FWBS Exclusive Tours

Workshop: Gull Identification

Part I: Saturday, January 2022 TBA(1:00-4:30pm)

Part II: Sunday, January 2022 TBA (8:00am-12:00pm)

Cost - TBA


This two-part workshop, on Saturday and Sunday, will get you started on unraveling the mysteries of gull identification. 

Actually, most gulls are not very difficult to tell apart, though adult and juveniles of most species look very different. We’re going to give ourselves confidence with identifying the easier plumage’s of our common species, and then tackle the more challenging intermediate plumage’s and the less-common species.

Part I
Saturday will be indoors at TBA will be divided into two sections (you need not be present for both):

1:00 pm-2:30 pm – Beginning Gull Identification. Using Powerpoint and book resources, we’ll start with the basics of gull identification, such as feather topography and aging. We’ll then focus on our most common species: Ring-billed, Herring, Great Black-backed, Laughing, and Bonaparte’s Gulls.

3:00 pm-4:30 pm – Advanced Gull Identification. Now comfortable with the basics, we’ll move on to the uncommon species: Lesser Black-backed, Iceland, Glaucous, and Black-legged Kittiwake. Next up will be the rarities: Little, Black-headed, and yes, even Thayer’s. We’ll touch upon “Megas” such as Mew, Slaty-backed, and Sabine’s, and we’ll discuss hybrids. Finally, we’ll apply what we have learned to tackle and understand some identification quandaries, such as the famous “Westbrook Gull” before we finish up with some photo quizzes to test our new-found knowledge.

Part II:
Field Workshop: Sunday (8:00am – 12:00pm):

We’ll meet in Portland (Back Cove parking lot on Preble Street Ext, opposite the Hannaford’s) to carpool around the area to apply what we have learned. We’ll spend some time with our most common species: Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed, and then seek out Iceland and Glaucous, and perhaps we’ll find something even better!

We hope that you will join Derek for this workshop to foster appreciation for this fascinating group of birds. 

 

To get an idea of what to expect, see our reports from the 2019 and 2014 workshops in partnership with York County Audubon. 

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Woodcocks Gone Wild!

April 2022 TBA; 6:30pm - 8:30pm

(Weather date: )

Cost - $7 per person

Join us for our annual evening outing for the sky-dancing of the American Woodcock at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. Witness the spectacular show as this cryptic and secretive species erupts in a swirling and twirling display of sound and flight. Displaying Wilson's Snipe are also possible.

See the recap of our 2019 trip to see what you can expect.

 

Meet outside the Visitor Center. Pre-registration is not required.

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Monhegan Spring Migration Weekend

May 27 - 30, 2022

 

Cost - $ per day, see below.

Join Derek on Monhegan during the height of spring migration for 1-4 days searching the island for regular visitors, rarities, and vagrants. This is a casual outing, with boat and hotel reservations, as well as meals, on your own. Although we are likely to eat meals together, we'll have more flexibility on rooming and eating arrangements this way. Also, you can come and go as you please, based on whatever boat and departure times and locations suit you best. Sign up for 1,2, 3,or 4 days, we will let you know the time and place to meet based on your arrival.

Late May is a fantastic time to visit Maine’s Monhegan Island. Warblers in their summer finery are pouring through the Northeast, and many will drift over the Gulf of Maine on their nocturnal flights. Come dawn, the birds seek refuge on land, and Monhegan Island is perfectly positioned to catch arrivals. Rapidly changing weather conditions can result in massive “fallouts” of tired migrants, many of which will forage in the rocks on the shoreline. The possibility of overshoots from the south and vagrants from almost any direction adds icing to the cake of the fantastic birding afforded by this quaint little island. 

Once again, we’ll be staying at the rustic Trailing Yew, featuring delicious breakfasts and home-cooked dinners. Our comfortable European-style accommodations only enhance the “turn-back-the-clock” mystique of the Monhegan Island experience (although folks are welcome, as always, to stay elsewhere, but there isn’t much open this early in the year). We have blocked off rooms for 8 people at this time (under “Derek Lovitch”). Reservations are made through the Trailing Yew, at: Please call (207) 596-6194. Office hours: 9:00am-noon, 3:00pm-5:00pm. 

Remember, you do not have to stay or eat with us, but of course, your company is most welcome! Coffee and tea are also available before breakfast, to fuel those first couple of hours of birding..

With room and travel arrangements made on your own, the cost for this trip is only $ per person, per day. 

Check out Derek's blog for a rundown of the 2014 tour in which a first state record Brewer's Sparrow was the icing on the cake of a weekend that included 94 species (including 19 species of warblers), and many other goodies, such as a Summer Tanager, 2 Orchard Orioles, a Clay-colored Sparrow, an exceptional Eastern Kingbird show, and some outstanding views of many species of warblers:

 

Our 2016 tour featured 98 species including 20 species of warblers, along with a Purple Martin, White-eyed Vireo, both Red and White-winged Crossbills, a roosting Common Nighthawk and an exclusive bird-friendly beer!

During the 2017 tour, we had good looks at Summer Tanagers, Cattle Egrets, and Orange-crowned Warbler. 
 

On our 2018 tour , 97 species were highlighted by 18 species of warblers including lots of Blackpoll, Tennessee, and Blackburnians and 1 Mourning; a Brant and 3 Eastern Bluebirds (rare on the island), Summer Tanager, Red Crossbills, and a whole lot more. 

The 2019 tour produced a warbler fallout along with White-winged and Eurasian Collared Doves (Maine's second state record!).

And, the 2021 tour had a very nice crossbill showing.

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED BY CONTACTING US DIRECTLY. Hotel and ferry reservations must be made on your own. The trip is limited to 10 people per day. 

