To join Greg on one of these tours visit or call 888-875-9453

In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA, while trying to hold down a full-time job, aspiring to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year. "The Big Year," a novel by Mark Obmascik detailed his travails alongside two competitors. The book was later turned into a movie of the same title that starred Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson!

Maine Day 1

Today starts the 5th of 11 Big Year Tours for 2016 with Wildside Nature Tours. Look at our upcoming tours at Folks arrived today from around the country in Bangor, ME airport. While waiting for other participants, a few of us got to see Stephen King’s house. Cool. We had lunch at Nicky’s Diner, filled up with gas, and headed east–way east. In fact, to the easternmost point in the U.S. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse State Park.

Stephen King house
Stephen King house – photo by Greg Miller

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse – photo by Greg Miller


The ocean was rather tame and from the lighthouse we could see a great distance. We saw all three species of scoters, Common Eider, a good number of Black Guillemots, several loons, and our first big surprise–Razorbills!

We hiked our way through beautiful boreal habitat on our way to a real live bog. The views were spectacular. There were Winter Wrens singing, Hermit Thrushes flitting across the path, and Golden-crowned Kinglets in the trees. Black-throated Green Warblers  were one of the most common birds. We all stopped to listen to a woodpecker giving a single call note. Although we watched for it intently, we were unable to see the much-desired Black-backed Woodpecker. But hearing it call was exciting! It’s a very cool bird.

West Quoddy Head State Park
West Quoddy Head State Park – photo by Greg Miller


We left the park late in the evening and made it to Machias just in time to be served at the Bluebird Ranch Restaurant. We all celebrated a fun day in Maine even though it was overcast and temperatures didn’t make it out of the 50s.

Our scheduled boat trip out to Machias Seal Island tomorrow morning is, unfortunately, canceled due to inclement weather and small craft advisories. Surf will be up to 8 feet and winds at 30mph with gusts up to 50mph. So no puffins tomorrow. On a good note, I was able to schedule a puffin trip out of Bar Harbor on our last day of birding. I hope the seas will be more favorable then.

We saw 34 species of birds this evening and 7 of them were new for the Big Year Tours! Our new total is 375 species. Remember you can see the list of birds grow daily at the Species Total on

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