One of our favorite Birds on Tap - Roadtrips is our "Spring Ducks and Draughts" tour that birds Merrymeeting Bay at the peak of duck migration before visiting Oxbow's Farmhouse brewery and Split Rock Distilling.
Beginning with a couple of Bald Eagles and 20+ Common Mergansers at Mailley Park, we took time to gawk at the stunning sapphire eyes of newly-arrived Double-crested Cormorants. We also scanned the bay at Brown's Point (lots of Canada Geese) and took a stroll through the varied habitats of Brown's Point Road (rather quiet today).
But as expected, it was the mouth of the Abagadassett River where the action really was! 400 American Black Ducks, 125 Mallards, and 100 Green-winged Teal were joined by 50 Common Mergansers, 40 Ring-necked Ducks, 30 Canada Geese, 6 elegant Northern Pintails, 3 spiffy Hooded Mergansers, a close pair of Lesser Scaup that afforded a good stufy, and a lone Common Goldeneye. But stealing the waterfowl show were the 3 Northern Shovelers, rare enough in Maine that this was a life bird for several of the participants!
As is often the case here, however, Bald Eagles steal the show. We estimated at least 20 were seen just here at the Abby today (and others elsewhere), including up to 8 in the air together, 5 standing on a small sandbar, and several dogfighting overhead.
Following our birding adventure, we made the cross-country jaunt to Oxbow Brewing Co, where we sampled their flagship Farmhouse, their spring Bandolier, and the subtlety-smoky Bowie. Farmhouse was most people's favorite, which should come as no surprise, as this traditional Saison brewed with American hops put this brewery on the map.
Next up in today's beverage itinerary was Split Rock Distilling, Maine's only 100% certified-organic distillery. Comparing the technique of distilling spirits to brewing beer, we were treated to samples of their famous Horseradish vodka, bourbon (my personal favorite from here), and then a third sample of choice. Many of us tried their brand new barrel-rested Gin, which was rich in anise/licorice flavor.
Even the Guineafowl at Oxbow like beer.
Paul explains the art of distilling.