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Birds of Casco Bay - Boat Tour

June 2022 TBA

Cost - $45 (adult)/$25 (child)

Join the crew of Seacoast Tours and Derek Lovitch from Freeport Wild Bird Supply on a special tour of the islands and waters of Casco Bay. We’ll explore the inner islands of Freeport, Brunswick and Harpswell as we search for osprey, eagles, eiders, Common Terns, and an occasional seal basking in the sun on the ledges of hidden coves. We’ll focus on the common breeding water and shoreline birds of the region, including photographic opportunities whenever we can, but without disturbing any nests.

Conditions and tide permitting, we’ll poke around the mouth of Maquoit Bay and especially up into Middle Bay, where species not usually seen in Maine in the warmer months often linger. These could include all three species of scoters, Common and perhaps even Red-throated Loon, and Long-tailed Duck – all of which have spent a summer in Middle Bay over the past few years.

Our 2021 tour report is posted on our website to give you an idea of what we saw.

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The Bicknell’s Thrushes of Maine Weekend Version 2.0

June 2022 TBA

 

Cost - TBA

We’ve redesigned this tour to offer not one, but two, chances (in case of inclement weather) to see the enigmatic Bicknell’s Thrush in Maine with minimal hiking and a lower cost. In other words: More Bicknell’s Bang for the Buck!

 

The trip begins on Saturday morning at 8:00am at the Spillover Motel in Stratton (*rooms blocked off, see below). We’ll do some casual birding before heading over to Sugarloaf Mountain. If weather conditions permit, and the Sugarloaf Mountain chairlift is running, we’ll be whisked up the mountain and up to the realm of the Bicknell’s Thrush!  There will be some short, but at times fairly steep walking up and downhill - on uneven ground and at elevation - so be prepared with some good hiking shoes and perhaps walking sticks. But luckily, the chairlift will do at least 90% of the work!

 

Blackpoll Warblers are among the boreal species we usually encounter up here, with Boreal Chickadee, Canada Jay, and perhaps even Spruce Grouse all possible (but less likely in most years).  White-winged and Red Crossbills might still be around, perhaps in good numbers after breeding throughout the Maine mountains this winter. I’ve spent a lot of time these past few summers figuring out the best nooks and crannies for the best chances to see Bicknell’s Thrushes, and that will be our focus.

 

After a lunch (on our own) in the Sugarloaf village, we’ll spend most of the afternoon caravanning to some local birding hotspots. We’ll likely visit the Carrabassett Valley Snowfluent ponds where Wood Ducks and Common Goldeneyes breed, and whose edge is always birdy, often including Merlins, Spotted Sandpipers, and a variety of warblers. It also often produces something unexpected, like an early migrant shorebird or an over-summering duck of note.

 

We’ll visit some other local birding hotspots today and tomorrow, including the always-eventful Gilman Pond Road, where American Bittern and Wilson’s Snipe are often seen, and Bobolinks and Common Loons will be hard to miss. We’ll return to our motel in the late afternoon with plenty of time to relax, have a beer, and/or look at Cliff Swallows zipping around overhead.

 

Dinner will be on our own, but likely we’ll eat as a group. People are also free to make their own plans and decisions to fit any budget and interest.

 

On Sunday morning, we’ll take another ride up to Sugarloaf (weather permitting as always), regardless of how well we did or did not do the day before. We’ll do some birding near the base lodge as well, and after lunch in the village again, we’ll continue with our local birding, likely doing some of the same hotspots as the day before, or hitting what we missed.

 

Price includes:

  • 2 days of guiding

  • 2 chair lift trips up Sugarloaf.

 

Not included:

  • Lunches on Saturday and Sunday and dinner on Saturday night.

  • Transportation to and from Stratton.

  • Lodging.

 

*rooms have been blocked off for both Friday and Saturday nights at the simple, but clean Spillover Motel in Stratton, which includes free breakfast ($/night + tax).  Call (207) 246-6571 and mention that you are with Derek Lovitch. However, those desiring other lodging (i.e. the Sugarloaf Lodge) can simply meet up with us at prescribed times.

 

 

Minimum participants needed: 6

Maximum participants: 8

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Monhegan Fall Migration Weekend

September 23-26, 2022 TBA

Cost - $ per day; see below.

Join Derek on Monhegan during the height of migration for 1-3 days searching the island for regular visitors, rarities, and vagrants. If you haven't experienced Maine's Migration Mecca, now is the time! And if you're like many of our regular travelers, you know you can't wait to get back.

This is a casual outing, with boat and hotel reservations, as well as meals, on your own. Also, you can come and go as you please, based on whatever boat and departure times and locations suit you best. Sign up for 1,2, 3, or 4 days, we will give you the time and place to meet us on the island based on when you arrive.

Cost - $ per person, per day. 

Once again, we’ll be staying at the Trailing Yew (although folks are welcome, as always, to stay elsewhere) We have blocked off rooms for 8 people each night. Reservations are made through the Trailing Yew, at: (207) 596-6194. Office hours: 9:00am-noon, 3:00pm-5:00pm. While we don’t have a group rate, the reasonable price includes an excellent breakfast (*note: dinners are no longer included in the room price, but they can be billed to your room as necessary). 

Remember, you do not have to stay or eat with us, but of course, your company is most welcome! Coffee and tea are also available before breakfast, to fuel those first couple of hours of birding. A flashlight or a sleeping bag, if you are one to get cold at night, are also recommended.

In the ten years we have run this trip on this weekend, we have averaged 95 species, including 17 species of warblers! Here are Derek’s tour reports to see what you are missing!:

20132014201520162017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Don’t miss this year’s excitement!

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED BY CONTACTING US DIRECTLY. Hotel and ferry reservations must be made on your own. The trip is limited to 10 people per day.

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