• Fall Migration with VCE on Monhegan Island

    Songbirds, Scenery, Science, and Serenity

    September 29 – October 2, 2023

    Ten miles off Maine’s midcoast, songbirds pour from the skies at dawn on Monhegan Island. Whales feed offshore, and Monarch butterflies stop to find rare nectar at sea. After a three-year hiatus, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies is once again ofering a very special, four-day birding trip to Monhegan Island. We invite you to join us to experience the fall migration spectacle on Monhegan Island from September 29 - October 2, 2023.

    lark-sparrow-trapYour guides are premier biologists and birders: Conservation Biologist Desiree Narango, Staff Biologist Kevin Tolan, Associate Director Dan Lambert, and Executive Director Susan Hindinger. In addition to leading daily birding outings around the island, the staff team will offer science talks as well as birding “round-ups” before dinner in the living room each night.

    Monhegan packs a lot of beauty and habitat diversity in a space only 1.5 miles long and a half-mile wide. Its remote location, about a dozen miles off the Maine coastline, offers respite to exhausted migrating birds blown offshoreby westerly winds. We can expect to find more than 20 warbler species along with migratory oddities such as Lark Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, and Dickcissel. Shearwaters sometimes fly offshore in good numbers. We often see Harbor Porpoises and Minke Whales, as well as Gray Seals and Harbor Seals.

    Foot trails abound across a variety of terrain, from flat, dirt roads to steep, rocky scrambles. (You will have plenty of choices every day.) The island’s only village is home to some 65 year-round residents, including a number of lobster fishermen. During our trip, the island will be bustling with energy, as October 1st marks the start of Monhegan’s island-specific lobstering season. So-called “Trap Day,” the dock area transforms into a community-wide gathering place with an air of celebration. Meanwhile, a short walk away, the sounds of human activity are replaced by the crash of waves upon the cliffs and the wind in the trees.

    On this outing, you can hike the island’s wooded and shoreline trails, discover migrating birds, or simply sit and watch the waves from one of Monhegan’s dramatic overlooks. The guides will offer a variety of field walks every day—some bird-focused and others on different aspects of Monhegan’s natural history.

    You’ll feast on lobster and other fine food at our home base during the trip, the Monhegan House. This historic inn offers beautiful views of the ocean, lighthouse, and meadow. Monhegan House has shared baths – among the most private and clean anywhere.

    This outing — four days and three nights — departs from Port Clyde, Maine (near Rockland). You’ll arrive at the dock no later than 2PM on Friday, September 29th, for our one-hour ferry crossing. Our return ferry trip on Monday, October 2nd arrives back at Port Clyde by 2PM.


    Single Occupancy – $1300 per person
    Double Occupancy – $1200 per person
    Suite (private bath, double occupancy) – $1375 per person (sold out as of 05/05/2023)

    What’s Included

    Your fee includes ferry transportation, parking at the dock, lodging, coffee and warm pastry at dawn each morning, a full breakfast each day, three suppers (including a lobster bake), a cocktail gathering (BYOB), more birds than you can handle, spectacular scenery, porpoises, whales (sometimes), butterflies and dragonflies, evening lectures, lots of ocean, and all gratuities except for the truck driver who carries our luggage.


    Space in this outing is limited and is currently full. To join our waitlist, please email VCE Development Coordinator Alyssa Fishman at . You can also email Alyssa with questions about the ferry, the island, lodging, food and other logistics.

    Images from 2019 (Click on an image to enlarge and start the slideshow)

    You’ll find a treasure trove of gorgeous photos from VCE’s trips to Monhegan Island—including the the flora and fauna that call it home—at Jim Block Photography: