As you know, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust has launched a community nature journaling initiative. Click here for more information about the initiative.

Guidance and inspiration for nature watchers is shared through this email list and our Facebook group: Harpswell Nature Watchers.

What are you seeing out there in Harpswell? We'd love to hear from you!

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The following posts are from some of our local Harpswell Nature Watchers.
The tracks of the snowshoe hare ( Lepus americanus) are a familiar winter site. Looking like small snowshoes in the snow, their tracks can often be found in the woods, particularly near water sources. This time of year the hares are still brown. As winter descends, they will turn white to better hide from predators, such as foxes. Hares and rabbits are not the same species. Hares have longer ears, are less social, and are bigger. Newborn hares are born with fur, and their eyes are open, while rabbits are hairless and their eyes are closed. So next time one of these animals crosses your path, look closely: Rabbit, or hare? Hint: this photo shows a snowshoe hare. (Contributed by Priscilla Seimer)
I was fortunate to spend 5 days in Northern Maine at the peak of foliage season, with most of my time spent in the woods. Red maples were in glorious shades of scarlet. Ruffed grouse were coming together in fall flocks, with some birds drumming on logs as if it were spring mating season. Red squirrels were gathering nuts and seeds for their winter dens. Moose were still exhibiting mating behavior even though the peak of their rut ended in late September. A highlight was a close encounter with a fisher, a secretive creature who avoids human contact. She scampered away quickly when she realized I had invaded her secret hunting spot. (Contributed by Ed Robinson)
Did you know there are a handful of constellations that can be seen in our latitude all year long? These constellations are known as “circumpolar,” meaning they never set below the horizon. Whether or not a given constellation is circumpolar depends on where you are. Here in our northern latitude, Ursa major and Ursa minor (Great Bear and Little Bear, also known as Big and Little Dipper) and Cassiopeia (a vain Queen in Greek mythology) are the most familiar and easiest to spot. Step outside some night and see if you can find them. They’re always there! (Contributed by Priscilla Seimer)
Northern Bayberry ( Myrica pensylvanica) – This shrub is everywhere in Harpswell. You will be treated to a lovely aroma if you crush a leaf. The female shrubs are full of waxy berries right now. The wax boiled from the “nutlets” can be used to season aromatic candles. These shrubs will loose their leaves in preparation for winter. The root nodules have nitrogen-fixing microorganisms, which allow it to grow in relatively poor soils. (Contributed by Lynn Knight)