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

    Loon Lakes and Summer Songbirds

    June 19-21, 2024

    Tucked into Vermont’s northeastern corner – a stone’s throw from Canada – lies the tiny town of Averill. Moose outnumber people (the 2020 census counted 21 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 northern forests, and simply enjoying this remote, special place.

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

    VCE Conservation Biologist and leader of the Vermont Loon Conservation Project, Eric Hanson, will guide our lake excursions and captivate us with his wealth of loon knowledge. Additionally, Eric and Susan Hindinger, VCE’s Executive Director, will lead daily birding walks, paddling excursions to observe and monitor loon activity, and explorations of various habitats. You’ll even have a chance to help construct a loon nesting raft!

    Natural beauty abounds in this secluded corner of Vermont, and opportunities for wildlife watching are endless. Moose wander through the low-elevation bogs and wetlands – we’ll see one if we’re especially lucky. Peregrine Falcons nest on the cliffs above. But the undisputed stars of the show – and our main focus – 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 during their active nesting season. (The timing of their nest establishment will determine whether chicks have hatched when we are there, or the adults are still tending to eggs.) We will explore wooded trails for songbirds, butterflies, and wildflowers. We will offer a hike to a dramatic overlook on Brousseau Mountain for a view of the lakes and vast expanse of forest below. And, there will be plenty of time to 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’s waterfront cabins, our headquarters for the trip on the shores of Forest Lake. Quimby Country offers single- and double-occupancy rooms in 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 in early afternoon on Wednesday, June 19th, and ends in late morning on Friday, June 21st. We suspect you’ll want to stay longer, which the owners of Quimby Country are happy to accommodate!


    Double occupancy room in a private cabin – $900 per person (Sold out for 2024 trip)
    Single occupancy room in a shared cabin – $850 per person (Sold out for 2024 trip)
    Double occupancy room in a shared cabin – $800 per person (Sold out for 2024 trip)

    What’s Included

    Your fee includes lodging for two nights in a cabin with a woodstove; a (BYOB) cocktail reception on the first evening; all meals (2 breakfasts, 2 dinners, 1 lunch); 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; spectacular scenery; lots of loons; and maybe even a moose!


    Space in this outing is limited to 14 participants. As of 03/29/2024, the trip is full. You can join our waitlist here and will be notified if a space opens up for you. For questions about lodging, food, or other logistics, please reach out to Elexa Phillips at or 802-649-1431 x 210.

    Images from the 2019 Trip