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Feathers Over Freeport:
A Birdwatching Weekend
Address
541 Route One
Freeport, ME 04032
207-865-6000
freeportwildbird@yahoo.com
Store Hours
Sunday: 10 - 6 PM
Monday: 10 - 6 PM
Tuesday: "Gone Birding"
Wednesday: 10 - 6 PM
Thursday: 10 - 6 PM
Friday: 10 - 6 PM
Saturday: 10 - 6 PM


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            Freeport Wild Bird Supply is pleased to announce an expanded selection of travel, tours,        workshops, and other outings. We look forward to additional offerings in the near future. As soon as     trips and programs are scheduled, they will be added here.

And don't forget to join us for a free local birdwalk every Saturday at 8:00am.
Morning Flight Phenomenon on Cousins Island Workshop
Thursday, 9/10: 6-8pm and Sunday, 9/13: 6-9am.
$45 for RSU-5 residents/$50 for non.

Ever wondered exactly what Derek is doing on the bridge at Sandy Point Beach on Cousin's Island in Yarmouth in the early mornings during the fall? Well, this is your chance to find out!

This two-part workshop with RSU5 Recreation and Community Education will help you to understand and appreciate an amazing spectacle that is passing through our airspace on certain mornings in the fall migration season. Birders flock to Sandy Point to witness a true spectacle of nature: "The Morning Flight," when songbirds migrating overnight funnel inland to compensate for drift while flying (maybe!).

Derek has spent years observing and studying this flight, and in the evening program on 9/10, he'll discuss how and why this phenomenon occurs, how we can predict it by using weather radar, and how meteorology and other disciplines go hand-in-hand with ornithology.

On 9/13 we'll meet at Sandy Point to see what's flying and to learn how to identify these tiny winged marvels. If the flight is slow, we'll bird elsewhere.

For registration information, visit:
https://apm.activecommunities.com/rsu5rce/Activity_Search/morning-flight-phenomenon-on-cousin-s-island/1767
Birds on Tap! - Dr. Brian Olsen
Tues, September 22nd: 5:00-7:00pm
Cost -Free!

Building on the success of the first “Birds On Tap” presentation held in May 2015 at Rising Tide Brewing Company, Freeport Wild Bird Supply (FWBS) is excited to announce the second talk in this series that features speakers in the field of ornithology and conservation. This lecture series is held at one of our best local breweries, allowing patrons to sample beers while learning about some of the most dynamic bird research in Maine. In addition, patrons can support the research direction, as a portion of the proceeds are donated to further the work of the featured speaker.

On September 22nd, Dr. Brian Olsen will present his talk “Using birds to predict the future of tidal marshes” at Rising Tide Brewing Company (103 Fox Street, Portland). Tidal marshes blur the transition between land and ocean across great swaths of the Atlantic seaboard of North America. These estuarine systems act as the nurseries for our fisheries and provide protection from storm surges for our towns and cities. As an ecosystem with a mix of terrestrial and aquatic characteristics, however, they are also inhabited by species with unique adaptations for survival. Sea-level rise is already challenging these adaptations, and the outcome for these species, the ecosystem as a whole, and the services they supply our society remains unclear. This presentation discusses the state of tidal marsh bird populations in Maine and the Northeast US, with an eye toward what that can tell us about how our marshes are weathering the rising waters.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Olsen to the second lecture in our series that brings scientists, birders, and the general public together to learn about complex and important topics in a casual setting” said Derek Lovitch, Co-owner of Freeport Wild Bird Supply. “And there’s great beer!” he added.

“Sixty-eight people from biologists to bird watchers packed the house for our first collaborative event in May when Dr. Erynn Call spoke about her work monitoring birds in Maine’s Rivers, especially as they relate to dams and dam removal,” according to Dr. Noah Perlut, FWBS’s partner in hosting these educational and entertaining events.

Dr. Olsen is an evolutionary ecologist and associate professor at the University of Maine in Orono. He received his PhD from Virginia Tech working with birds in the tidal marshes of the Mid-Atlantic. Brian’s research program at the University of Maine explores how animals, particularly birds, respond to environmental change. As a member of UMaine’s Climate Change Institute, he is interested in how populations have responded to environmental fluctuations in the past and how they will weather the changes ahead.

