2020 Rangeley Birding Festival Birding Trips & Activities

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, all in one weekend! 

Following is an enticing list of the opportunities, offered from early Friday afternoon through Sunday noon. 

Bicknell's Thrush

This strenuous trip focuses on birding the high-elevation spruce-fir forests of Saddleback Mountain or Mt. Abraham for boreal forest birds, especially Bicknell’s Thrush.

In addition to normal birding gear, participants must bring a day pack, 2 liters of water, bagged lunch, bug repellent, sunscreen, raincoat or windbreaker, and head net.

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Bicknell's Thrush

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Boy Scout Road

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.

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Boreal Chickadee, Philadelphia Vireo, warblers including Cape May, Tennessee, Bay-breasted, and more.

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Boreal Blitz

On these van trips, our guides will take to you short access points and stakeout locations for some of the major boreal targets - since the birds don’t know that they should be at hotspots! The difficulty was influenced by the number of times you will load and unload the vans.

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Boreal Chickadee, Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, warblers.

Perham Stream Birding Trail

Perham Stream is a little-known gem in East Madrid, Maine. Expect a leisurely fairly flat walk along the Perham Stream at the foot of the Saddleback Range with views of the mountains across the fields and forest. The habitat includes northern hardwoods and mixed-wood forests of young to medium age.  We’ll see and more often hear a variety of warblers including 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 a slightly higher elevation habitat. 

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Magnolia Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, and Red-eyed Vireo.

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Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge

Participants will meet at the refuge office located 4.5 miles north of Errol, NH. The pontoon tour will leave the refuge’s dock and travel down the Magalloway River exploring riparian forests, wetlands, and oxbows along the way. Arriving at Umbagog lake, we will explore the north end of the lake, including an eagle nest and Leonard marsh. The Androscoggin River along with Sweat Meadow and Harper’s Meadow, a National Natural Landmark, will also be explored.

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Common Loon, Osprey, Rusty Blackbird, Swainson's Thrush, waterfowl, warblers, Sandhill Crane

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Loon Cruise

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! Take this opportunity to photograph loons, learn their life cycle, migration patterns, four calls, and the parenting habits of these beautiful birds.

Difficulty: ⭐️

Key Species: Common Loon, Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher

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Mingo Springs Bird 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.

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Kingbirds, Broad-winged Hawks

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Rangeley Lakes Trails Center

The RLTC, located on the Saddleback Mountain Road, offers miles of trails, with transitional forests.

Trails lead birders up to the Saddleback Mountain Lodge and also down to Saddleback Lake.

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Waterfowl, Warblers, Canada Jay, White-winged Crossbill

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Rangeley River & Tap House Walk

Walk the Rangeley River Conservation Area which connects to Boy Scout Road, on RLHT's Kennebago 3000 Easement. This dirt access road is gated, and cuts through prime boreal habitat along the Rangeley River and allows you to pick up nesting warblers and is another spot to compare vireo species in close proximity.

After the walk, wind down at the Portage Tap House with your guide and fellow birders.

Physical demands: Approx. 2 miles of walking on a dirt road with some inconsistent terrain. An outhouse is located at the bridge.

Difficulty: ⭐️⭐️

Key Species: Black-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Boreal Chickadee

Visit Rangeley River Trail

Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum Tour

This popular museum, operated by the Rangeley Lakes Historical Society, features interesting exhibits highlighting the human experience surrounding our region’s unique natural resources.

The archive contains beautiful wildlife and nature-based art as well as numerous artifacts, vintage film presentations and countless unique photographs that provide a rare glimpse into the region’s nationally significant outdoor history.

The OSHM is a cultural gem of our community.

Visit the OSHM

Introduction to Bird Photography

Led by Nick Leadley, owner of Touch the Wild Photography. This workshop will give you the tips and tricks you'll need to know to get the wildlife photographs you want!

Visit Touch the Wild

Photography Field Workshop

Join Nick Leadley, of Touch the Wild Photography, in the field to practice the tips and tricks learned in the Introduction to Photography workshop!

Visit Touch the Wild

Saturday Evening at The Rangeley Inn

Join your guides, assistants, volunteers, and other birders for a social hour, followed by keynote speaker, Dr. Brian Olsen of the University of Maine at Orono.

After our speaker, the 2nd The John Bicknell Award for Bird Conservation will be presented.

Read Dr. Olsen's Background

Butterflies & Insects

Maine Audubon staff will offer an afternoon workshop on Maine's pollinators.

More details to come!

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