Maine Puffins and Songbirds

Trip Dates: May 27 - 31, 2020

Tour Fee: $3300 includes 5 days total shooting in the field, boat charters, and puffin blind reservations. The photo tour is designed to make your shooting time the most productive possible. It does not include lodging or meals.

Tour Deposit: $800, leaving a balance of $2500 due 90 days prior to the tour.

Target Group Size: 4 - 5 participants

From: Greenville, Maine

Begin the trip with the rocky New England coast to photograph Puffins, Eiders, and a host of other species. Puffins and Razorbills will be at point blank range where we can even use wide angle lenses to photograph them. The boat trips often yeild photo opportunities at pelagic birds such and Shearwaters and Fulmars as well. Next we will photograph warblers and songbirds in a boreal forest surrounding Maine's largest lake. Target birds here will include northern specialties such as Boreal Chickadee, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, and more. Combine the wonderful birds with a beautiful setting and fresh seafood for dinner, and you have the ingredients for a very enjoyable trip.

Photo Tour goals
Songbirds are usually treetop species and very difficult to photograph. Our goal is to obtain exceptional photos of 1-3 species per day. Quality over quantity. During the seabird portion of the trip, we will have up to two mornings on the nesting island in blinds. The time will go by quickly but it should be tremendously productive as birds come so close as to land on the roof of the blind itself.

Best airport: Portland International (PWM)

Cell service:
Service is fair near the hotel and restaurants. Service is poor to non-existent while we are shooting in some of the remote forest areas.

Be prepared for temperatures in the low forties in the early morning, when the birds are most active. Some years, we see 80 degrees by late afternoon, so dressing in layers is a good idea. We’ll be shooting rain or shine. Your shoes could get a little muddy or dirty if we have a recent rain or heavy morning dew. Insects are sometimes an issue at this time of year, but if you put on bug spray the chances of them bothering you are greatly reduced.

Each participant must have their own transportation. Carpooling will be optional while we are in the field.

We will eat lunch and dinner as a group, but restaurant options will be generally somewhat humble and limited in the small towns in the area.

What to pack:

  • Tripod

  • DSLR camera

  • Your longest lens (600mm minimum when you count crop factor and tele-extenders)

  • Flash plus better beamer if desired

  • Extra memory cards or laptop to download images

  • Rain gear

  • Waterproof shoes recommended in case the grass is wet

  • Bug spray. There are some amazing birds (and rare orchids) around the bogs on this trip, but the insects can be pretty intense at times.

  • I strongly recommend bringing in insect hat or insect net to keep bugs away from your face. Some years it’s not necessary and other times we are really glad we had the head nets.

  • Notepad and pencil if you want to take notes during my photoshop demo

  • Bring a sample of your own work if you like. It can be fun to share during lunch break to get to know each other’s work.

  • A positive attitude. One negative person can put a cloud over the whole trip but good attitudes are contagious as well!

  • Waterproof shoes are not essential be can be really nice in case it rains.


Physical requirements:
We’ll shoot primarily from standing positions unless you prefer to bring along a camping stool. This photo tour is not physically demanding aside from requiring a lot of standing, but again, bring a folding chair or stool if you are concerned about getting tired. Probably 90% of our shooting will take place from the forest logging roads while we stand right next to our cars. Only once in a while we may wish to walk a hundred feet or so into a field or forest but that’s rare on this trip. If you are prone to getting seasick, bring appropriate medicine to help prevent nausea. 


Likely Species on the trip - species in bold are species we are most likely to photograph

  • Common Loon

  • Common Eider

  • Common Merganser

  • Black Guillemot

  • Common Murre

  • Razorbill

  • Atlantic Puffin

  • Northern Fulmar

  • Greater Shearwater

  • Wilson's Storm Petrel

  • Hering Gull

  • Great Black-backed Gull

  • Bald Eagle

  • Osprey

  • Spruce Grouse

  • Ruffed Grouse

  • Black-backed Woodpecker

  • Boreal Chickadee

  • Black-capped Chickadee

  • Red-breasted Nuthatch

  • Blue-headed Vireo

  • Magnolia Warbler

  • Black-thraoted Green Warbler

  • Black-throated Blue Warbler

  • Black-and-white Warbler

  • Northern Parula

  • Bay-breasted Warbler

  • Tennessee Warbler

  • American Redstart

  • Canada Warbler

  • Chestnut-sided Warbler

  • Blackburnian Warbler

  • Yellow Warbler

  • Blackpoll Warbler

  • Ovenbird

  • Northern Waterthrush

  • Palm Warbler

  • Pine Warbler

  • Yellow-rumped Warbler

  • Golden-crowned Kinglet

  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet

  • Hermit Thrush

  • White-throated Sparrow

The following image gallery contains photos taken by previous participants on the Maine photo tour: