Tuesday, April 18, 2017

“Feathers over Freeport” Offers Birding Fun for All Ages

AUGUSTA – The sixth annual “Feathers over Freeport” event will take place on April 28, 29 and 30, 2017. This unique event is designed to appeal to birdwatchers of all abilities, especially families and children.

“Feathers over Freeport” will highlight special birding opportunities at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, including the Hawk Watch at the summit, and Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport, home to nesting ospreys.

Sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands  and Freeport Wild Bird Supply, the two-day event will feature a wide variety of activities and presentations, including live-bird presentations, bird walks for adults and children, a hawk watch workshop, and numerous children’s activities.

Details of the event are:

Feathers over Freeport:

7 p.m. - 8 p.m., Friday, April 28, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal
8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, April 29, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal
8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sunday, April 30, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, Freeport
***Park entry fees apply; all programs and activities included with park admission.

Free Event:  7p.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday, April 29, Freeport Community Library

Three special live bird and wildlife programs will highlight the event. On Saturday, April 29, Bradbury Mountain State Park will host the Center for Wildlife’s team of bird “ambassadors,” including owls, hawks, and falcons. The program is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. On Sunday, April 30, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park will host the Chewonki Foundation for a live bug program at 1:00 p.m. and a live owl program at 3:00 p.m.  Both days feature a bird walk from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., led by Derek Lovitch of Freeport Wild Bird Supply. Derek will guide visitors for a walk in the woods seeking out spring migrants and woodland residents, and all levels of expertise are welcome. Bring your own binoculars.

The weekend events kick off on Friday night, April 28, with a “Night Walk” at Bradbury Mountain State Park, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Zeb Casperson, a Maine Conservation Corps Environmental Steward, and park staff will lead visitors on a night time nature walk exploring the world of nocturnal animals. At the end of the walk, weather permitting, feel free to stick around past 8:00 p.m. to observe the night sky with a telescope.

Saturday’s events on April 29 at Bradbury Mountain State Park include a “Vernal Pool Exploration,” in which wetland scientists Lauren Leclerc and Dave Brenneman will lead visitors to the mysterious temporary pools where frogs, salamanders, and fairy shrimp hatch. Bradbury Mountain State Park also features a “Hawk Watch,” a two month research project that is in its eleventh year of migration data collection. It is a focal point of the park and the weekend events and will run daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through May 15. The public is invited to watch for migrating hawks with the Official Counter. A “Hawk Watch Workshop” will be offered by Derek Lovitch from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday to teach visitors about the project and how to identify hawks in flight.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Michael Boardman, a North Yarmouth based wildlife artist, will lead a “Drawing Birds Workshop” for all levels from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This program will include basic instruction, a quick demo and practice time sketching several bird mounts. There is a possibility of sketching live birds at the end of the session during the live bird programs. Also on both Saturday and Sunday, Park Rangers will lead a “Springtime Plant Walk” at each park. SaltBox Café and Fahrenheit 225 will have their food trucks at each park both Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with everything you need for a delicious meal.

There are plenty of activities for kids on both days. A bird walk for children will take place on both days at 10:00 a.m., featuring fun bird calls and birdwatching basics. Bird-related games and crafts geared toward children and families also will be offered both days from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Children accompanied by an adult are welcome to come and build a birdhouse. These are available on a first come, first served basis and supplies are limited.

Saturday night, April 29, the fun moves to the Freeport Community Library where we will celebrate Derek Lovitch’s brand new book, Birdwatching in Maine from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. From mountaintop to barrier beach, from the “The County” and the Crown of Maine to the southwest coastal plain, a wide variety of birds can be found, and Birdwatching in Maine will show you how, where, and why. Full of photographs of iconic species and iconic places, this program will explore all that birdwatching in Maine has to offer.

Sunday, April 30, an ongoing “Osprey Watch” will be featured at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Join Rangers to view and learn about nesting ospreys on Googins Island. Charlene Donahue, Forest Entomologist with the Maine Forest Service, will give a presentation on both invasive and native insects from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. That will lead into “The Bugmobile - Magnifying the World of Arthropods” presented by the Chewonki Foundation from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., a unique presentation about the characteristics and adaptations of arthropods.

Event partners are the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry- Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Freeport Wild Bird Supply. Sponsors include: Royal River Conservation Trust, Bow Street Market, Freeport Conservation Trust, Leica Sport Optics, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

For more information about “Feathers over Freeport” and a complete listing of activities, go to:  http://www.maine.gov/feathersoverfreeport or by calling the parks: Bradbury Mountain State Park at (207) 688-4712 or Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park at (207) 865-4465.

For more information about Maine state parks and historic sites, go to:


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