Festival to provide events for bird-watchers

Posted May 10, 2010, at 8:43 p.m.

TRESCOTT, Maine — The Down East Spring Birding Festival in the Cobscook Bay area is accepting registrations for its seventh annual event to be held May 28-31.

Guided bird walks, boat rides and presentations will be available for advanced, intermediate and beginning birders, according to a press release from organizers. More than 200 different bird species were spotted during the festival’s first six years.

This year the festival is being organized and administrated by the Cobscook Community Learning Center.

Participants may sign up for the whole festival for $60, and day passes are available for $15 or $25 for the family for residents of Washington and Charlotte, New Brunswick, counties.

A day pass includes all the hikes and events that take place on a given day. Some events, such as boat trips and meals, have an extra charge, while events at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge are free and open to the public, though registration still is required.

The birding festival begins at noon Friday, May 28, at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Baring.

Kicking off the festival on Friday afternoon will be one of the favorite presentations from past years, Birding by Ear, by Bob Duchesne, who is a trustee and a frequent field trip leader for Maine Audubon and the author of “Maine Birding Trail.”

Immediately after the presentation, Duchesne and others will lead hikes in the refuge to give birders an opportunity to practice identifying birds by their calls.

On Saturday, May 29, a full day of activities is planned at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to a series of morning hikes, which begin at 6:45 a.m., kids’ birding activities will start at 10:30 a.m. with Stephanie Allard. The festival also is offering an opportunity to observe raptors up close during two live raptor presentations, at 11:30 a.m. and at 12:45 p.m., with staff and birds from the Chewonki Foundation.

Saturday also will feature a presentation on birding optics by Carroll Tiernan of Maine Audubon at 2:30 p.m., a presentation on global warming and bird migration at 3:30 p.m. by Dr. Herb Wilson of Colby College, guided eagle and osprey viewing with Andy Slater at 5 p.m., and evening hikes with Moosehorn staff beginning at 6 p.m.

All of these events are free, though registration is recommended.

The festival continues through Memorial Day weekend and events are spread across the region to allow participants a chance to experience the diversity the area has to offer in both bird species and the varied terrain and topography.

Festival headquarters for the first two days is the Moosehorn refuge and at the Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott for the second two days. Guided birding walks will take place in Eastport, Perry, Baring, Topsfield, Edmunds, Lubec, Cutler, Trescott and Campobello Island.

For more information, or to register for the Down East Spring Birding Festival, visit the festival website at: www.downeastbirdfest.org, call the CCLC at: 207-733-2233, or e-mail birdfest@thecclc.org. Early registration is recommended, as some events fill up quickly.

For those interested in an extended experience, an associated Exploritas, formerly known as Elderhostel, program runs with the Down East Spring Birding Festival.

Exploritas folks participate in many of the same events as festival-goers and have benefits such as meals and transportation, a resident guide, specially crafted local exploration as well as birding experiences during the program and the opportunity to meet and spend time with fellow birders from all over the country. For information about the Exploritas program on Campobello go to www.exploritas.org and search for program No. 12733RJ.

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