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.

August brought us perfect days to soak up the sun outdoors. Flowers were in bloom, animals were out, and sunrises/sunsets were not to be missed. Please enjoy our August edition! All of the contributions below are seen immediately in our Facebook group. Click here to join.

Click here for more information about Harpswell Nature Watchers.
Early Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum pubescens) is flowering right now. I found some at Curtis Farm Preserve along the trail that parallels the shoreline, just before ending at Curtis Cove beach. It is such a lovely plant with its delicate leaves that remind me of a maidenhair fern. Although not an uncommon plant in shady areas of moist woods and riverbanks in New England, I don’t see it often in Harpswell. There are distinct male and female flowers on separate plants.

(Submitted by Lynn Knight, August 1, 2019)
Dawn from Bailey Island.

(Submitted by Bill Walker, August 5, 2019)
Potts Point.

(Submitted by Bill Walker, August 5, 2019)
A pair of common loons spent the early summer in our cove with no sign of nesting activity; perhaps they were not yet sexually mature. This week I was at Indian Pond, west of Greenville, and had the pleasure of observing a pair of loons with a juvenile from this year. Every morning and evening we were treated to their haunting calls.

The waters around Harpswell have finally warmed up, and lobsters are more active. Fishermen are reporting better catches than earlier in the season. Read more about wildlife at: https://hhltmaine.org/nature-notes/

(Submitted by Ed Robinson, August 7, 2019)
Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) is developing its fruit right now. The berries will turn bright red later in the summer or in early fall. The fruit often stays on the shrub all winter and can be an important source of food for robins, eastern bluebirds, and other birds in late winter. In her book, “Naturally Curious,” Mary Holland writes that the bitter acidic fruits of highbush cranberry and the fuzzy staghorn sumac berries provide food of “last resort” for birds that overwinter in New England, after all the better-tasting berries have been eaten. This is a tall shrub that is not related to the commonly used cranberries that grow in a bog. They are edible if cooked, the seeds are removed, and sugar is added. One can make cranberry sauce, juice, or jelly. )

(Submitted by Lynn Knight, August 15, 2019)
Carolina sea lavender (Limonium carolinianum) is blooming now. Sometimes it is hard to spot if it is nestled among the blades of eelgrass on the shoreline. It’s growth form is so lovely when it stands alone. This plant has impossibly found a home growing in the cracks of the schist ledge. At high tide, these plants will be completely submerged.

(Submitted by Lynn Knight, August 25, 2019)

This boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) in my front garden is very popular with the painted lady butterflies! I counted 20 of them fluttering around and arguing a bit over their preferred flowers. This plant is in the Aster family and an extract from the leaves was used by Native Americans to break fevers. It is considered poisonous at certain dosages. Boneset is easy to distinguish because it has pairs of long lance-shaped leaves that are fused together around the main stem of the plant—a unique feature.

(Submitted by Lynn Knight, August 25, 2019)