Please enjoy our April edition of Nature Watchers!

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. 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.
Walking along the trail at Long Reach the other day, I was thinking that it was odd I'd never seen any egg masses and lo-and-behold, there they were! I think these are salamander based on a quick internet search and the photos of the egg masses.

Click here for information about spotted salamanders.

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 28, 2022)
I don't know what to think of these cowbirds. First there was a female. The next day there were two (a pair). Then later in the week, two males, then four males, then seven. They have been shoveling aside the birdseed (I don't know what they're looking for!) and empty the feeder in no time. I know that the females put their eggs in other birds' nests, so are these birds that should be discouraged from coming around?

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 26, 2022)
Spring is here! Daffodils, an osprey, a pair of buffleheads, and a raft of eiders. Living in Harpswell is such a treat! I took all of these in my front yard.

(Submitted by Howard Marshall. April 24, 2022)
Early Spring favorites are popping up! The happy leaves of Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), also called False Lily-of-the-Valley, are beginning to cover the forest floor. They form a lovely ground cover in some areas with their heart-shaped leaves poking out of the ground like little flags. Later in the season they often become hidden—dwarfed by other plants growing around them.

Another favorite beginning to bloom now is trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens). You can find it along the trail edges at many of the Harpswell’s preserves, including Otter Brook, Long Reach and Devil’s Back. It is one of the first native wildflowers to bloom in this area. Like most wildflowers, trailing arbutus is very sensitive to disturbance and is slow to propagate—their seeds being dispersed solely by ants who bring the seeds in the soft dried fruits back to their nests. So, trampling, collecting, and/or loss of natural habitat sadly can mean permanent disaster for these and other wildflowers. But, do get down on your knees to smell their sweet fragrance! The flowers can be white or varying shades of pink.

(Submitted by Lynn Knight. April 24, 2022)
We were doing a little John Gillam Day clean-up along Bethel Point and heard splashing. It was a major battle between a male eider and "breakfast"! Also, seals on a ledge in Hen Cove. It's nice to see that there wasn't a lot of trash along the road there!

To see a video of the eider, visit our Facebook group.

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 23, 2022)
Deer in my yard.

(Submitted by Reed Stockman. April 14, 2022)
Springtime again! So many visitors today, although I found it difficult to appreciate the cowbird chasing everyone else away at the end!

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 13, 2022)
Blue evening view from Orr's Island.

(Submitted by Reed Stockman. April 13, 2022)
This handsome guy has been hanging out with us the last three days. This morning he sang a stunning song. I hope that means a female might be nearby. Indigo Bunting.

(Submitted by Elizabeth Gundlach. April 12, 2022)
Another sign of springsome osprey have returned. They were calling and flying almost through the trees, and sometimes so high up you could hear but couldn't see them. Difficult to video, alas.

To see videos, visit our Facebook group.

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 11, 2022)
Beautiful sunsets on Orr's Island.

(Submitted by Reed Stockman. April 10, 2022)
Anyone know what this is? It's growing in my yard in South Harpswell and is abundant.

This is false hellebore. Thanks Kathy Miller and Susan Hayward for the identification!

(Submitted by Kate Willeford. April 9, 2022)
Tonight's light caught my eye. And then the great blue heron showed up. I got some delightful reflection photos and caught a frog. I was so glad I had my camera in hand. Card Cove, private pond.

(Submitted by Elizabeth Gundlach. April 8, 2022)
It sounded like the seals were having a slapping contest yesterday at Devil's Back!

To see videos, visit our Facebook group.

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 8, 2022)
A few days ago the duck pond on Basin Point Road had no ducks. Maybe this was the reason the turtle was out, sunning itself on a log where the ducks often congregate.

(Submitted by Howard Marshall. April 8, 2022)
I marvel at nature's gifts. This photo follows a rain squall. I am blessed to have a pond and the cove in my view. By the way, it isn't a triple rainbow—the furthest on the right is a reflection in the glass of my window. I love where I live! Card Cove with rainbows over Yarmouth Island.

(Submitted by Elizabeth Gundlach. April 6, 2022)
Loon caught something, maybe an eel? Quite a battle going on in the cove today!

To see a video, visit our Facebook group.

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 5, 2022)
I finally walked down the highway to see whether I could find the birds I could hear gathered with great gusto as the sun went down. I presume these are European starlings, a lot of them! I wish I could have gotten a bit closer, but the light wasn't good enough either way.

(Submitted by Gina Snyder. April 2, 2022)
Here is a picture I took of a male pileated woodpecker a few years ago. They have been around recently, but I might never again get as nice a picture as this one.

The features that distinguish the male from the female are the red "mustache" trailing back from the base of the beak and the red forehead in front of the eyes. The female only has the red cap and crest, while these two markings are gray. Expand the photo for a good look at two talons on its foot.

(Submitted by Howard Marshall. April 1, 2022)
An amazing visit from this cooper's hawk in my yard today. It was clearly looking for mammals around my gardenignoring any bird options.

(Submitted by Elizabeth Gundlach. April 1, 2022)