Rangeley Birding Workshop
|Derek Lovitch has made a career out of his lifelong passion for birds. After graduating with a degree in environmental policy from Rutgers University, he worked in avian research and education projects in nine states, from New Jersey to Hawaii, Florida to Michigan. He also spent three summers as a tour guide on Alaska’s Pribilof Islands, serving as tour director in 2003 and conducting the first comprehensive Fall Avian Survey in the islands’ history.
Derek and his wife, Jeannette, live in Durham, where they own and operate Freeport Wild Bird Supply, a retail store that caters to birders of all levels. The store serves as a vehicle for Derek to continue sharing his enthusiasm for birding, birds, and bird conservation.
Nestled on the shore of Mooselookmeguntic Lake, the Bald Mountain Camps will be our base for two days of exploring the magnificent Rangeley Lakes region. We will have dinner as a group on the evening of our arrival provided by Bald Mountain Camps. This dinner will also serve as our welcome meeting to prepare for the next two days of birding. We’ll get an early start the next morning, when we will sample the breeding birds of the lake’s lowlands at Hunter Cove Wildlife Sanctuary. Blackburnian warblers will be abundant, and we’ll look and listen for a variety of species from hermit thrushes to northern parulas. We’ll practice our birding-by-ear skills - a critical tool in the Maine woods. Depending on how busy the birding is, we’ll likely caravan to one other site before stopping for lunch. Back at BMC, we’ll have a break to enjoy the property during the mid-day sun, and then head out for another short drive to a local birding site for a couple of hours. The evening will be dedicated to looking for and listening to common loons from the camp’s property, with a break for a delicious dinner.
In the morning, we’ll get an early start to head out to the famous Boy Scout Road — one of the premier birding destinations of the area. Canada jays will hopefully await, one of the first “Boreal specialties” we will be hoping for. Easy walking and up to 15 species of breeding warblers await, with our focus on learning how to identify them by sight and sound — not just checking them off and moving on. Depending on time and activity, we may relocate to several nearby locations that involve short walks for a variety of species, such as bay-breasted and palm warbler, yellow-bellied and olive-sided flycatchers, and more. While boreal chickadees and spruce grouse are now very rare in the lowlands in this area, the possibility exists to encounter them, but we’re not going to focus on the rare species. Instead, we’re going to learn the more common and widespread species, with a special focus on watching behavior. We’ll return to Bald Mountain Camps for lunch and some casual lakeside birding as we recap some of the species and skills we practiced throughout the day before heading our separate ways.
More about Bald Mountain Camps
The Philbrick Family is a second-generation owner, carrying on a family tradition of providing guests with the services that will make your stay a most pleasant and enjoyable one. Bald Mountain Camps started in the 1800s as a sporting camp. They carry on that tradition today, adding modern conveniences.
Bald Mountain Camps have 14 log cabins that can accommodate 2-8 people comfortably. The cabins are completely furnished. Each cabin offers a private porch, Rinnai heaters (primary source of heat), fireplace or woodstove, private bath, spacious living room, and individual bedrooms.
This workshop includes:
- 2 Night accommodations at the Bald Mountain Camps
- Dinner on Friday night
- Lunch on Saturday & Sunday
- Birding sessions on Saturday & Sunday
Not included: Transportation between birding sites; carpooling requested and encouraged.
Frequently Asked Questions
What about transportation?
Participants are responsible for their own transportation.
What should I wear?
The most recommended piece of gear is a pair of sturdy waterproof footwear, with mud likely during outings. We also like to layer, which usually means a base layer of synthetic, fast-wicking material, a warm fleece or soft shell, and a down jacket for cool mornings. Sunscreen and waterproof outerwear are also recommended.
Should I be concerned about ticks?
Yes. All outdoor activities in New England carry the risk of picking up these nasty hitchhikers. Please use bug repellent that you can apply to your skin, or even better, permethrin, which you apply to clothes you plan on wearing in the field. Also, give yourself an extensive review when you get home at night to check for ticks.
What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
Trips will be held rain or shine. The trip will only be canceled if road conditions are unsafe or expected to become unsafe before the conclusion of the tour.
What equipment do you recommend I bring?
- Camera (if you would like)
- Waterproof footwear or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet or muddy
The payment is 50% refundable in the event you have to cancel, as long as the cancellation is made 21 days before the trip. After that time, your payment is non-refundable. Alternately, 100% of your payment will be refunded if a replacement can be found prior to the trip.
Please refer to the CDC website for the latest guidance on COVID-19 and travel.