The event is free and non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks will be provided free of charge. For every beer purchased, Rising Tide will donate $1 directly to the Saltmarsh Habitat and Avian Research Program - a collaborative group of academic, non-profit, and governmental organizations that are committed to conserving tidal marshes and tidal marsh birds in an era of sea-level rise and coastal development.

"Rising Tide is pleased to work with Freeport Wild Bird Supply and Dr. Perlut to bring together two Maine passions - ornithology and beer." states Stasia Brewczynski, Tasting Room Manager at Rising Tide Brewing Co.

Birds on Tap - Roadtrip! Ducks and Drafts!
Sun, November 15th: 8:30am-3:00pm.
Cost - $59

Our birding and “beer-ing” opportunities just keep expanding! In the spring, we introduced the new “Birds on Tap!” speaker series at Portland’s Rising Tide Brewing Co. this spring and the Birds on Tap –Roadtrip! this summer. Now, we are once again teaming up with the Maine Brew Bus for a birding/brewery adventure. Seasonal birding hotspots and great local beer - a perfect combination, and we'll even do all of the driving!

This trip will visit Sabattus Pond at the peak of waterfowl numbers and diversity. A combination of the shallow water, sheltered coves, and an invasive snail combine to make this one of the best locales for duck-watching in all of southern Maine. Hundreds of Ruddy Ducks, Lesser and Great Scaup, Mallards, and Common Mergansers are often present at this season, with smaller numbers of all sorts of species, including American Black Ducks, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Mergansers, and much more. It’s also the time of year that rarities show up, with recent highlights including Redhead, Canvasback, and even a Tufted Duck a few years ago. American Coots are abundant in some years, and Bald Eagles are regularly seen.

After 2 ˝ hours of birding here, visiting 3-4 viewing spots, we’ll head into Lewiston to visit the Baxter Brewing Company, located in a restored historic mill. Baxter made a quick impression on the landscape of Lewiston, a city with space for a sizeable operation like this one. The company came out swinging, becoming one of the largest breweries in the state within its first couple of years. It was also the first brewery in Maine to put all of its beer into aluminum containers: no glass bottles, just cans and kegs. The employees are encouraged to get creative with the pilot system, which means the tasting room stays well stocked with experimental small batches.

If time permits, we’ll take a break and look for more ducks, Peregrine Falcon, and perhaps an early Iceland Gull at the Auburn Riverwalk. We’ll then head back south, arriving at Maine Beer Company here in Freeport. Originally located in Portland, Maine Beer Company used its quick success to expand to a much larger location in Freeport that has become a popular destination for beer aficionados from around the country. The company has made a serious name for itself as a producer of coveted hop-heavy ales, including Lunch IPA and its spiritual successor Dinner Double IPA.

The samples are included in the tour price, and The Maine Brew Bus will supply a light snack (a delicious vegetarian hand-pie and chips) and water. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one. We also recommend bringing a lunch or additional snack if you so desire. A warm layer is highly recommended, as the shore of inland lakes can be quite chilly at this time of year.

We'll be doing all of the driving, so you can relax. And to make it even easier, we have two pick-up times and locations:
8:30am
Marginal Way Park & Ride
(opposite the intersection with Diamond St, just east of Franklin Ave), Portland.

or 8:45am
Freeport Wild Bird Supply
541 Route One, Freeport.

(Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your departure time at either location, and please let us know where you will be meeting us).

We'll return to these locations to drop you off at 2:40 (Freeport) and 3:00 (Portland).

This tour is limited to 13 participants, so sign up soon! This is a one-of-a-kind tour, and we think one you won't want to miss! Call (207-865-6000) or email (freeportwildbird@yahoo.com) us to make your reservation.

For more information about The Maine Brew bus, including all of their other great, non-birding tours, visit them at:
http://www.themainebrewbus.com/

A summary of our August 2015 “Shorebirds and Beer” outing can be seen here:
https://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/birds-on-tap-roadtrip-shorebirds-and-beers-trip-report-8215/
MonhegZEN Fall Migration Weekend 2015
September 25 - 27
Cost - Per diem; see below.

Join Derek on Monhegan during the height of migration for 1-3 days searching the island for regular visitors, rarities, and vagrants. If you haven't experienced Maine's Migration Mecca, now is the time! And if you're like many of our regular travelers, you know you can't wait to get back.

