Birding in Rangeley
From Boreal Chickadees in our vast forests to Loons on our magnificent lakes to the rare Bicknell’s Thrush in the high peaks above, the Rangeley Region is rich with birds. Add in both migrating and breeding warblers and you have a unique opportunity to see and learn about birds that are difficult to find in other parts of Maine.
Registration for the 2020 Rangeley Birding Festival will open March 1, 2020. Until then enjoy the following self-guided enticing day trips in the Rangeley Region.
Boy Scout Road (walk)
Over 60% of all the species ever seen in Franklin County have been documented on this stretch of road. This dirt drive cuts through prime boreal habitat and allows you to walk up to nesting warblers, compare vireo species in close proximity, and even pick up waterbirds along the Kennebago.
Physical demands: Approx 2 miles of walking on a dirt road with some inconsistent terrain.
Boy Scout Road is located within our Kennebago 3000 Easement. Directions and more information can be found here.
Mingo Springs (walk)
Mingo Springs Golf Course provides an open space with meadow and edge habitat that is otherwise scarce in the Rangeley area. This walk will target species that like these open spaces and provide some diversity to our festival totals, including Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Kingbirds, and clear views for raptors like the locally nesting Broad-winged Hawks. Directions and more information can be found here.
Bicknell’s Thrush (walk)
This trip focuses on birding the high-elevation spruce-fir forests of Saddleback Mt (elev. 4,120’) for boreal forest birds, especially Bicknell’s Thrush. In addition to normal birding gear, you should bring day packs to carry water bottles (at least 2 liters), lunch, bug spray, sunscreen, raincoat/windbreaker, and headnet.
Physical demands: This trip requires approximately 3.2 miles (round trip) of hiking over moderately steep terrain of a former ski trail until reaching the Appalachian Trail.
Perham Stream Birding Trail
Perham Stream is a little known gem in East Madrid, Maine. Carson Hinckley, a descendant of original settlers in the valley, created and maintains the Perham Stream Birding Trail with help from the Sandy River Land Trust. It sits across the road from his family's 18th Century Farm, which will soon be the site of an archaeological dig.
This includes a leisurely relatively flat walk along the Perham Stream at the foot of the Saddleback Range with good views of the mountains across the fields and forest trails. The habitat includes northern hardwoods and mixed-wood forest of young to medium age. We’ll see and more often hear a variety of warblers including Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Magnolia Warbler, Kingfisher, and Red-eyed Vireo within the riverine, forest, and field habitats.
If time and interest allow, a short drive away can give us access to a short access trail into slightly higher elevation habitat where can hear Black-throated Green Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, and Blackpoll Warblers.
Physical demands: The walk will take approximately 2 to 3 hours (flexible) and covers perhaps 2 to 3 miles.
Directions to Perham Birding Stream here.
Loon Cruise (boat trip)
The 1 ½ hour Loon Photography Cruise will be aboard the 36’ Oquossoc Lady II, the flagship of Rangeley Region Lake Cruises. Your cruise will focus on observing and photographing the majestic Common Loon in their natural environment. June affords us a unique opportunity to photograph the Common Loon while they are displaying their striking courting plumage! Along with photographing the loons your Captain, also a Registered Maine Guide, will include discussions on the life cycle, migration patterns, four call of the loon, and parenting habits of these beautiful birds. Contact Rangeley Region Lake Cruises & Kayaking for reservations or information call 207-670-8391.
A special note of thanks to Bob Duchesne, Doug Hitchcox, Nick Leadley, Derek Lovitch. Peter McKinley, and Herb Wilson for helping to bring birding to Rangeley and conceiving the Rangeley Birding Festival, and to the Maine Community Foundation's Fund for Maine Land Conservation for their timely and critical support.