Greetings!

What are you seeing out there? We'd love to hear from you! The following posts are from some of our local Harpswell Nature Watchers.

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When walking in the woods this time of year, we can be lulled into a mindset that there aren't too many interesting things to see. But, it is now that more careful inspection guided by curiosity can reveal a much different story. One might not take a second glance at a little frozen stream. For me, when I see streams in winter, I think "There could be some interesting ice!" This particular day, upon investigation, there was! (Contributed by Lynn Knight, Photos by Priscilla Seimer, January 30,2019)
I’m not sure how mistletoe became a symbol of romance, kissing, and Christmas wishes because in reality, it is more like a kiss of death—for a tree anyway! Mistletoe ( Arceuthobium pusillum ) is a parasitic plant that, at the very least, stunts the growth of the host tree, but will kill the tree if the infection becomes widespread. The Maine climate is too cold for the well-known species of mistletoe with leaves and berries that is hung in doorways. However, Eastern Dwarf Mistletoe is present here and is on the state watch list as a noxious disease for spruces and some other conifers, particularly in coastal areas and the islands. The presence of this parasite stimulates the tree to produce large twiggy growths referred to as “witch’s brooms.” I spotted the large broom pictured here at the Otter Brook Preserve. The parasitic plant itself is very small—appearing as short, brown shoots on the branches, between the needles. (Submitted by Lynn Knight February 5, 2019)
Many people are confused when they see large raptors that look like bald eagles, but the birds are missing the classic white head and tail feathers. The answer is that they are looking at immature eagles. The birds do not reach sexual maturity until age four to five, when they develop the white plumage we all know and love. Read more:  https://hhltmaine.org/nature-notes/nature-notes-bald-eagle/ (Submitted by Ed Robinson February 20, 2019)