Sebasticook Regional Land Trust has a mission to recognize and conserve the rich wild and working landscape of Central Maine's Sebasticook River watershed.
Read the SRLT Newsletter Spring 2017
An Award winning film by SRLT intern Spring 2014, Allison Perna
Unity Christmas Bird Count 2017
The 21th annual Unity Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held on Saturday, December 16. The weather was a gift for mid-December with sunny conditions and relatively balmy temperatures. Winds were mild out of the northwest. Early morning temperature recordings ranged from four to sixteen degrees, then rose up into the high twenties by afternoon. Nearly all water bodies were frozen, although the east side of Unity Pond had open water far out from shore.
Thirteen parties got into the field to search for birds, although most groups counted for less than half the day. Only two parties briefly looked and listened for owls in the pre-dawn hours. Thirty-three observers contributed to count totals either by getting into the field or recording birds at their feeders. Field participation was higher than average, but feeder watchers were down this year. The final accounting of birds amounted to 45 species, with 3808 individual birds tallied. In addition, four additional species were found during count week which were not recorded on the count day. Bird species, total birds, and count participants numbers were nearly average for recent years.
The Sebasticook Regional Land Trust (SRLT) continued to act as the local sponsor for the count. Thanks to the hospitality of Jean Bourg, we gathered after the count at 93 Main St. to share stories over pizza and beverages. Several first-timers mingled with long-time veterans to report bird sightings and rewarding experiences that were enjoyed during the day.
Two new bird species for the count were observed. The first Unity CBC confirmed Winter Wren was found at Carlton Pond while the observers were counting a group of bluebirds and robins. Soon afterwards, the same team found a lingering Ruby-crowned Kinglet just south of that site in Troy. Other highlights included only the second time that Chipping Sparrow and Lesser Black-backed Gull were tallied on count day. Two Rusty Blackbird, nine Horned Lark and two Northern Saw-whet Owl were also notable sightings. The junco and Bald Eagle counts more than doubled last year’s record highs. The latter is due mostly to the increasing number that scavenge salmon skins at Kinney’s compost. A record low count was established for chickadees, which quantified anecdotal observations regarding lower numbers of birds using feeders this fall. Winter finch numbers were only notable by their absence. Otherwise, individual numbers of most species were unremarkable.
Mammals recorded incidentally on the count included a high number of gray squirrels.
Thanks to all who participated. Our data contributes to the North American database for National Audubon Society’s CBC which is now in its 118th year. Hopefully next year the will be even more fun.
From the Alewife Restoration Initiative:
On Saturday Nov. 11, ARI sponsored a public open house to show off the site of the recently removed Masse Dam in Vassalboro and discuss the project, and answer questions. Despite the bitter cold it attracted about 40 interested people, a cross-section of local citizens, and others from the area, including one of our donors, Jim McDougal and representatives from the China Lake Association. Landis Hudson of Maine Rivers was the chief spokesperson along with Nate Gray of Maine DMR. SRLT was represented by Dan Hill, and Brandon Kulik. Dan spoke about our role in monitoring and managing invasive species; Brandon said a few words about SRLT’s mission and how this project fits in with that, and discussed stream channel and habitat dynamics after a dam removal. There were many good questions from those in attendance and largely very positive reaction from the community.
Frank Richards took the attached photographs (left to right: Dan, Landis, Matt Streeter (PM for the restoration work), Brandon Kulik, and Nate Gray.
Thank you Danielle D’Auria for a wonderful talk and thank you all for a full house.
Danielle D’Auria is a wildlife biologist who works in the Bird Group of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. She focuses on understanding statewide populations of colonial wading birds, secretive marsh birds, black terns, loons, and other rare water birds. Since 2009, she has spent a majority of her time researching why great blue herons have undergone a decline along Maine’s coast.
“A person could write an entire dissertation on the variety of pondweeds in Pleasant Lake,”
We were a flotilla of nine boats on Pleasant Lake in Stetson. It was a gorgeous summer day and Mark, a former DEP staffer and active Maine VLMP volunteer, guided the group of novice aquatic plant patrollers. The event was organized by Sebasticook Regional Land Trust (SRLT) and Maine VLMP provided aquatic scopes and materials.
A job well done at the Masse dam site
The work is part of the Alewife Restoration Initiative collaborative project with Maine Rivers.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust.
There is a role for everyone, from working with children to leading excursions to serving on a committee… and much more! Whether you can give us several hours a week or a few hours a year, we need your help. Please take a couple of minutes to download the SRLT Volunteer Interest Form below and return it to mail (P.O. Box 184, Unity, ME 04988).