This is a casual outing, with boat and hotel reservations, as well as meals, on your own. Also, you can come and go as you please, based on whatever boat and departure times and locations suit you best. Sign up for 1,2, or 3 days.

Cost - $50 per person, per day.

Once again, we’ll be staying at the Trailing Yew (although folks are welcome, as always, to stay elsewhere) We have blocked off rooms for 8 people each night. Reservations are made through the Trailing Yew, at: (207) 596-6194. Office hours: 9:00am-noon, 3:00pm-5:00pm. While we don’t have a group rate, the reasonable price includes an excellent breakfast (*note: dinners are no longer included in the room price, but they can be billed to your room as necessary). Rates are $100 for single occupancy, and $150 for double occupancy, per night.

Remember, you do not have to stay or eat with us, but of course, your company is most welcome! Coffee and tea are also available before breakfast, to fuel those first couple of hours of birding. (http://www.trailingyew.com/). A flashlight or a sleeping bag, if you are one to get cold at night, are also recommended.

The 2014 outing featured 99 species, including 16 species of warblers. Highlights included Yellow-headed Blackbird, Lark and Clay-colored Sparrows, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissels,Yellow-billed Cuckoo, dozens of Peregrine Falcons, and so much more!

In the six years we have run this trip, we have averaged 102 species, including 20 species of warblers! Here are Derek’s tour reports to see what you are missing!:
2013: http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/monhegzen-birding-fall-migration-weekend-926-3013/

2014: http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/2014-monhegzen-birding-fall-migration-weekend-trip-report/

Don’t miss this year’s excitement!

Please sign up, and make your hotel reservations soon. The trip is limited to _8_ people.
Workshop: Introduction to Winter Waterfowl
January 2016.
Cost -TBA

Ever wonder what all of those ducks are in the bays and rivers in our area? Want to brush up on the skills necessary to identify our wintering waterfowl at a distance?

This three-hour workshop will introduce us to the common (and some of the uncommon) ducks and similar water birds that occupy our open waters throughout the coldest months of the winter. Why don't they get cold? What do they eat? And especially, how can we identify them? Working species-by-species as we encounter them in the field, we'll go beyond memorizing simplistic field marks and looking at the birds in context to help us determine their identity. Most of our ducks are actually very easy to identify, and we'll show you how.

Please bring your own binoculars.

Click here for more information, including online registration:
https://apm.activecommunities.com/rsu5rce/Activity_Search/birding-workshop-introduction-to-winter-waterfowl/1451
Workshop: Gull Identification with York County Audubon.
February 2016
Cost TBA.

This two-part workshop, on Saturday afternoon, Feb TBA and Sunday morning, Feb TBA, will get you started on unraveling the mysteries of gull identification.

Actually, most gulls are not very difficult to tell apart, though adult and juveniles of most species look very different. We’re going to give ourselves confidence with identifying the easier plumage’s of our common species, and then tackle the more challenging intermediate plumage’s and the less-common species.

Part I
Saturday February 7th will be indoors at the Mather Auditorium of the Wells Reserve at 342 Laudholm Farm Road in Wells will be divided into two sections (you need not be present for both):

1:00 pm-2:30 pm – Beginning Gull Identification. Using Powerpoint and book resources, we’ll start with the basics of gull identification, such as feather topography and aging. We’ll then focus on our most common species: Ring-billed, Herring, Great Black-backed, Laughing, and Bonaparte’s Gulls.

3:00 pm-4:30 pm – Advanced Gull Identification. Now comfortable with the basics, we’ll move on to the uncommon species: Lesser Black-backed, Iceland, Glaucous, and Black-legged Kittiwake. Next up will be the rarities: Little, Black-headed, and yes, even Thayer’s. We’ll touch upon “Megas” such as Mew, Slaty-backed, and Sabine’s, and we’ll discuss hybrids. Finally, we’ll apply what we have learned to tackle and understand some identification quandaries, such as the famous “Westbrook Gull” before we finish up with some photo quizzes to test our new-found knowledge.

Part II:
Field Workshop: Sunday, February 8th (8:00am – 12:00pm):

We’ll meet in Portland (Back Cove parking lot on Preble Street Ext, opposite the Hannaford’s) to carpool around the area to apply what we have learned. We’ll spend some time with our most common species: Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed, and then seek out Iceland and Glaucous, and perhaps we’ll find something even better!

