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2020 New Brunswick – Grand Manan
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Strenuous
Group Size Medium Group
Grand Manan lies at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, a 90-minute ferry ride from mainland New Brunswick. It is a migrant and vagrant trap, somewhat similar to Monhegan Island, Maine. However, Grand Manan is much larger than Monhegan, so instead of walking the entire time, we will drive to various locations around the island for our daily outings. We’ll search for warblers, sparrows, wrens, and thrushes, a fine selection of eastern North American migrants. Among these we’ll watch for the occasional western, southern, or even Eurasian visitors, such as the Ruff and Dickcissel we found in 2003, Black Skimmer in 2010, and numerous South Polar Skuas in 2012.
On one of our days we’ll go by boat on a pelagic birding trip into the rich offshore waters. Here we are likely to find seabirds and cetaceans, possibly in very large numbers. Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Pomarine Jaeger, and Manx, Great, and Sooty Shearwaters can all be expected, and many additional species including Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Northern Fulmar, and perhaps Great or South Polar Skua are possible. As many as seven species of cetaceans inhabit these waters in autumn, including the extremely rare Northern Right Whale.
You can take just this tour, or continue on to Monhegan Island, Maine, described separately. Go on both the Grand Manan and Monhegan Tours, and the room and meals on the day between the two tours are at no extra charge!
This tour is limited to ten participants.
Duration: 5 days
Limit: 3 – 10
Date: 16 September – 20 September 2019
Start: Bangor, ME
End: Bangor, ME
US$2530 per person sharing assuming 5 – 10 participants
Single supplement: US$370
We can run the same trip at a price similar to the larger group price for 2 tour participants, if they rent their own vehicle and pay for fuel – please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
- Guiding fees
- Entrance fees
- All transport while on tour
- Domestic and International flights
- Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
- Alcoholic drinks
- Personal insurance
- Laundry Service
Bangor to Grand Manan
The tour begins in Bangor, Maine. Plan to arrive at the airport by noon. We’ll drive east to the Canadian border (remember your passport and the time change), then continue on the scenic drive to the ferry terminal at Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick.
During the 90-minute crossing we’ll look for pelagic species that may include Northern Gannet, Black Guillemot, Great Shearwater, Pomarine Jaeger, Red Phalarope, and Black-legged Kittiwake. We should also see Harbor Seal, Harbor Porpoise, and possibly a Humpback or Finback Whale.
All four nights will be at the Shorecrest Lodge, a beautiful location on Grand Manan.
Day 2 - 4
Exploring the Island and Boat Trips
Each day will be a new adventure as we explore the 100 square-mile main island and some of the smaller adjacent islands. Most songbirds are nocturnal migrants, so we will spend much of the day searching for overnight arrivals. The Whistle and Swallow Tail can be especially productive locations, particularly if a cold front and resultant northwest winds push migrants off the mainland.
Southwest Head is a great spot to watch for migrant raptors, waterfowl, seabirds, and a few shorebirds. One year we found a Dickcissel at Southwest Head and a very rare RUFF at Castalia Marsh, along with Red Knot, Whimbrel, American Golden-Plover, and Red-necked Phalarope. A BLACK SKIMMER made an unexpected appearance on a previous tour.
Backyard feeders can be quite active and yield species such as Baltimore Oriole, Rusty Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and an unusual sparrow or two. Long Eddy near the lighthouse is an area of intense tidal current and can host a myriad of feeding seabirds and perhaps a Sabine’s Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, or Black-legged Kittiwake.
Two boat trips are planned: one to nearby White Head Island to look for Boreal Chickadee, Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and Northern Goshawk; the other into deeper offshore waters in search of whales and additional pelagic birds.
Because we are staying at the same lodge each night and driving from there daily, we can easily drive you to the lodge at mid-day to pursue your own private agenda, such as a quiet stroll, a good book, or perhaps a nap.
We’ll be at the dock for an early morning ferry crossing back to Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick. There may be a bit of time for some birding and some great habitat at Moosehorn NWR in nearby Maine, just across the border. Our final destination is Bangor, Maine for your afternoon flight home.
