Spring Birding Extravaganza 2016

Join BTLT and our conservation neighbors again this year for the Spring Birding Extravaganza!

The public is invited to take part in the annual Birding Extravaganza, a free series of birding events sponsored by four conservation organizations in Midcoast Maine. Merrymeeting Audubon, Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, and Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust have collaborated to offer seven opportunities to get outside to watch and learn about birds, while visiting beautiful natural places, including forests, farms, and ocean shoreline.

The Birding Extravaganza, in its fourth year, was created as a way to encourage community members to enjoy and learn about the region’s natural areas.

“I love this annual series,” says Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, “because it is such a great way to introduce people to all three land trusts’ trails. Our members love the opportunity to get to know some of the wonderful places that have been protected by our neighbors.”

“The birding series is one of many ways local land trusts collaborate with each other to deepen their impacts,” says Julia McLeod, Outreach Coordinator for Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.

The protected lands of the three land trusts cover thirteen towns and an amazing diversity of habitats and land uses. This means there is a wide range of species in a region already known as a global hotspot for migratory birds.

This diversity is exemplified in the variety of walks available this year, including a chance to observe waterfowl at a tidal creek, an evening observation of the mating dance of the woodcock, and walks to see birds of the forests, meadows and wetlands. These walks are accessible to many, including outings for experienced and novice birders, families and those unable to walk great distances.

All events are free and open to the public. You can visit the websites of the four hosting organizations for more information on these terrific treks to observe our feathered friends.

Merrymeeting Audubon: www.maineaudubon.org/merrymeeting

Kennebec Estuary Land Trust: www.kennebecestuary.org

Harpswell Heritage Land Trust: www.hhltmaine.org



Details on each event:

Woodcock Watch:

On Tuesday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. experience the American Woodcock’s mating dance with Forester Rob Bryan. Learn about woodcock ecology, nesting habitat, and what can be done to enhance habitat for these interesting birds. Just after sunset we’ll stop talking to watch and listen as the male birds take their spiraling, twittering courtship flights. Meet at the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust’s Curtis Farm Preserve, 1554 Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell. This free event requires no walking. Bring something to sit on. FMI: www.hhltmaine.org, 207-837-9613, outreach@hhltmaine.org.

Migrating Waterfowl at Sewall Woods

On Saturday, April 30 at 8:00 a.m. join us for a walk through the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s Sewall Woods Preserve in Bath led by Merrymeeting Audubon’s Ted Allen. The group will hike along Whiskeag Creek, a tidal influenced stream that flows into the Kennebec River. Birders will seek migrating waterfowl including Canada geese, black ducks, mallards, blue- and green-winged teal, and common mergansers.  Participants can meet at 7:30am at the CVS in Bath to carpool. FMI: Ted Allen, 207-729-8661.

Birding for Kids

On Saturday, May 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. join the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for Birding for Kids, a free, hands-on workshop for families. Participants will learn how to begin identifying birds through their shape, size, beaks, songs and habitat. The group will explore how differently shaped beaks are designed for different foods, listen to some common bird songs and go for a walk to try to identify birds using skills they’ve learned. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with your kids (or grandkids). Join us at Curtis Farm Preserve, 1554 Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell. Bring binoculars. FMI: www.hhltmaine.org, 207-837-9613, outreach@hhltmaine.org.

Crystal Spring Farm

On Thursday, May 12 at 7:30 a.m. join Merrymeeting Audubon’s Jan Pierson for a popular annual outing to Brunswick Topsham Land Trust’s Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick.  This walk is through a variety of habitats, including fields, forests, and wetland. We hope to see sparrows, Bluebirds, Bobolinks, and several species of warblers. Bring your binoculars, and meet at Crystal Spring Farm’s Farmers’ Market Green on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick. FMI: Ted Allen, 207-729-8661.

Beginning Birding

On Saturday, May 14 at 8:00 a.m. novice birders of all ages are invited to the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s Merrymeeting Fields Preserve in Woolwich to learn birding basics from volunteers and local birding enthusiasts, Robert Carnicella and Ben West. With a variety of habitats, Merrymeeting Fields is the perfect place to learn beginning birding techniques. Learn to spot birds in fields or woodlands and birds in and near the waters of Merrymeeting Bay. Wear boots or shoes that can get mucky and bring a pair of binoculars. FMI: www.kennebecestuary.org/birding-extravaganza, 207-442-8400.

Bradley Pond Warbler Series, One

Bradley Pond Warbler Series, Two

On Sunday, May 15 and Tuesday, May 24, both at 8:00 a.m., join us for the Bradley Pond Warbler Series in Topsham. These two relatively easy walks pass through a conservation easement surrounding a privately-owned working farm. The easement includes varied habitats. We’ll focus on migrating land birds: warblers, flycatchers, blackbirds, vireos, sparrows and an occasional raptor. Meet at the Brunswick Hannaford at 7:30 a.m. or at Bradley Pond Preserve, second parking lot at 8:00 a.m. FMI: Gordon Smith, 207-725-0282, for Sunday; Ted Allen, 207-729-8661, for Tuesday.

Thorne Head Preserve

On Saturday, May 28 at 8:00 a.m. Ted Allen from Merrymeeting Audubon will lead birders through the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s Thorne Head Preserve in Bath. Overlooking Whiskeag Creek as it converges with the Kennebec River, the preserve is located on the Maine Birding Trail and is rich in migrating warblers and vireos.  Participants can meet at 7:30 a.m. at the CVS in Bath to carpool.  FMI: Ted Allen, 207-729-8661.