Birding Coastal Maine - Puffins, Storm-Petrels & Plovers!


July 13 - 17 2022
$2075 | ($500 deposit due upon registration)
$425 single supplement
Includes all lodging and transportation
7 participants max
Guide: Chip Darmstadt


oastal Maine beckons with breeding seabirds, salt marsh specialists and beautiful seaside scenery. We’ll explore all the avian diversity Maine has to offer, including out on the open ocean! Our adventure includes a special boat trip to observe pelagic species and nesting Atlantic Puffins on Eastern Egg Rock. We’ll also visit the salt marshes and estuaries of Scarborough to look for nesting Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrows, as well as a diversity of herons including Little Blue Heron and maybe Tricolored Heron or even a Little Egret, a rare semi-annual visitor from Europe. The diversity of birds we'll see on this trip will be memorable– everything from warblers to waterfowl and shearwaters to shorebirds!

Itinerary and Focal Species

Day 1 (Wednesday, 7/13)

We’ll leave early from Montpelier for our drive to Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Though Boothbay Harbor is about 4.5 hours from Montpelier, we’ll take our time getting there. Much of the day will be spent at birding stops, including in northern New Hampshire to observe northern and boreal species like Swainson’s Thrush, Canada Jay, or Boreal Chickadee. Overnight Boothbay (Tugboat Inn)

Day 2 (Thursday, 7/14)

Today we have a full day to enjoy coastal Maine. We’ll explore a variety of coastal environments as well as inland wooded areas for nesting warblers and more. It’s not too early in the season to seek out migrating shorebirds, and we'll encounter coastal nesting species like Osprey, Laughing Gull and Bald Eagle regularly. Overnight Boothbay Harbor

Day 3 (Friday, 7/15)

We have a leisurely morning of birding from shore before our afternoon birding boat tour and whale watch. Our 4-5 hour boat trip with Cap’n Fish’s Cruises will head out to Eastern Egg Rock with its nesting colony of Atlantic Puffin, Black Guillemot, and Arctic, Common and Roseate Terns. We may also see relatives of the puffin, such as Razorbill and Common Murre. Shearwaters and Wilson’s Storm-Petrels are also a regular sight in the Gulf of Maine this time of year. Author of Birdwatching in Maine, Derek Lovitch, will be onboard to enhance our birding experience! Overnight Boothbay Harbor

Day 4 (Saturday, 7/16)

We’ll get an early start this morning to bird Scarborough Marsh and Kennebunk Plains in southern Maine. The barrens around Kennebunk feature nesting Upland Sandpiper and Prairie Warbler, while the salt marshes in Scarborough host a variety of herons and egrets, as well as both Nelson’s Sparrows and Saltmarsh Sparrows. For the past 5 years Little Egret has been making an annual appearance in the area marshes. A common species in Europe, this beautiful egret has become increasingly common in New England! Overnight Biddeford, Maine

Day 5 (Sunday, 7/17)

This morning we head back to Vermont on a more southerly route. Along the way we’ll make a stop in New Hampshire to look for nesting Mississippi Kites, the only nesting kites in New England! 

Additional Information

We’ll leave the hotel to begin our search each morning around sunrise to encounter songbirds when they are at their most active. We’ll travel from place to place throughout the day, with plenty of stops for refreshments and restrooms along the way, and return to our lodging with time to freshen up before dinner in town. While we don’t include mid-day siestas on this action-packed trip, we will be staying at Boothbay Harbor for three nights, so participants may opt for a morning or afternoon of downtime at the hotel if necessary.

While we will spend the entire day birdwatching each day, we will not be “rushing” from place to place. Our goal is to enjoy spending time with these amazing animals. We are searching for rich experiences and astonishing biodiversity, and not necessarily the longest species list.

We select our lodging to be situated right in the heart of the birding hotspots we’ll be visiting. Lodging is generally basic, but clean and comfortable.

We will typically have a mixture of picnic and to-go breakfasts (including coffee) and lunches in the field each day. We provide picnics with a range of options to accommodate preferences and dietary restrictions. Our dinners will typically be at restaurants in town.

Restaurant meals are not included in the price of this trip. We make an effort to visit restaurants with a range of menu and price options so that participants can choose something that accommodates their dietary restrictions and budget.

Chip Darmstadt is the "emeritus" executive director of North Branch Nature Center and an avid birder and naturalist. Chip has led birding trips in the US and across the world with NBNC for the last two decades, observing over 2,000 bird species along the way, including journeys along the Maine coast. Now retired from his NBNC duties, Chip is working on extending his streak of over 1,500 consecutive days of eBird checklists!


  • All lodging.
  • Picnic meals.
  • All transportation (including from NBNC to Maine) in a comfortable van.
  • Expert bird guide.
  • All park entrance fees.
  • Use of high quality spotting scopes and binoculars.
  • Use of field guides.

Not included:

  • Incidentals and snacks.
  • Restaurant meals.

Ready to go to Maine?
Email [email protected] to get signed up.

Here’s an eBird Checklist of the 200 bird species seen in Maine's Lincoln County (where Boothbay Harbor is located) over the last five years.

Photos by Tyler Pockette and Sean Beckett

North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206

Hours: Center Open Monday-Friday 9-4
Trails Open 24/7