We hope that you will join Derek for this workshop to foster appreciation for this fascinating group of birds.

York County Audubon is sponsoring this Workshop. We are asking for a $TBA fee to participate, payable by cash or check at the Saturday session. Space is limited. Please register by signing up on this website. Weather dates or Workshop updates will be posted on the York County Audubon website and Derek’s Web Page (freeportwildbirdsupply.com/birdingtoursinMaine.asp).

Link to sign-up and more information:
http://www.yorkcountyaudubon.org/events/gull-workshop-with-derek-lovitch-2

And for a review of our inaugural 2014 workshop, check out Derek's blog, here:
http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/gull-identification-workshop-wrap-up/
Woodcocks Gone Wild! at Pineland Farms
April 2016
Cost - $7 per person

Join us for our annual evening outing to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester for the sky-dancing of the American Woodcock. Witness the spectacular show as this cryptic and secretive species erupts in a swirling and twirling display of sound and flight. Displaying Wilson's Snipe are also possible.

Meet at 6:30pm at the "Wax Room," below the Visitor's Center at Pineland Farms. We'll caravan onto the farm for a short walk to our favored viewing location. Bring a light-weight chair if you wish. Pre-registration is not required.

MonhegZEN Birding Spring Migration Weekend
May 2016
Cost - Per Diem, see below.

Join Derek on Monhegan during the height of spring migration for 1-3 days searching the island for regular visitors, rarities, and vagrants. This is a casual outing, with boat and hotel reservations, as well as meals, on your own. Although we are likely to eat meals together, we'll have more flexibility on rooming and eating arrangements this way. Also, you can come and go as you please, based on whatever boat and departure times and locations suit you best. Sign up for 1,2, or 3 days.

Late May is a fantastic time to visit Maine’s Monhegan Island. Warblers in their summer finery are pouring through the Northeast, and many will drift over the Gulf of Maine on their nocturnal flights. Come dawn, the birds seek refuge on land, and Monhegan Island is perfectly positioned to catch arrivals. Rapidly changing weather conditions can result in massive “fallouts” of tired migrants, many of which will forage in the rocks on the shoreline. The possibility of overshoots from the south and vagrants from almost any direction adds icing to the cake of the fantastic birding afforded by this quaint little island.

Once again, we’ll be staying at the rustic Trailing Yew, featuring delicious breakfasts and home-cooked dinners. Our comfortable European-style accommodations only enhance the “turn-back-the-clock” mystique of the Mohegan Island experience (although folks are welcome, as always, to stay elsewhere, but there isn’t much open this early in the year). We have blocked off rooms for 8 people at this time (under “Derek Lovitch”). Reservations are made through the Trailing Yew, at: Please call (207) 596-6194. Office hours: 9:00am-noon, 3:00pm-5:00pm. While we don’t have a group rate, the excellent prices INCLUDES a home cooked DINNER, PLUS breakfast. Rates are TBA for single occupancy, and TBA for double occupancy, per night.

Remember, you do not have to stay or eat with us, but of course, your company is most welcome! Coffee and tea are also available before breakfast, to fuel those first couple of hours of birding. (http://www.trailingyew.com/).

With room and travel arrangements made on your own, the cost for this trip is only $50 per person, per day.

Check out Derek's blog for a rundown of the 2014 tour in which a first state record Brewer's Sparrow was the icing on the cake of a weekend that included 94 species (including 19 species of warblers), and many other goodies, such as a Summer Tanager, 2 Orchard Orioles, a Clay-colored Sparrow, an exceptional Eastern Kingbird show, and some outstanding views of many species of warblers:
http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/2014-monhegzen-spring-migration-birding-weekend/
Bicknell's Thrush and the White Mountains
June 2016 - ONLY 4 SPACES LEFT!
Cost - TBA

We’re pleased to continue our annual "Bicknell's Thrush and White Mountains Weekend" tour, complete with round-trip transportation. We’ll meet that store on Saturday at 7:00am and drive towards the White Mountains. We’ll might make one birding stop in southern Maine (such as the Kennebunk Plains and/or Brownfield Bog) on the way into New Hampshire, or we'll get a lunch to go and make a run for the hills. Either way, we'll spend the afternoon birding in the White Mountain National Forest for boreal specialties such as Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, and a variety of northern warblers if time, weather, and circumstances permit. The exact itineray will be developed based on weather, road conditions, and participant's "wantlists."

