Six-day OktoBIRDfest Features Tours, Social Events

BERLIN — Delmarva Birding Weekends is partnering with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery to host the 2021 “OktoBIRDfest x Dogfish Head” birding extravaganza — a fusion of birds, boats, bikes and beer.

Like spring migration in late April, fall migration in mid-October offers high numbers of species for nature lovers to enjoy as warblers, herons, and egrets trade places with waterfowl, hawks, and eagles. During OktoBIRDfest, nature lovers can register for just one field trip or multiple field trips each day of the 6-day event. Registration for the Oct. 13-18 event is now open at

Guided by local, fun-loving birders with decades-long experience, the walking tours, bike treks, boat trips and kayak paddles will accommodate visitors from the curious nature lover to fowl fanatics.

On Wednesday, participants can combine history and nature on a Harriet Tubman boating or walking tour. On Thursday, Chincoteague Bay, Bombay Hook, the 2,200-acre private Newport Farms, and Fowler Beach will delight bird lovers.

Rounding out the week, Friday-Monday, are trips to the Delaware Botanic Gardens, a Sunday trip on the Shorebird Explorer out of Ocean City, a paddle around the East End Lighthouse at Cape Henlopen, a jaunt around Prime Hook and numerous Delaware Bay boat cruises.

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Dogfish Head Founder & Brewer, Sam Calagione, said the brewery’s nature-centric mindset made this partnership an easy marriage. “Mother Nature is at the heart of everything we do at Dogfish, because without the natural agricultural ingredients with which we craft our recipes, our beers would not exist. That’s why we are continuously seeking new ways to protect and give back to the Earth, especially in our local community.”

Making a return for this special week is Dogfish Head’s Binoculager. First brewed for our Winter Delmarva Dogfish BirdINNg Weekend, Binoculager is a delicious amber lager made with toasted sunflower, flax and pumpkin seeds, brewed with bird-watching in mind. Grab this draft-only exclusive at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats and enjoy a pint with a burger or take a growler home with you.

“The October weekend is spectacular,” said Southern Delaware Tourism Director Scott Thomas. “Imagine hiking a dunes trail at Cape Henlopen to be met with a Peregrine Falcon dive bombing a flock of shorebirds. Or spend Sunday morning at Delaware Seashore State Park enjoying the beautiful yellow of fall warblers. That’s what the weekend is all about.”

“This is our biggest fall nature-oriented weekend,” said Melanie Pursel, Tourism Director for Worcester County. “People will be amazed by the number of eagles and flocking herons, but they will see a lot more than that walking, paddling, and boating with guides in untouched parts of Delmarva. Delmarva Birding Weekend trips are so good that the governor issued a tourism award for them in 2018.”

Social events for this year’s OktoBIRDfest include “tally rallies” at Grain on the Rocks in Lewes, the Dogfish Head Tasting Room & Kitchen in Milton, RaR in Cambridge, Burley Oak in Berlin, Mispillion River Brewing in Milford and Irish Eyes Pub in Lewes, where participants can add to the species checklist and swap nature stories with new friends.

After the feathers have settled and the birding and imbibing are done, outdoor enthusiasts can start recharging their engines for the next birding extravaganza January 20-23, 2022 when seals join birds for some spectacular winter wildlife watching.

Sponsors for the events include Dogfish Inn, Worcester County Tourism, Southern Delaware Tourism, the Boardwalk Hotel Group, and Jolly Roger Amusement Park. Special thanks also go to the private property owners who allow us access to their properties for this weekend.

Additional sponsor and registration information, field trip descriptions and other resources for Delmarva Birding are available at To become a sponsor or for additional information, contact Dave Wilson (443-523-2201) at Conservation Community Consulting at [email protected].


About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.