Trips and Events

Upcoming ABC trips and events for 2024

All trips open to anyone, free of charge (gas costs for carpooling on long trips may be shared). See below for our currently planned trips and activities, please check back later for more or changed trips or details. We may also have additional trips with short notice through the birding club Google group email.

Birding trip at Viles Arboretum, photo by Elise Klysa

2024 Trips and Events

New birders are welcome on all trips and activities!

All local trips start at 7 a.m. unless otherwise noted. Please arrive a couple minutes early if possible. We request that people minimize conversation when we’re actively birding as a group (harder to hear and focus on the birds).

May migration walks [complete for 2024]

Typically a walk of 1 to 2 miles. Good opportunity to see 25-50 species of breeding and migratory birds. Specific species and numbers vary quite a bit day to day. Walks normally go for 1.5 to 2 hours (people can leave earlier or stay later). We generally expect to do bird walks even in light rain, but trips may be cancelled at the last minute or cut short if birding isn’t productive and weather conditions are uncomfortable. Given our unpredictable Maine weather, the trip leader for each day will look at the weather in the morning and decide whether to show up. There won’t be any cancellation notice posted for the local trips. Take your chances given your own level of comfort and adventure. If anyone shows up without a leader, the trip will be self guided.

Boreal Birding Trip

Saturday June 15

  • We are planning a boreal birding trip up Saddleback Mountain on June 15th. We will meet at the upper parking lot at Saddleback Mountain ski area at 7:00 a.m. with car-pooling from Augusta/Waterville depending on who is going. So departure will be around 5:00 a.m. We should be off the mountain by early afternoon.
  • The hike is steadily uphill but only a few really steep sections. It is about 2 miles and 1,600 vertical feet up the ski slopes on a well-trod path to the 4000-foot summit. The wide-open trails provide better opportunities for birding than a narrow hiking trail through the trees. We will move at a relatively slow pace looking for birds along the way.
  • We will look for Bicknell’s Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Winter Wren, Blackpoll Warbler, Boreal Chickadee, and Canada Jay along with other boreal warblers. Here is Cheryl’s checklist from our June 2019 hike: https://ebird.org/checklist/S57209479
  • Here too is a description of the hike with photos: https://www.northeasthikes.com/saddleback-mountain-hike-ski-resort-rangeley-maine/
  • Be sure to bring daypack with lunch, layers, wind breaker, bug dope, sunscreen and plenty of water.
  • Please let Howard Lake know (HLake@lakedenison.com, 446-5996) if you are planning to attend so that we may plan for carpooling or if you have questions. Fingers crossed for favorable weather!

Shorebird/wading bird late-summer bird trip

Monday, August 5th

    • Meet at 8:00 am at the Pine Point boat launch and the trip will likely go until early afternoon.
    • We encourage people to carpool, as parking can be limited in the sites we’ll visit.
    • Directions: Rte 1 to Rte 9 in Scarborough, after the Clambake restaurant, left on King Street to where it ends at a parking area
    • Scopes will be very helpful, there will likely be several along that we can share but please bring one if you have one. You’ll be very exposed to sun most of the time. Recommend bringing water and snacks and maybe a lunch. On the Vine Marketplace at Dunstan Corner (Scarborough) also has good sandwiches and many other items.
    • We haven’t done this trip as a group, so it’s a bit of an experiment. We may or may not have a chance to scout how crowded it will be on a summer weekday. We’re hoping parking will be available for all the spots we’d like to visit. We’re doing the trip on a weekday to try to help with this.
    • At Pine Point, we’ll be looking mainly for shorebirds on the flats in Jones Creek at low tide. We’ll then take a walk on the Eastern Rd (trail over Scarborough Marsh) to look for wading birds and Salt Marsh and Nelson’s Sparrows. Scarborough Marsh has many wading birds, including Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Glossy Ibis, Little Blue Heron, and sometime rare ones like Tri-colored Heron. This walk could be up to 3/4 mile each way on a flat wide trail. After this, we may drive over to Dunstan Landing to get a different viewing spot on the marsh.

Sabattus Pond fall duck migration

  • There will be a birding trip to Sabattus Pond on Saturday November 2. We can bump it to Sunday November 3 if the weather is poor on Saturday the 2nd.
  • We will meet at 8:00 am at Martin’s Point Park which is just off Route 126 on the west side of the Pond and then bird several areas around the southerly end. Spotting scopes are needed so bring them if you can but there will be several to share.
  • As you may know, Sabattus Pond suffers from poor water quality but the good news is that it provides incredible feed for waterfowl including Mallard, American Black Duck, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Ring-necked Duck, Greater and Lesser Scaup, and American Coot.
  • For more information see: https://www.mainebirdingtrail.com/Sites/Sabattus%20Pond.html.

 

Selected Completed Trips

Saddleback Mountain hike, Saturday June 8th, 2019

Seven of us had a spectacular day on Saddleback. And the birding was good too!

We heard Bicknell’s Thrush but they were elusive to see. The highlights were nice looks at Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Winter Wren and Canada Jay.

Augusta Birding Club at the top of Saddleback, photo by Howard Lake
Canada Jay, photo by Cheryl Ring

Cheryl’s eBird checklist is here:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S57209479

Howard reports that it was well worth getting up at 4:00 am!

Thanks to Howard and Brenda for organizing and scouting the trip.

Birding on the trail, photo by Howard Lake

Sabattus Pond, November 2018

All 15 or so of us on Monday’s Sabattus Pond trip enjoyed the mild sunny weather and calm winds which made it pleasant to stand on a beach in November and scan for ducks. Waterfowl was our main goal and we were able to see 13 species, including good but distant looks at a Redhead and close looks at a pair of Northern Pintails. Other ducks etc. included close to a thousand Ruddy Ducks, lots of Greater and some Lesser Scaup, Black Duck, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Ring-necked Duck (which should be called Ring-billed Duck), Bufflehead, Canada Goose, and Mallard. For a couple of the trip lists with some pictures:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49897559
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49897850

Buffleheads, photo by Glenn Hodgkins
Northern Pintail, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

Red-billed Tropicbird Seal Island trip, July 2018

Several ABC members braved the high seas (was actually fairly calm that day) in hopes of seeing the Red-billed Tropicbird at Seal Island. It’s a rare bird in the North Atlantic but one bird has been returning to Seal Island (south of Stonington) for a dozen or so summers. It can be disappointing to focus an entire trip on one bird and we did expect to see other good pelagic species. Happily, the Tropicbird did make an appearance and we also saw Great Cormorant (unusual breeders in the U.S.), Razorbill, Atlantic Puffins Common Murre, Manx Shearwater, Wilson’s Phalarope, and Arctic Tern among others.

https://ebird.org/atlasme/view/checklist/S47207032

https://ebird.org/atlasme/view/checklist/S47207029

Red-billed Tropicbird
Atlantic Puffin, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

Long Falls Dam Road boreal trip, June 2018

Ten of us had a good day birding in the north woods, on and near the Long Falls Dam Road near Flagstaff lake. We saw 58 species overall and a good variety, though fewer true boreal birds than we were hoping for. Highlights included Mourning Warbler, Boreal Chickadee, and Black-billed Cuckoo.

Northern Parula hanging moss nest, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

One of the goals of our trip was to document evidence of breeding for the Maine Bird Atlas, a 5-year statewide project. We were able to confirm breeding for several species, including finding a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker nesting hole with adults actively feeding young and a hanging lichen nest woven by Northern Parulas, also with active feeding going on. We found at least some breeding evidence for 14 species of warbler. For some pictures plus site lists, see the below links:

Monhegan Island, May 2018: Eleven of us had a great time on Monhegan (except for the rough ride over) and spent most of the day out there. We saw 58 species of birds, including Blackpoll Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, and Puffin and Northern Gannett on the trip back.

Augusta birding Club on Monhegan, photo by Brenda Lake

Much gratitude to Howard Lake for initiating the trip and gathering information from several recent visitors there, so we could make the most of our time on the Island. All birders agreed that we should make this Monhegan trip an annual ABC event.

https://ebird.org/atlasme/view/checklist/S46051657

https://ebird.org/me/view/checklist/S46024747

https://ebird.org/me/view/checklist/S46024629

Female Blackpoll Warbler, Monhegan Island, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

Long Falls Dam Road Trip near Flagstaff Lake, March 2018: 12 birders traveled to Somerset County on a quest for crossbills and other boreal species.

Red Crossbills, Long Falls Dam Road, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

We were thrilled to observe a total of 24 Red Crossbills and 5 White-winged Crossbills – more Crossbills than any of us had ever seen in a single day. Also fun to see were 44 Pine Siskins, 12 Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Ruffed Grouse, and an adult Bald Eagle soaring overhead – and other more usual species. On the way home, we stopped at the Messalonskee boat launch in Belgrade and were pleased to see a Northern Harrier soaring over the marshes, and a flock of 13 springtime Red-winged Blackbirds flying by.

One of the purposes of the trip was not only to see crossbills, but to record their calls, with the intent of forwarding the sonograms to Cornell Researcher Matt Young for his analysis of which of the ten Types these crossbills represented. The usual “type” for Maine is #10, known as the “Sitka spruce” type and, indeed all of the Red Crossbills were observed in high concentrations of Red Spruce. However, Matt confirmed a Big Surprise – that 4 of the RECRs were Type 3 – a species found usually in the Hemlocks of the Pacific Northwest (but which are also highly irruptive). These Type 3s are apparently only the third time that Type 3’s have been documented in Maine, the first two on Monhegan in the fall/winter of 2012/2013.

Here is a link to Matt Young’s article discussing irruption and the ten types of crossbills, as well as links to calls for each type: https://ebird.org/news/crossbills-of-north-america-species-and-red-crossbill-call-types/

Our photos of crossbills may be seen in this eBird list:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S43351829

We had a great day for our Morse Mountain/Seawall Beach on August 2017. Thanks to Doug Suitor for leading the trip. Highlights included a nice variety of species, including Northern Gannett flying offshore, Baird’s Sandpiper, and large numbers of Sanderlings. For a full list and some pictures:

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38883903

Sanderlings, Seawall Beach, photo by Glenn Hodgkins

We had a fun day of birding at Kibby Mountain, June 2017. Quite an adventure as you take a right just before Quebec and go 10 miles down logging roads to the trailhead. Fifteen of us made the trip.

Augusta Birding Club at the top of Kibby Mountain

Despite the wind and the heat, which probably kept some of our target birds well hidden, it was a wonderful day for a fairly bug-free hike with some great people. The highlight for many of us was the very cooperative Mourning Warbler along the Gold Brook logging road. This is a difficult bird to find, let alone photograph. Another highlight was hearing Bicknell’s Thrush at the top, amazing for the middle of the day and so warm and sunny. We had 35 species for the trip, including Blackburnian Warbler, many Blackpoll warblers (most heard, not seen), Swainson’s Thrush, Philadelphia Vireo, Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher, and Rusty Blackbird.

Trips coordinated by Howard Lake and others