Day 1 - Arrival at Boston in afternoon and we transfer to our first hotel in Amesbury.
Day 2 - We will spend the morning exploring the salt-marsh habitats, ponds and beaches at the Parker River Refuge. Shorebirds are to be found here, and we should find species such as Black-bellied and American-Golden plovers, Semipalmated Plover, Whimbrel, Sanderling, Dunlin and White-rumped Sandpiper, yellowlegs and Long-billed Dowitchers. Waterfowl can be numerous and on ponds we will see many American Black Ducks, as well as Blue-winged and Green-winged teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Gadwall and more. Out on the coast, we will see the massive Great Black-backed Gull, along with Bonaparte's, Laughing, Ring-billed and Herring gulls. Scanning about on the Atlantic should yield birds like Double-crested Cormorant, Northern Gannet, Red-throated Loon, Surf, White-winged and Black scoters, as well as Common Eider and Red-breasted Merganser. Wading birds like Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy egret and perhaps Little Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night-Heron inhabit the marshes here. Saltmarsh Sparrows inhabit these marshes as well, though it is not an easy species to find at this time of year. Bits of oak and conifer forest will have typical eastern species such as Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird and Blue Jay. There may still be a few lingering migrants about as well.
This afternoon, we'll visit the nearby Cherry Hill Reservoir. There may be some waterfowl present, such as Hooded Merganser, Ring-necked Duck or Bufflehead. Deciduous woods around the lake may have some lingering migrants such as Palm Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird or Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Some fields along the edge of the lake can yield Eastern Bluebird, Bobolink, American Goldfinch, and a variety of sparrows. Night in Amesbury.
Day 3 - We'll head out to the Cape Ann Peninsula, starting off at Point Andrews, where we will scan the Atlantic for seabirds. There should be a good number of 'seaducks; here, including Common Eider, and Black, White-winged and Surf scoters. Gulls to watch out for include Great Black-backed and Laughing gull and perhaps Black-legged Kittiwake. Northern Gannets will be seen today, and if we're lucky we may see them 'plunge-diving' for food. If the winds are blowing onshore, there is a chance to see species like Cory's and Great shearwater and Northern Fulmar, from shore.
A visit to Halibut Point State Park is next on the agenda. Here, a few typical eastern woodland birds may be seen, such as Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal and perhaps some lingering warblers such as Tennessee Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. In addition to the birds, we'll also take a little time to explore Newburyport later this afternoon, as it is a lovely, quaint seaside town. Perhaps we'll pop into a restaurant for lunch today to try some clam chowder. Night in Amesbury.
Day 4 to 6 - After a morning visit to Salisbury Beach State Reservation, where we can have another look at the sea and at the beach for shorebirds, we'll begin heading N.W. towards Concord, New Hampshire. This area is famous for its spectacular fall colours, and we'll spend one and a half days exploring sites closer to Concord, and one full day exploring the Kakamagus Highway, famous for it's show of fall colours. In addition to the exquisite 'leaf-peeping', as it's known locally, there will also be some birds and perhaps some other wildlife to see as well. While in the White Mountains, we could see birds like Pileated Woodpecker, Red Crossbill, Blue Jay, Hermit Thrush and Brown Creeper, to name a few species. Parks and trails near Concord can be quite productive for birding as well, and we will hope to see some lingering migrant birds such as Blue-headed Vireo, Northern Parula, Blackpoll Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe and Field Sparrow, amongst others. Nights in Concord.
Day 7 to 10 - This morning we'll leave New Hampshire and head back to coastal Massachusetts, with our destination being Cape Cod, where we will spend a final three nights at West Yarmouth. Cape Cod, a long, hook-shaped peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic, is a popular vacation destination with folks from nearby Boston. The cape has a plethora of good birding sites, including many beaches where one can scan the sea for seabirds. To be expected are Northern Gannets, Common Eiders, scoters and gulls, but if we happen to be there during a storm with strong onshore winds, our seabird tally could be impressive. On a visit to the area in October 2019, we encountered such a storm, and by watching the sea from Cape Cod, we found species such as Great, Cory's, Manx and Sooty shearwaters, Pomarine and Parasitic jaeger, Northern Fulmar, Leach's Storm-Petrel, Razorbill, Dovekie, Black-legged Kittiwake, and more. This sort of phenomenon is not to be expected, but we can always hope. At the fantastic Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, we will explore woodlands for birds like Tufted Titmouse, Pine Warbler, Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned kinglets, Carolina Wren, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a variety of sparrows, and the ubiquitous Northern Cardinal. Coastal flats at Wellfleet have species like Forster's Tern, Snowy Egret, Black-bellied and Semipalmated plovers, yellowlegs and the elusive Virginia Rail. On the bay, we can scan through flocks of scoters and eiders, Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorants and more. At Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, sandbars are home to a population of American Oystercatchers, and if the tides are right, there could be other shorebirds present such as Sanderling, Short-billed Dowitcher, Black-bellied Plovers and perhaps Red Knot. A walk through the coastal forest here could yield more lingering migrants, perhaps a Black-throated Blue Warbler, a Red-eyed Vireo or a skulking Ovenbird. In the afternoon on day 10, we'll return to Boston, where the tour concludes.