Midcoast Maine is a mecca for avid birders. The end of May is one of the best times of the year to view species that may not normally live in the area, as the migratory birds stop on their journey back north for the summer. This is especially true for shorebirds.
The Pemaquid Peninsula extends well out into the Gulf of Maine, which is a large body of water off the Atlantic Ocean, marking the entrance to John’s and Muscongus Bays. The iconic Pemaquid Point Lighthouse sits on awe inspiring exposed rock that offers magnificent views of the ocean as well as the waterfowl floating in the surrounding waves. The location of the peninsula makes for an excellent resting spot for migratory birds, which are visible from various locations, all within easy walking distance from the inn.
In addition, the Alewives begin their journey up the local waterways from the ocean to their freshwater spawning grounds, attracting all sorts of birds of prey, including bald eagles, ospreys, cormorants, great blue herons, loons and let us not forget seagulls. Plus, it is fun to see the fish leaping out of the water working their way up the streams and fish ladders with the birds circling above.
There are a couple of great local spots to bird and Alewives watch:
- Bristol Historical Society’s History Center at 2089 Bristol Road, which is located right at Pemaquid Falls. A perfect place to see the Alewives jumping up the river and birds sitting on the mill roof waiting to catch their next meal.
- Bristol Mills Swimming Hole Fish Ladder in Bristol Mills. A beautiful, new fish ladder, built specifically to enable the Alewives make their way up the Pemaquid River to Biscay Pond and Pemaquid Lake.
The Great Salt Bay Farm and Heritage Center is a beautiful 115 acre preserve. It is Maine’s first marine protected area and is in Damariscotta at 110 Belvedere Road, just 25 minutes up the peninsula from The Bradley Inn. The area is unique as it offers multiple habitats from open fields, salt and freshwater marshes, forest, and the Great Salt Bay. Each habitat providing the opportunity to see distinct species of birds.
In addition, The Bradley Inn is a perfect location for early morning walks to the water or just strolling the grounds and neighborhood in search of sightings. We have had bird watchers identify over forty varied species in one walk on the peninsula. Start your day with a steaming cup of Seacoast Coffee or tea and return from a rewarding walk to a delicious breakfast at the Inn.
Equipment and clothing suggestions:
- Good hiking shoes for walking the grounds of The Heritage Center and on the peninsula rocks
- Layers of clothing for various weather conditions and temperatures
- Warm jacket, hat, gloves if planning a Puffin Cruise on The Hardy Boat
- Camera to catch a picture of that that new bird sighted