After an early dinner, we’ll head to the Mount Washington Auto Road for a private after-hours tour up the mountain. We’ll visit the summit and look for breeding American Pipits, and then get in place by sunset to hear the ethereal song of the enigmatic Bicknell’s Thrush. We’ll put ourselves in the best position possible for both hearing, and yes, seeing, this charismatic species.

We’ll spend the night in Gorham and then head out early Sunday morning for some more woodland birding before we make another excursion into the realm of the Bicknell’s Thrush. In addition to breathtaking views, we’ll be effortlessly whisked into the krummholz, where we’ll get a second dose of Bicknell’s and Swainson’s Thrushes, Blackpoll Warblers, and more before slowly birding our way back to Freeport by the late afternoon.

This package tour includes:
- Mount Washington Auto Road after-hours, private charter.
- Transportation up a second mountain, TBD on the second day.
- Guiding services.
- round-trip transportation from Freeport

The price does not include meals and your room at the Royalty Inn. However, rooms have been blocked off and you will receive a discounted group price. Make sure to mention that you are part of the “Freeport Wild Bird Supply/Derek Lovitch” group. Visit www.royaltyinn.com or call 1-800-43-RELAX for reservations.

This trip is limited to 8 people, and it fills up rapidly, so make your reservations soon!

You can read about previous trips here, via Derek's blog:
2013:
http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/the-2013-bicknells-thrushes-of-the-white-mountains-tour/

2014:
https://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/bicknells-thrush-and-the-white-mountains-trips-report/

2015:
https://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/the-2015-bicknells-thrush-and-the-white-mountains-van-trip/

Suggestions for participants:
1) Bring layers - expect it to be windy, and likely at least 20 degrees cooler at the mountain summits than what is forecast for the towns below.
2) Study walking shoes/hiking boots highly recommended, even though most of the trails we will take are fairly well-trodden and short.
Claybrook Mountain Lodge Birding Weekend
June TBA, 2016
TBA

Join Derek for a weekend of birding and relaxation at the Claybrook Mountain Lodge!

As predicted before our first visit here in 2012, once you spend some time with Greg and Pat Drummond at their charming lodge in Highland Plantation, you won’t be able to wait to go back! And now is the time!

The trip begins on Friday evening with one of Pat’s scrumptious dinners (6:00pm is dinnertime, you are free to arrive in the late afternoon). We’ll rise early on Saturday to spend the day birding and enjoying other wildlife, scenery, and habitats. Greg will be our co-leader for the day, and in addition to his local knowledge of birding hotspots, we’re more than likely to learn about the tracks and signs of other wildlife, from White-tailed Deer to Coyotes to Black Bear. Greg is a wealth of Maine Woods expertise, and you’ll really enjoy spending time in the field with him.

We’ll have plenty of room in Claybrook’s 15-passenger van, and Pat will pack us a picnic lunch. We’ll bird a wide variety of habitats, but will focus our time in boreal forest. Depending on how far we travel, we may have a chance for all of the boreal specialties including Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Tennessee, Cape May, Bay-breasted, and Blackpoll Warblers and others. A variety of warblers – including goodly numbers of Mourning Warblers, Alder Flycatchers, Lincoln’s Sparrows, and others could be encountered with much shorter drives. We’ll likely check out some meadows for American Bittern and Bobolinks, and we’ll be on the lookout for nomadic finches: White-winged and Red Crossbills and Evening Grosbeaks, although their presence fluctuates widely from year to year. However, "target" birds such as these are only the icing on the cake. This is a trip for "immersion" into the birds of the Maine Woods, and we'll be sampling a variety of habitats, practicing our skills, and seeing a wide range of species.

Returning to the lodge for a little rest before dinner, we might – energy permitting – just have to take a walk to try for an owl or two after sunset.

