Winter Waterbirds Workshop
Ogunquit 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
|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.
Winter is a wonderful time for birding in Maine – at least when you are dressed appropriately! Colorful seaducks that breed in the high Arctic grace our shorelines – including all three scoter species and dapper Long-tailed Ducks, along with everyone’s favorite: striking Harlequin Ducks. Purple Sandpipers and Great Cormorants replace our summertime shoreline denizens. And if the winds are right, very sought-after alcids - including Dovekies and Thick-billed Murres – join our regular Black Guillemots and Razorbills. Black-legged Kittiwakes, Northern Gannets, and “white-winged” gulls add to the mix. In this workshop, we’ll hit a few of the prime viewing locations along Maine’s southern coast. But we won’t just be working on the checklist today. Instead, we’ll be focused on learning how to search for these birds – the how, when, and why – and how to identify them. We’ll learn about microhabitats, weather considerations, and seasonal timing to aid our search today and in the future.By visiting several seasonally-productive sites, we’ll compare similar species while taking time to savor the splashes of color offered by winter seaducks in an otherwise gray and white landscape.
We’ll meet at 9 a.m. (please arrive 15 minutes early so we can depart on time) at the Perkin’s Cove parking lot in Ogunquit (end of Perkin’s Cove Road, off of Shore Road). We’ll begin with a walk here, so get your layers ready! We’ll then carpool to the rest of the day’s birding destinations, based on tides, weather, and especially the birds themselves! We’ll return to Perkin’s Cove around 4 p.m.
Frequently Asked Questions
What about transportation?
Participants are responsible for their own transportation, and carpooling from our first site will be highly encouraged.
What should I wear?
The most recommended piece of gear is a pair of sturdy waterproof footwear to be prepared for icy conditions on paths. 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.
What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
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?
- Binoculars and spotting scope if you have one
- 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.
his workshop needs a minimum of three participants. In the event the minimum is not met, we may cancel or offer to move you to a different workshop.
Please refer to the CDC website for the latest guidance on COVID-19 and travel.
Many thanks to Dennis Harris for the wonderful photos taken during the 2022 workshop!