Participants should bring binoculars. A camera (optional) can be fun as all tours are fairly scenic. Spotting scopes are useful but optional and your guide will provide one for group use, as well as guidebooks. None of the tours require strenuous hiking. Birding will be slow moving and on level ground. There may be some spots that are muddy, uneven, and slippery, but large boots are unnecessary. The boat tour can be cold and damp. Bring appropriate clothing. Price per participant is $1,650.00 – please register below.

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: The tour begins in Bangor, Maine at 2pm (transportation pick-up available), OR on the Schoodic Institute campus at 3pm as the group convenes at 4pm for this 5-day, 4-night tour. Check-in and orientation is at Rockefeller Hall. We have an introductory reception beginning at 4pm. Dinner is at 6pm in Schooner Commons. Following dinner, we will have an evening presentation to get acquainted with the history and ecology of the region.

Day 2: We’ll start with an optional bird walk before breakfast. Breakfast is from 7am – 8am. We’ll then spend the day afield to survey birding hotspots in Acadia National Park and vicinity. We’ll return for an hour of leisure prior to a Lobster Dinner in the dining hall of Schoodic Institute. After dinner discussion will focus on events of the day and research and education work of the institute.

Day 3: Following breakfast, we’ll transition from the Schoodic Peninsula by birding our way to Lubec, arriving by late afternoon. Along the way, we’ll visit Roque Bluffs State Park and another birding hotspot or two. Dinner will be at a local eatery in Lubec. After dinner we’ll do a checklist review and preparation for the next day’s adventure.

Day 4: The focus today is a boat trip out of Eastport into Head Harbor Passage which lies between the U.S. and Canada – with a tide so strong that the world’s second largest whirlpool, “The Old Sow,” swirls in the middle. So much sea life congregates in this channel that minke whales are usually sighted from land. The channel fills with Bonaparte’s Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Eiders, Black Guillemots, and Razorbills, feeding off mackerel and herring offshore.

Day 5: The last day’s itinerary is the leader’s choice, giving us a good portion of the day to make up for any bad weather or missed opportunities along the route from Lubec back toward Schoodic/Bangor. The tour ends at 2pm in Bangor.


August 27 @ 2:00 pm
August 31 @ 2:00 pm


Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park
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Schoodic Institute
9 Atterbury Circle
Winter Harbor, ME 04693 United States
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(207) 288-1310
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