2017-04-12 / Local

Birding walks start on Thursday

The Times Record

FOUR CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS in the Midcoast offer ample opportunities to get outdoors and learn about birds this spring. 
CURT CHIPMAN PHOTOGRAPHY FOUR CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS in the Midcoast offer ample opportunities to get outdoors and learn about birds this spring. CURT CHIPMAN PHOTOGRAPHY BRUNSWICK

Birders of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the fifth 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 eight opportunities to watch for and learn about a wide range of birds, both seasonal migrants and permanent residents.

The series is a way to encourage community members to enjoy and learn about locak natural areas as well as land trusts’ preserves and trails. The protected areas of the three land trusts cover 13 towns in a region frequented by migratory birds.

“The land trusts work hard to provide a variety of trails for the public to experience the natural wonder of our region,” said Carrie Kinne, executive director of the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. It’s thrilling to showcase these special outdoor places by birding with people of all ages. The series gives the perfect excuse to visit and experience a new outdoor place not so far from home.”

“Every year this series is an absolute favorite with our community,” said Lee Cataldo, outreach and education coordinator at Brunswick- Topsham Land Trust. “We truly love this partnership with the neighboring land trusts and MMA. It is such a great way to bring folks from all over the region to new trails and properties, and to get to see some of the amazing migratory birds that pass through the Midcoast.”

This year, the walks range in topic from observing songbirds at Crystal Spring Farm to an evening presentation about migrating herons in Harpswell to a walk to see birds of the forests, meadows and wetlands on Westport Island. 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.

Event include:

On Thursday, April 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. join Harpswell Heritage Land Trust for a presentation titled: Herons in Migration. Hear about a new initiative to track the nesting, migration and wintering habits of Great Blue Herons and how the results so far tie in the natural history and current status of Maine’s heron population. The speaker is Danielle D’Auria of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. For more information, go to www.hhltmaine.org, call (207) 837-9613 or email outreach@hhltmaine.org.

• On Thursday, April 27 at 6 p.m. join the Brunswick- Topsham Land Trust to learn more about Osprey and Osprey Watch. This international citizen science project monitors local osprey nests and report data about this species. For more information, go to www.btlt.org or email lee@btlt.org.

• On Saturday, April 29 from 9-11 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. The event takes place at Curtis Farm Preserve, 1554 Harpswell Neck Road, Harpswell. Bring binoculars. For more information, go to www.hhltmaine.org, call (207) 837-9613, or email outreach@hhltmaine.org.

• On Friday, May 12 at 7:30 a.m. join expert birder Jan Pierson for an 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, home to bluebirds, bobolinks, and several species of warblers. Bring binoculars, and meet at Crystal Spring Farm’s Farmers’ Market Green on Pleasant Hill Road in Brunswick. For more information, call Ted Allen at (207) 729-8661.

• On Saturday, May 13 at 8 a.m. birders of all ages are invited to the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust’s Carl and Barbara Segerstrom Preserve at Squam Creek on Westport Island to scout for birds on this new preserve led by volunteer and local birding enthusiast, Robert Carnicella. Squam Creek has a variety of habitats ranging from fields to woodlands to wetlands. Wear boots or shoes that can get mucky and bring a pair of binoculars. For more information, visit KELT’s website at kennebecestuary.org/birdingextravaganza or call (207) 442-8400.

• On Tuesday, May 23 at 8 a.m., the Bradley Pond Warbler Series comes to Topsham. This walk passes through a conservation easement surrounding a privately owned working farm. The easement includes varied habitats. The focus will be 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 a.m. For more information, call Ted Allen at (207) 729-8661, for Tuesday.

• On Saturday, May 27 at 8 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. For more information, call Ted Allen at (207) 729-8661.

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