• Loons and Songbirds with VCE in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

    Loon Lakes and Summer Songbirds

    June 26-28, 2019

    Tucked into Vermont’s northeastern corner – a stone’s throw from Canada – lies the tiny town of Averill. Moose outnumber people (the 2010 census counted 24 residents), and the night sky is truly dark. Here, three watery gems – Forest, Great Averill, and Little Averill lakes – host the fascinating and unrivaled spectacle of nesting Common Loons. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies invites you to join us for a VCE adventure: three days of exploring loon lakes, birding boreal forests, and simply enjoying this remote, special place.

    Nate Launer and Eric Hanson checking on a loon nesting raft.

    This corner of Vermont is notable for its seclusion and natural beauty. The Connecticut Lakes, headwaters of the river by the same name, are nearby. Boreal birds such as the Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, and Spruce Grouse can all be found in these woods. But the undisputed stars of the show – and our main quarry – will be Common Loons. Loons breed on each of these three lakes, where some 70 loon chicks have fledged in the 30+ years that we’ve monitored them.

    On this outing, you can ply the waters of Forest and Great Averill lakes to watch loons as they interact and care for their young. You can explore wooded trails for songbirds, butterflies, and wildflowers. You can hike to a dramatic overlook on Brousseau Mountain for a view of the lakes and vast expanse of forest below. You’ll even have a chance to help construct a loon nesting raft! And, you can relax on the lakeshore to savor its serenity and the captivating calls of loons. You’ll enjoy plentiful and delicious food and the rustic, cozy comfort of Quimby Country Resort, our headquarters for the trip on the shores of Forest Lake.

    Your guides are premier biologists and birders: Eric Hanson, VCE Conservation Biologist and director of our Vermont Loon Conservation Project; Dr. Rosalind Renfrew, VCE Conservation Biologist, director of our Grasslands program (and former loon seasonal biologist), and VCE Associate Director Susan Hindinger (also an ecologist by training). In addition to leading daily birding walks, paddling excursions to observe and monitor loon activity, and natural history rambles, Eric, Roz, and Susan will offer informal talks and programs over dessert each evening.

    Our lodging, Quimby Country, offers 1- to 3-bedroom cabins on the shores of Forest Lake. Each cabin is heated with a woodstove and has a refrigerator. Some have small kitchens. Mere footsteps out the door are boats, a tennis court, miles of walking and biking trails. And nature — lots and lots of nature (probably including black flies)!

    This outing — three days and two nights — begins with lunch at noon on Wednesday, June 26th, and ends after lunch on Friday, June 28th. We suspect you’ll want to stay longer, which the owners of Quimby Country are happy to accommodate!


    Single room in a private cabin – $940
    Double room in a private cabin – $875 per person
    Single room in a shared cabin – $825 per person
    Double room in a shared cabin – $760 per person

    What’s Included

    Your fee includes lodging for 2 nights, a (BYOB) cocktail reception on the first evening, all meals (3 lunches, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, including a lobster bake), guided hikes, birding, and paddling, expert guides and educators, use of Quimby Country amenities such as boats and tennis rackets, early-morning coffee and refreshments before birding, more birds than you can handle, spectacular scenery, lots of loons, and maybe even a moose!


    Space in this outing is limited. You can register online through our handy form, or send an email to VCE Development Coordinator Sarah Carline. For questions about lodging, food, or other logistics, send an email to Susan Hindinger or call her at 802-649-1431 x 203..

    Images from the 2019 Trip