Acadia Birding Festival + Boreal Species Hotspots

(Tues, May 31 – Tues, June 7, 2022)

Atlantic Puffins

Roger Tory Peterson called Mount Desert Island, the location of Acadia National Park and the Acadia Birding Festival, “The Warbler Capital of the World.” Past festival participants will agree. In addition to the festival boat trip to see seabirds, including the charismatic Atlantic Puffin, we’ll also visit woodlands for warblers, crossbills and woodpeckers, salt marshes for waders and sparrows, and high elevation boreal habitats for Bicknell’s Thrush and others. Join Denver Audubon and Reefs to Rockies for a fantastic week of birding in the Northeast!

Meet Your Guide: Chip Clouse is the former General Manager of the Front Range Birding Company and a long-time bird tour leader. Originally enamored with tooth and claw predators, his fascination with birds started by volunteering to monitor Peregrine Falcon nest sites while an undergraduate and was cemented once he saw his first Western Tanager while working for the Peregrine Fund in Oregon. Chip’s experiences in the birding community include 20 years of research and project management in nine states and the Caribbean nation of Grenada, a Masters in Conservation Biology from Colorado State University, five years with the American Birding Association, three years as a rep with Opticron optics and Novagrade Digiscoping adapters, and guiding at 15+ US birding festivals. His first trip to coastal Maine was in 2003 and he’s guided at two previous Acadia Birding Festivals. During his Lower 48 Big Year in 2021, Chip spent several days in the highlands of New Hampshire and Maine before the festival and a week in Downeast Maine after the festival! Chip is, once again, working with Opticron and may have samples to bring upon request. He’s excited to share his love of birds and habitats in this trip.



Day 1 (Tues, May 31): Arrival to Portland, ME/ Gorham, NH ~ Afternoon arrival to Portland Jetport Airport (PWM) and drive to Gorham, New Hampshire with birding en route.  Location(s) depending on recent sightings with Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Canada Jay, Spruce Grouse and other boreal species as primary targets. Our hotel this evening is conveniently located to the start point of tomorrow’s morning excursion.

Accommodations: The Glen House or similar

Meals: None

Estimated drive time: PWM Airport to Gorham, NH approximately 2 hrs without stops.

Day 2 (Wed, June 1): Mount Washington, NH/ Bar Harbor, ME ~ Start pre-dawn with a private Mount Washington Auto Road tour for Bicknell’s Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler, Boreal Chickadee and others. Bicknell’s Thrush is an extremely rare species with very limited breeding grounds. In fact, it’s the rarest and most secretive of North America’s breeding thrushes. The Mt. Washington Auto Road offers a rare opportunity to view these obscure birds. Our tour this morning starts before the Auto Road opens to the general public. After our morning tour, we’ll drive to Bar Harbor, Maine with birding en route.

Bangor area hotspots include Essex Woods and Orono Bog Walk if time allows. Targets today include Sora, Virginia Rail, American Bittern, American Black Duck, Common Loon, Olive-sided, Alder, and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Black-billed Cuckoo and up to 21 species of warbler.

Accommodations: Acadia Inn or similar

Meals: To-go Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Estimated drive time: Gorham, NH to Bar Harbor, ME approximately 4 hrs.

Days 3-4 (Thurs, June 2 – Fri, June 3): Acadia Birding Festival ~ Acadia’s birding community invites you and your family to celebrate the ecological wonders of the birds of the Gulf of Maine at the Acadia Birding Festival. Explore Mount Desert Island and its birds through numerous events and venues. Greet our warblers on early morning birding walks, visit with puffins and pelagic birds at sea, and observe Peregrine Falcons at an active breeding site in Acadia National Park. The chosen Festival field trips will connect you to Downeast Maine’s many bird species, diverse habitats and to local birding experts. Morning and afternoon field trips both days as part of the 23rd Annual Acadia Birding Festival.

Accommodations: Acadia Inn or similar

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Estimated drive time: Hotel to Festival Headquarters approximately 30 mins but times dependent on field trip locations.

Day 5 (Sat, June 4): Acadia Birding Festival ~ The festival’s popular Pelagic Seabird Boat trip starts the day and provides a unique opportunity to see birds that live and thrive on the open ocean, far from shore-bound eyes. Each trip is different, offering the potential for Atlantic Puffin, Common Murre, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Northern Gannet, Common Eider, scoters, phalaropes, shearwaters, jaegers, storm-petrels, terns, and more – plus, there are always a few surprises. We sail aboard the Friendship V, one of the fastest most stable birding platforms in the country. Depending on conditions and recent reports, we may visit Mt Desert Rock (25 miles off-shore), the nearby “Ball Park”, a nutrient rich upwelling, and Petit Manan Island for nesting birds, all known hotspots. Good birds are often seen along the way. Experienced local ABF Birding Guides and a Ship’s Naturalist will assist in locating and directing you to target birds. Although birding is our primary focus, incidental sightings of marine mammals are possible. We sometimes see whales, porpoise, dolphin and seals. Afternoon festival field trip.

Accommodations: Acadia Inn or similar

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Estimated drive times: Hotel to Festival Headquarters approximately 30 mins but times dependent on field trip locations.

Day 6 (Sun, June 5): Acadia Birding Festival/ Portland, ME ~ We have a final festival field trip this morning before heading back to Portland with birding en route. Afternoon birding locations to include Brunswick and Freeport hotspots based on recent sightings and group’s interests.

Accommodations: Home2 Suites or similar

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Estimated drive times: Bar Harbor to Brunswick approximately 2.75 hrs; Brunswick and Freeport to Hotel approximately 30-45 mins.

Day 7 (Mon, June 6): Portland, ME ~ Full day birding the Greater Portland area including the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center and Maine Audubon trails at their headquarters in Falmouth. Additional stops depending on recent sightings and group’s interests. Relive trip highlights this evening during our Farewell Dinner.

Accommodations: Home2 Suites or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Estimated drive times: Hotel to Scarborough Marsh approximately 30 mins; Hotel to Falmouth approximately 30 mins.

Day 8 (Tues, June 7): Departure ~ Transfer back to the airport in time for your morning flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

Estimated drive time: Hotel to airport less than 10 mins.


Price: $3135* per person based on two people sharing double occupancy accommodations. If you prefer private, single occupancy accommodations, add $755*.

Inclusions: accommodations; private transportation in a 12-passenger Ford Transit van or similar starting and ending at PWM International Airport; driver; guide – Chip Clouse; daily guided birding with spotting scope available; private Mount Washington Auto Road Tour; Acadia Birding Festival – registration fee, pelagic boat trip + 3 more morning field trips and 3 afternoon field trips including local field trip leader; and meals as listed in the itinerary.

Exclusions: flights, five dinners, Festival lectures, optional gratuities, and travel insurance.

Group size: 7 to 8 + guide Chip Clouse + driver. We are known for having smaller group sizes with a better birder to guide ratio than most companies offering similar itineraries. This trip starts and ends in Portland, Maine so that there are more flight options to choose from.

Important Notes: Registration must be confirmed by March 4, 2022 to guarantee the trip runs. All participants must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to travel.