Nelson’s Sparrow & Coastal Maine Extension

Southern Maine

  • 8 June 2020 (1-Day Tour/Extension)

Price: $125 (for day) / $210 (including lodging)

Single Supplement: $85

Nelson’s Sparrow -  Keenan Yakola

Nelson’s Sparrow - Keenan Yakola

This tour, in the picturesque coastal region of southern Maine, can be done either as an extension to our New Hampshire Boreal Tour or as a stand-alone single day tour. The tour focuses on viewing the secretive and sought-after “Sharp-tailed” Sparrows – both Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrows – as well as many other specialties in the region. We’ll also have a chance to find Little Egret, Tricolored Heron and Little Blue Heron. Other focal species on the day include Roseate and Least Terns, nesting Piping Plovers, Upland Sandpiper, “Eastern” Willet, Glossy Ibis, American Oystercatcher, Willow and Alder Flycatchers, Bank Swallow, Grasshopper, Vesper, and Field Sparrows, Brown Thrasher, Indigo Bunting, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, and Prairie Warbler.

Optional lodging provided for the night before, which works especially well for folks doing this as an extension to our Boreal Bird Weekend.

Transportation provided from Portland, ME. For folks doing this as a single day tour, you have the option to meet in the morning in Portland or in Scarborough, ME. Transportation is provided throughout the tour.

This tour is led by ornithologist and top-notch bird guide Dr. David Hof, Ph.D.


  • The tour departs Portland, ME and begins in Scarborough, ME in the early morning.

Glossy Ibis -  Keenan Yakola

Glossy Ibis - Keenan Yakola

  • We kick off the morning of birding at Scarborough Marsh, home to the lovely “sharp-tailed” sparrows – Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrows and their hybrids. These secretive sparrows are fairly abundant here, and we should get in some excellent viewing of both species. The expansive saltmarsh here also hosts other great birds for our viewing pleasure – Glossy Ibis, “Eastern” Willet, Willow Flycatcher, Bank Swallow, and others. Snowy and Great Egrets are abundant here, and in past years the marsh has been frequented by a vagrant Little Egret, which we may get lucky to see. We’ll also have a chance to find Little Blue and Tricolored Herons.

Roseate Tern -  Keenan Yakola

Roseate Tern - Keenan Yakola

  • We’ll then visit nearby beaches hosting federally endangered Piping Plovers, as well as Roseate and Least Terns, and American Oystercatchers.

  • Our next stop is the Kennebunk Plains, a large expanse of grasslands and pitch pine forest. This area is superb for a number of great specialties – Upland Sandpiper, Grasshopper, Vesper, and Field Sparrows, Brown Thrasher, Alder Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Prairie Warbler, and possibly Black-billed Cuckoo.

Prairie Warbler -  Tyler Pockette

Prairie Warbler - Tyler Pockette

  • We’ll make a final stop at some classic Maine rocky coastline, where we’ll look for seabirds while enjoying the picturesque scenery.

  • The tour concludes in the mid-afternoon, and transportation is provided back to Scarborough and Portland, ME. We can book lodging for you for the night in Portland (not included in tour price).

Saltmarsh Sparrow -  Keenan Yakola

Saltmarsh Sparrow - Keenan Yakola

Piping Plover -  Jane Ogilvie

Piping Plover - Jane Ogilvie

Upland Sandpiper -  Tyler Pockette

Upland Sandpiper - Tyler Pockette

Indigo Bunting -  Tyler Pockette

Indigo Bunting - Tyler Pockette