Sunday morning will be laid back and relaxing. We’ll bird the lodge’s fields, garden, edges, and extensive trail system to enjoy a myriad of breeding species (over 100 species have been recorded from the property). Black-backed Woodpeckers have been seen within a short walking distance, as has Olive-sided Flycatcher and many others. At the very least, we’ll be entertained with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Eastern Bluebirds in the garden. We’ll do a short walk before breakfast, and then a longer stroll before lunch. We may also caravan to one or two local birding hotspots to build our trip list. After lunch, it’s time for a little R&R, reading, or casual birding as you begrudgingly depart for home.

We are only going to take 10 people, so sign up soon!

Price: $TBA per person includes: lodging (shared bathrooms and one to three people per bedroom, ALL MEALS from Friday’s dinner through Sunday’s lunch, guiding for both days including a van tour with Greg on Saturday, and good company!
Single Person supplement (for a private bedroom): $55

Take a look at Claybrook’s website (http://www.claybrookmountainlodge.com/) and when you’re ready to join us, give us a call here at the store – we’ll be handling the reservations and shared room assignments. It's BYOB, by the way.

And have a look at the sights and stories from our 2014 tour:
http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/the-2104-claybrook-mountain-lodge-birding-weekend-trip-report/
Birding by Schooner!
July 2016

Join Derek and Jeannette aboard the Schooner Lewis R. French, America's Oldest Windjammer (and National Historic Landmark) for a truly unique birding experience.

Enjoy peace, quiet, and tranquility (and environmental friendliness!)of wind-powered locomotion as we spend a week aboard the French enjoying great food, lots of rest and relaxation, and some great birding!

We'll have the chance to visit one or more seabird breeding colonies (Eastern Egg Rock, Matinicus Rock, Seal Island, and/or Petit Manan Island - wind and weather permitting, of course), to place us among thousands of breeding seabirds, including Atlantic Puffins, Common Murres, and Razorbills. Roseate, Common, and Arctic Terns will likely be seen, along with other local breeding species from Common Eiders and Black Guillemots to Ospreys and Bald Eagles. Other possibilities include Great Cormorants, and southbound migrant shorebirds.

In the open waters, we'll be on the lookout for Greater, Sooty, Manx, and perhaps even Cory's Shearwater, along with Leach's and Wilson's Storm-petrels. We will also hope for Parasitic Jaegers and perhaps a surprise such as a South Polar Skua or the Red-billed Tropicbird that has spend much of the last 10 summers in the Seal Island area and which put on a truly extraordinary show for us during three of our four visits to this remote colony.

Conditions permitting, we'll spend at least one day chumming offshore to bring seabirds in close, and we'll also spend a few hours on most mornings looking for breeding birds on short land-based excursions - perhaps including Monhegan Island.

For more information, visit the Schooner French's website:
http://www.schoonerfrench.com/birding.htm
and
http://www.schoonerfrench.com/

To read all about our 2015 tour, take a look at Derek's blog here:
https://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/birding-by-schooner-trip-report-2015/

And for more trip reports:
2014: http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/birding-by-schooner-2014/

2013: http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/birding-by-schooner-2103/

Hope to see you aboard!
Birds on Tap - Road Trip!
August 2016
Cost - TBA

Our birding and “beer-ing” opportunities just keep expanding! In the spring, we introduced the new “Birds on Tap!” speaker series at Portland’s Rising Tide Brewing Co. this spring. Now, we are taking Birds on Tap! on the road as we team up with the Maine Brew Bus for a birding/brewery adventure. Seasonal birding hotspots and great local beer - a perfect combination, and we'll even do all of the driving!

This tour will include 2-3 hours of birding at Scarborough Marsh, with Derek as your guide, at prime time for a good variety of migrant shorebirds. We’ll learn how to identify our common species, and search for the rare. Up to 20 species of shorebirds are possible! We'll practice identifying our "peeps" (Least, Semipalmated, and White-rumped Sandpipers) and attempt to tease out a Western or even a Baird's among the masses. We'll look for local breeding American Oystercatchers and Willets, while searching for migrants such as Red Knots on their way from the high Arctic to the southern tip of Argentina.

And not to worry, we'll take a look at everything else, such as Common, Roseate, and Least Terns; herons and egrets, and who knows what else? We may even get a chance to see Nelson's and Saltmarsh Sparrows depending on time and wind.

After 2-3 hours of birding, we will be transported to two of our great local breweries to sample their offerings and learn their styles. First up will be Saco's Barreled Souls Brewing Company.