OR . . . Our Grand Manan Tour may be combined with the 5-day tour to Monhegan Island, Maine from 23 – 27 September 2019, for a total of TEN incredible days of North Atlantic Maritime birding. See the separate Monhegan itinerary for details.
GRAND MANAN, NEW BRUNSWICK
17-21 September 2012
Top 10 lists are voted upon by the participants at the completion of each tour.
1 – Atlantic Puffin – many seen well on our half-day pelagic trip and several found on our ferry crossing to the island.
2 – South Polar Skua – four found on our pelagic trip. This has been an amazingly good year for South Polar Skuas near Grand Manan.
3 – Great Shearwater – hundreds seen on the pelagic trip, often right beside the boat.
4 – Pomarine Jaeger – many seen from shore and from our boat. Some were at exceedingly close range, sometimes stealing fish from gulls.
5 – American Pipit – a small flock along the shore at Castalia was quite cooperative.
6 – Sooty Shearwater – 100 or more seen from the outbound ferry and on our pelagic trip. There were frequent close comparisons with Great Shearwaters.
7 – Black-legged Kittiwake – a daily sight in the waters and coastline of Grand Manan.
8 – Red-eyed Vireo – two near The Whistle gave us prolonged eye-level views.
9 – Ruffed Grouse – one was perched on the shoulder of the road at The Whistle.
10 – Red-breasted Nuthatch – great views and large numbers, usually in spruce trees.
Mammalian highlights included at least twenty-five Finback Whales on our pelagic trip, plus numerous Harbor Porpoises, Harbor Seals, and several Gray Seals, mostly seen from shore. On land we saw a Snowshoe Hare, several Red Squirrels, and signs of Beaver. Butterflies were common and included Monarchs, Red Admirals, American Ladies and Painted Ladies, and Common Buckeyes. Sulphurs and Cabbage Whites were abundant.
Will we do any birding the first day?
Yes! We have birding planned if time allows and everything is on schedule.
**NOTE: Most participants choose to arrive in Bangor the day before the tour begins, and spend the night there. This eliminates almost any possible conflict with a delayed airline flight.
How should I dress for the tour?
Check the weather for the destination as close to your departure date as possible, and dress accordingly for your comfort level. You can also review our What to Bring page for more information.
Besides clothes, what do I need to bring?
There are many items the will be useful to you while on a Bird Treks tour. We have put together our list of recommendations on the What to Bring page.
What language are tours conducted in?
Our tours are all conducted in English, but we do have some experience working with client that don’t speak English well – Some English would be needed for safety reasons. In locations where another language is predominately spoken, a native guide may accompany the tour.
Can you help me book flights?
Yes, we will always try our best to help with anything at all! We’re here to serve you. However, it is usually easier if you book your flight through your own travel agent as we can’t always get the best deals from your particular country. But we will help whenever needed!
Can you book accommodation for us the night before the tour starts or the night the tour ends?
While Day 1 is usually a travel (arrival) day, and the last day of the tour is usually also a travel day (departure), many people do like to arrive early and/or leave late. We can indeed book extra nights before and after the trip, and we in fact recommend you let us book them, as it avoids confusion and allows us to book the accommodation that is most convenient for the tour.
NOTE: Most often it is the same hotel or lodge that you use on the first night of the tour, but in some instances, it could be an airport hotel or an accommodation establishment where the guide is staying.
Do you provide trip insurance?
No, we do not. We find that it is better for trip participants to purchase their own medical, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance through their own insurance provider in the country they reside in. We expect all tour participants to have comprehensive insurance, and we encourage everyone to send us a copy of their insurance documents.
Are meals included?
For most tours, meals are included in the tour price. This may include a hotel-provided breakfast, or guide-provided box lunches. For dinners, we strive to find interesting and delicious local restaurants – this allows us to give back to the local economy, and find exciting new place to eat.
Will I get seasick on the boat?
Most people will not get sick, although you should take precautions if you are prone to motion sickness, as the weather can dictate how rough the ride will be. There are various remedies sold at local pharmacies which can help relieve motion sickness and will make your trip more enjoyable.