Birding adventure scheduled at Claybrook Lodge in Maine’s western mountains

CMLext-winter2It’s a combination that’s hard to beat. Claybrook Lodge, a wonderful place in the woods of western Maine, and Ron Joseph, a retired federal wildlife biologist and champion birder. Along with Greg Drummond, a Master Maine guide who owns the lodge with his wife Patrice, Joseph will spend the weekend of May 15 birding the local woods and mountains with Lodge guests.

The weekend is sponsored by Maine Audubon. The cost is $310.00 per person and covers all meals, lodging, sales tax, two nights lodging, and van transport to and from the lodge. Linda and I have been trying to get this on our schedule for two years, and finally got it done. We’ll be there for the May 15 – 17 weekend, but the Lodge offers a second weekend of birding on May 22-24.

According to Greg, we’ll see “many warblers, local boreal species, and lots of wetland birds. Our usual is over 100 species for the weekend!” Wow! We can’t wait. We were up there birding a few weeks ago, on our adventure at Maine Huts and Trails, and saw a Black-backed woodpecker not far from Claybrook Lodge.

The Drummonds purchased an 1850 farmhouse in Highland Plantation in 1977, near Bigelow Range, Dead River, and Flagstaff Lake. The farmhouse had no wiring, plumbing, or insulation. But they dug in and turned it into a major destination for hunters. They also raised their three daughters here.

In 1984 they built the Claybrook Mountain Lodge, next to the farmhouse, and began offering home-cooked meals. They began serving lunch to snowmobilers on weekends, eventually adding a commercial kitchen and dining room. I received many great reports on the accommodations and hospitality of the Drummonds over the years, as well as the excellent hunting and fishing opportunities there.

Working now on a book about Maine sporting camps, I recognize the need to diversify opportunities at these places. The Drummonds made a smart move as they began their now-always-sold-out birding weekends and other nature-based opportunities along with educational weekends. They even developed more than 20 miles of cross country ski trails to attract more winter guests. Linda is impressed with their focus on organic cooking.

I think there may still be space available on the May 15 weekend. Please join us!

For more information, 207-628-4681, Highland Plantation (north of New Portland)

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.