By now you’ve surely heard of beers aging in oak barrels to acquire unique flavors. Well, this may be the only brewery in the country fermenting 100% of its beer in oak barrels. The basement-level brewery is making a huge variety of unusual styles in wooden fermenters, even adding in produce and botanicals grown in the gardens just outside the front door when possible. The attractive tasting room has a shuffleboard table and chairs made of oak barrels, as well as a distinct speakeasy vibe.

Then, we'll head back to Portland to visit with our friends and Birds on Tap! Speaker Series partners, Rising Tide Brewing Company.

The name Rising Tide Brewing Company, inspired by the famous quote, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” encapsulates the collaborative spirit of the craft beer industry. The loyal following of locals speaks to the company’s community engagement as well as to the quality of its beer. This husband- and wife-owned brewery expanded from one great brewery cluster to another, and many of its offerings are available in bottles or even cans.

The samples are included in the tour price, and The Maine Brew Bus will supply a light snack (a vegetarian hand-pie and chips) and water. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one. We also recommend bringing a lunch or additional snack if you so desire. Sunscreen, a light jacket in case the wind turns onshore, and sturdy comfortable walking shoes are also recommended.

We'll be doing all of the driving, so you can relax. And to make it even easier, we have two pick-up times and locations:
8:30am
Freeport Wild Bird Supply
541 Route One, Freeport.

or 8:45am
The Craft Beer Cellar,
111 Commercial Street, Portland.
(Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your departure time at either location, and please let us know where you will be meeting us)

We'll return to these locations to drop you off at 2:15pm (Portland) and 2:30pm (Freeport).

This tour is limited to 13 participants, so sign up soon! This is a one-of-a-kind tour, and we think one you won't want to miss! Call (207-318-6099) or email (freeportwildbird@yahoo.com) us to make your reservation.

For more information about The Maine Brew bus, including all of their other great, non-birding tours, visit them at:
http://www.themainebrewbus.com/

A summary of our August 2015 outing can be seen here:
https://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/birds-on-tap-roadtrip-shorebirds-and-beers-trip-report-8215/
An August Weekend in Washington County!
August 2016
$TBA per person.

We simply love birding Washington County, and we know you will too! From the best whale-watching and in-shore seabirds to boreal residents like Spruce Grouse to a host of breeding warblers to clouds of migrating shorebirds, the birding is super in penultimate “Downeast” in late summer.

This short trip will introduce you to some of the wealth of avian riches the area has to offer. After departing from Freeport at 8:00am on Thursday, we’ll work our way north and east, with various birding stops along the way. We’re unlikely to stop until we are at least north of Waterville, but anywhere from there to Machias is a possibility as we spend the day birding and traveling.

On Friday, we’ll join the Lady H in Eastport for a private four-hour whale- and bird-watching charter. We’ll sift through the masses of Bonaparte’s Gulls for Little, Black-headed, and maybe even a Sabine’s Gull around the Old Sow whirlpool, before we head up and into New Brunswick’s Head Harbor Passage. In our converted lobster boat, we’ll be close to the action as Minke and Fin Whales feed in the channel, sometimes at arm’s length! Seabirds can be abundant, especially Sooty and Great Shearwaters. We’ll keep an eye out for Manx Shearwaters, Atlantic Puffins, and jaegers. Black-legged Kittiwakes, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Razorbills, and Common Murres are often seen as well.

After spending the morning on the water, we’ll grab lunch and then spend the afternoon birding around Eastport and on down to Lubec. On Saturday, we’ll pick up where we left off, working our way around the Bold Coast to or from Lubec. Spruce Grouse and other boreal residents, breeding warblers (they won’t be singing, so we’ll have to work hard to find most of them, hopefully by running into mixed species foraging flocks), and migrant shorebirds - especially at the Lubec flats. Black Guillemots, Common Eiders, and lots of Bald Eagles will be commonplace.

We’ll keep it flexible on Sunday, birding the area all morning before beginning our trip back home after lunch. We may seawatch from West Quoddy Head (Great Cormorant, tubenoses, alcids), check on the shorebirds once again, and/or work for some of the breeding specialties of the area.

