Freeport Wild Bird Supply and The Maine Brew Bus are excited to collaborate on ten great outings for 2017 in our popular and growing “Birds on Tap - Roadtrip! series. The unique, relaxed birding and beer-ing adventures that you have come to love combine great local birding at seasonal hotspots with visits to sample the delicious creations of some of our favorite local breweries. These tours are a perfect introduction to birding and/or craft beer, and a great opportunity to travel with significant others, friends, and family that have interest in one topic, while your interest is primarily in the other (for now!). Seasonal birding hotspots and great local beer - a perfect combination, and we'll even do all of the driving!
December can provide some fantastic birding opportunities. However, seasonally variable weather can impact where birds are. For example, a late freeze-up will keep ducks on smaller lakes, while an early snow might clear some species out. Therefore, our itinerary will be flexible in order to take advantage of a seasonal hotspot, unusual concentrations of birds, or even a rarity.
Most likely, we’ll begin the tour by birding the fields of Mayall Road on the Gray/New Gloucester line. Snow Buntings and/or Horned Larks can amass here in abundance, and if they are around, we’ll be on the lookout for Lapland Longspurs among them. Or, we might look for these same birds in the fields of Durham, or perhaps - in Tom Brady-esque fashion - call an audible and head to the “Goose Fields” of North Yarmouth and Cumberland if there’s a rare visitor from Greenland being seen.
Our second stop will also be dictated by current conditions, specifically if fresh water has begun to freeze and where ducks are hanging out. Most likely, we’ll visit either Lake Auburn, where diving ducks such as Greater and Lesser Scaup and Ruddy Ducks tarry, as do waterbirds that are rare inland in Maine, such as Horned Grebes. Common Mergansers are also sometimes abundant. Or, we’ll bird the Androscoggin River from the Auburn Riverwalk or the fields of North River Road, looking for unusual dabblers among the Mallards and Common Mergansers, as well as Iceland Gulls and Peregrine Falcons. At either stop, Bald Eagles are also likely. And if Pine Grosbeaks and/or Bohemian Waxwings are present, we’ll likely seek these “irruptive” visitors from the north as well.
The first stop after birding is Bear Bones Beer, an independent nano-brewery located in downtown Lewiston, Maine with a focus on making high quality sustainable craft beer. The company was started in the spring of 2013 by Eben Dingman and Adam Tüüri. The two beer aficionados had been brewing individually for almost a decade when they decided to start collaborating with the goal of creating a delicious product with a business model based on sustainability. Their two-barrel system lies in the heart of Lewiston’s downtown, and their beer is now available in area restaurants and their tasting room is open to the public. And they produce more than beer, as they always have non-alcoholic sodas available that they also produce on site.
Our next stop will be at Norumbega Farm in New Gloucester. Noah Fralich's family runs this farm, which is named for a "legendary settlement" in New England. And on this farm we will find Norumbega Cidery. Hard cider played a strong part in the history and traditions of rural Maine and is currently making a comeback as an option for those interested in locally brewed and produced beverages. Enter Norumbega, one of southern Maine’s newest hard cider producers, where Noah makes sure that you know that it is all about the apples. See firsthand how hard cider is made, where it is bottled, and learn about the particular apple varieties used to make this very traditional beverage.
The samples are included in the tour price, and The Maine Brew Bus will supply a light snack (a delicious vegetarian hand-pie) 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:
Marginal Way Park & Ride
(opposite the intersection with Diamond St, just east of Franklin Ave), Portland.
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 3:10 (Freeport) and 3:30 (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!
For more information about The Maine Brew bus, including all of their other great, non-birding tours, visit them at: