Saturday, March 7 from 10 to 12:30. Bundle up the kids and join Sebasticook Regional Land Trust for a morning of winter play at Richardson Memorial Preserve in Unity. Presented in partnership with Waldo County General Hospital and 5210 Let’s Go! Waldo County.
Go snow-shoeing, sledding or skiing, make snow angels – perhaps the weather will actually be warm enough to allow a snowman or two! While we’re there we’ll take the opportunity to clean out and make any necessary repairs to the bluebird boxes installed last year by the Cub Scouts in Unity Pack 233. We will have a limited number of youth snowshoes available, as well as hot cocoa and healthy snacks.
Richardson Memorial Preserve is located on the Stevens Road in Unity, nearly opposite the intersection with Bailey Road. The property was gifted to the community by the family of Carl Richardson in 2003. It was transferred from Unity Barn Raisers to Sebasticook Regional Land Trust in 2013.
Sebasticook Regional Land Trust together with Somerset Woods Trustees will host an art show celebrating interior Maine this May and June. “Saving Beauty: a land trust art show” will be on exhibit at the Canaan Farmer’s Hall May 29-31 and June 6-7.
Area artists are invited to submit their works inspired by the wild landscape of inland Maine. The artists’ invitation and registration form are available here ( Saving Beauty Invitation (2) Saving Beauty Registration Form Final ). Register early to ensure your space in this collaborative show.
Each summer the SRLT partners with motivated students looking to put their skills and knowledge to work as full-time interns. This summer’s opportunities include assisting with property care and management of non-native plants as a Property Stewardship Intern, and elevating the SRLT’s media presence as a Communications Intern. Read on for more information: Summer Internships 2015. Contact Jennifer for more information.
A timber harvest is currently underway at the Great Farm Brook Preserve in Jackson. For safety reasons, visitors are asked to stay out of harvesting areas and stay alert for logging equipment. We anticipate work will be completed in early February. Questions about the harvest may be directed to Jennifer Irving, Executive Director, at 948-3766.
Please note, the SRLT and its logger have no involvement in the forestry operation underway on the adjacent property.
The 18th annual Unity Christmas Bird Count held on Dec. 20 was blessed with a fine day. Forty-five observers contributed by either getting into the field or recording birds at their feeders. The final tally included 49 species (tying the count high) which included 4055 individuals.
A crystal clear evening gave way to a sunny morning on Count Day. Early temperature recordings ranged from 6 to 15 degrees then rose into the high 20s by mid-day. Clouds and southeast winds increased by mid-morning and led to a less pleasant afternoon. Despite lots of open water, waterfowl were few due to the early freeze-up and severe November weather which drove them to the coast or southward.
The Sebasticook Regional Land Trust (SRLT) once again acted as local sponsor for the count. At least 25 dedicated birders gathered at our Main Street headquarters after the count to enjoy pizza and stories. Many first-timers mingled with veterans while sharing their experiences from the day.
Bird highlights included a Rough-legged Hawk that was photographed by Sarah Cantwell at SRLT’s Prairie Road Wetlands Conservation Easement. A Savannah Sparrow (new to the count) was photographed at Unity College by Dave Potter. Dave also reported a Wood Duck and Merlin which are both seasonally rare birds. Another uncommon winter bird found this year included a lingering Gray Catbird on the grounds at Avian Haven.
Melissa May and Dave Potter were treated to a concentration of 10 Bald Eagles and hundreds of gulls that were enjoying rotting salmon remnants in Kinney’s compost piles on Knox Ridge. “Count week” birds found at the same site included several species of rare gulls. The 362 Herring Gulls recorded on count day represented a new high as did the 21 Bald Eagles recorded within the circle.
Other species for which new high counts were recorded this year included Mourning Dove (420), Downy (47) and Hairy Woodpecker (83 – previous high 48), Blue Jay (499), Tufted Titmouse (34), White-breasted Nuthatch (90 – previous high 46), and Northern Cardinal (63). Cardinals, which are historically a southern species, have rapidly expanded northward in recent years. When the count was begun in 1997 only a few were recorded. This year’s count more than doubled the previous high (from 2013). The increase in cardinals and other southern birds such as Tufted Titmouse demonstrate visible evidence of our changing climate.
Mammals recorded incidentally on the count included gray and red squirrels, 2 muskrat, a red fox and a deer. Raccoon, snowshoe hare, and coyote tracks were also observed. Thanks to all who participated. We hope you’ll join the fun again next year!
The newest edition of our print newsletter was mailed in mid December. You can read it here. Be sure to send your contact info to Jennifer to be added to the mailing list for the next edition due early next year.
Did you know Sebasticook Regional Land Trust owns 11 properties, located in not only Unity but also Burnham, Cambridge, Freedom, Hartland, Jackson and Stetson? These diverse holdings include an assortment of habitats and recreational opportunities. You can get to know these special places by volunteering as a property steward!
Some SRLT properties have trails and other public-access improvements. Some properties are managed just for wildlife while others include forestry and farming components. Some properties are open for hunting, while others are not. While each property is different, they all have two things in common: they are forever conserved for the benefit of people and wildlife, and the SRLT is responsible for their care.
SRLT property stewards help care for these important lands by taking walks and occasionally joining with other volunteers for larger projects like trail improvements, boundary marking or plant and wildlife surveys. There are no special skills required, simply a willingness to be outside and to submit a completed “stewardship visit” report – a brief record of your observations and suggestions.
We suggest properties with trails be visited quarterly, with semi-annual or annual visits for our unimproved or remote parcels. The SRLT provides an initial property orientation and ongoing support.
Interested in learning more? Please contact Jennifer at 948-3766 or by email.