If you haven’t birded this area before, or you are just looking to bird it again, this is a can’t-miss trip! Lots of diversity, and some really great opportunities to get close to birds (and whales!) will be offered. We hope you will join us to bird one of our favorite areas in the state at our absolute favorite time of year here!

Check out the results from our inaugural 2014 tour that included 10,000 Bonaparte's Gulls, 4-5 Parasitic Jaegers, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Boreal Chickadees, and so much more:
http://mebirdingfieldnotes.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/washington-county-in-august-tour-2014/

Terms and Cost:
The trip price of $TBA per person includes our round-trip van from Freeport, our four-hour boat charter, and guiding fees for all four days. We’ll eat together, but split the bill. Lodging reservations will also be made on your own, but we have rooms blocked off under “Freeport Wild Bird Supply” at the Machias Motor Inn (207-255-4861). Perched on the banks of the Machias River, birding from the back porch is fantastic, often including fishing Ospreys and hunting Bald Eagles.

Maximum 9 participants.
The Maine Coast in Fall with Derek and WINGS
Sept 18-25, 2016
Cost - see link below.

This tour with WINGS is designed to sample the highlights of birding Maine's coast in the fall as we travel to and from the migration hotspot and overall rewarding experience of a trip to the famous Monhegan Island.

The coast of Maine is one of those treasures—beautiful, of course, and rugged, yet also accessible. Our short tour will visit three of our favorite places, Scarborough Marsh, Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, and Monhegan Island.

We'll begin in Scarborough Marsh for Saltmarsh and Nelson's Sparrows, as well as lingering shorebirds. We'll also visit a variety of migrant traps along the coast as we work our way east.

Next, we'll head to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, where we’ll spend our time seeing the sights and visiting birding hotspots, including the hawkwatch atop Cadillac Mountain. We'll also take a boat trip into the Gulf of Maine to look for seabirds (Manx, Sooty, Great, and maybe even Cory's are possible, along with Wilson's and Leach's Storm-Petrels, the chance of jaegers and maybe even Great or South Polar Skua) and whales.

Then it's off to Monhegan Island! Small, isolated, and quite far offshore, it concentrates landbird migrants, attracts off-course vagrants, and provides some of the most pleasant birdwatching anywhere. There are very few motor vehicles, and footpaths lead out in many directions through spruce forests and small clearings to high rocky headlands and tiny coves. Fall is probably the best birdwatching time at Monhegan, as nocturnal migrants drift offshore on northwest winds and find refuge on the island, sometimes in large numbers. We have a chance to see almost all of the regularly-occurring migrants, plus a better chance than anywhere else of seeing rarities. For example, on our 2012 tour, we found 18 species of warblers and Clay-colored Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, and Dickcissel among many others.

All of these birds, sandwiched between beautiful sunrises and star-filled skies – and interspersed with breaks for lobster (even in scrambled eggs) and other great food!

For complete information, including lodging arrangements and a complete itinerary, visit the WINGS website:
http://wingsbirds.com/tours/maine-coast-fall/
Maine and New Hampshire Tour with Derek and WINGS
June 16-25, 2017

Join Derek on this comprehensive Maine-New Hampshire tour for WINGS. 159 species were recorded on his 2015 tour, including including 20 species of warblers, 9 species of flycatchers, 7 species of thrushes, 5 species of terns, 5 species of vireos, and 4 species of alcids. Some of the highlights included a remarkable experienced with Bicknell's Thrushes, Gray Jays literally eating from our hands, pelagics off of Bar Harbor that included amazing views of Leach's Storm-Petrels, and of course – Machias Seal Island with it's thousands of Atlantic Puffin, Razorbills, and hundreds of Common Murres. Unexpected highlights were led by a Little Egret, along with unseasonable Black and White-winged Scoters.

Other sought-after species seen in 2015 included Northern Fulmar, Great and Manx Shearwaters, American Oystercatcher, Roseate and Arctic Terns, Black Guillemot, Olive-sided and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Philadelphia Vireo, Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warblers, Saltmarsh and Nelson's Sparrows, Upland Sandpiper and Grasshopper Sparrows...and Moose!

And of course, we see many great and scenic places, and enjoy lots of food - including plenty of lobster, if you so desire!

Here's the itinerary and other details: http://wingsbirds.com/tours/view/111. Also be sure to check out the 2015 trip report and species list for this amazing trip!