Monhegan 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.
Join Derek Lovitch for three days of birding at Maine’s famous Migration Mecca. As the summer crowds dwindle, the island becomes a birders’ paradise, with birding opportunities around every corner. This tour will spend three days sampling what the island has to offer during the peak of migration, from warblers to hawks to sparrows to the unexpected. Weather (and sometimes, lack thereof) will dictate how much we do or do not see, but every day is different out there. We’ll learn that fall warblers are rarely if ever “confusing” and why migrants – and vagrants from any direction – drop by this offshore migrant trap.
While finding and seeing birds will be the priority, we will also do a bit of informal workshopping in the afternoons to learn more about the mechanisms and marvels of bird migration. Day one will begin at the dock for the Hardy Boat in New Harbor. We’ll keep an eye out for birds from the top deck of the boat as we make the hour-long crossing to the island. Upon our arrival, we’ll hit the ground running to make the most out of our first morning at this special place. Once we’re on land, we’ll be on foot for the next 2 days, with several walks throughout the day. We’ll mostly be on dirt roads with some steep sections, but we’ll also traverse some narrow trails full of roots and rocks. Expect to spend time on “unimproved surfaces.” You will set a new personal record on your step-counter - especially when the bird we most want to see gets discovered on the opposite end of the island just before mealtime!
After we check in at Monhegan House, lunch will be on your own, with a variety of options scattered about the town. After a break, we’ll head back out later in the afternoon for some more birding, before assembling again for an evening “cocktail hour” (BYOB; also available on the island) and our migration workshop where we’ll discuss the birds of the day, how and why we saw (and didn’t see) what we did, and more. The next two mornings we’ll once again maximize our time on the island. Following a short walk shortly after sunrise, we’ll enjoy the famous Monhegan House breakfast before birding for the remainder of the morning. Once again, we’ll break for lunch before reconvening for some afternoon birding: on the second day until we prepare for our evening “cocktail hour and migration review” and on the third day, right up until it’s time to head to the ferry.
Some folks may wish to skip some walks, either to sleep in or to take in the museum and art galleries, but there will be some free time after lunch each afternoon for everyone to partake in all the other special things the island has to offer, from hiking to an incredible craft brewery.
More about Monhegan House:
Fall asleep to the sound of the sea and wake up to panoramic views of Maine's premier seaside oasis. The Monhegan House offers 27 bright, comfortable rooms on four floors with beautiful views of the ocean, the lighthouse and meadow, or both. They offer both single and double rooms that are appointed with period furniture and plush, comfortable bedding.
Bring at least one extra layer more than you think you will need. Although the inn as a heated common area, rooms can get cold at night, especially if the sun is not shining, and mornings can already be chilly and damp.
This workshop includes:
- 2 Night accommodations at the Monhegan House
- Breakfast at Monhegan House Saturday and Sunday
- Dinner at Monhegan House Friday and Saturday
- Birding sessions on Friday, Saturday & Sunday
- Round trip ferry transportation on Hardy Boat Cruises
Frequently Asked Questions
What about transportation?
Participants are responsible for their own transportation to New Harbor at parking at the ferry terminal.
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. Other suggested items are found below.
- Insect Repellant
- Waterproof Outerwear
What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
Trips will indeed be rain or shine.
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.