Grand Lake Stream

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Town News

Dave McCullough

We have received the following report, most recently from JR Mabee and the Downeast Lakes Land Trust

“4300 Rd is washed out badly by 2nd Machias Lake near the campsite where the beavers have built the dam. If you are heading south, take an alternate route. Be safe and take care!”

There are many wonderful locations on West Grand Lake to visit and enjoy the view. Visiting “Hole in The Wall” provides a great view but the best part is the wonderful people who are so welcoming and always have a pot of coffee or tea available and fine hospitability. Here are some observations from the deck of “Hole in the Wall.” 

The Swallow Project started accidently 12 to 13 years ago. Patty had bought a small ornamental birdhouse on a wrought iron frame. The hole was too small for swallows but we mounted it in front of the camp anyway. The first occupant was a red squirrel who enlarged the entrance.

Surprise! The following spring a beautiful iridescent tree swallow took the nest and raised 3 nestlings. This started a complex nesting project that has  currently grown to seventeen boxes.

From early May to early July the Hole in the Wall folks and fisherman trolling out front are treated to seeing a colony of tree swallows feeding over the lake. Many have commented that “this is the only place on the lake with so many of these daily events”.

This daily erratic feeding, flight patterns and delightful chirping bring much pleasure to Patty and me at “Hole in the Wall.” The cycle is all too short lived as the process of courting, picking a box, building a soft nest, and raising the fledgling’s ends in early July. In 2013 on July 5th and in 2014 July 7th. Surprisingly they all seem to leave within a day of each other. Once babies fly, the Moosehorn biologists tell us they finish the summer in marshes with their young. Striking south to Cape Cod and thru the Carolinas for the winter.

In the fall Patty and I work the shoreline. We clean, disinfect if needed, the houses for next year for our spring and summer friends.

This season (2014) we added 2 duck nesting boxes. One was taken by a golden eye duck. She raised 4 ducklings and we were elated. Future plans include more tree swallow houses and duck boxes. Barry says “If you build them they will come.”

What a wonderful story to share! Many thanks Barry and Patty. I hope you will share more events from “Hole in the Wall”.

News from the Downeast Lakes Land Trust

Indian Township Students Explore Nature in After-School Program

Across the fall, students at Indian Township’s After-School Programs have been out in the surrounding forests and fields exploring with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust’s (DLLT) Nature Club.

Starting in early October, students crafted their own nature journals to record their explorations, both during the program and for their own independent nature inquiries. DLLT Education and Communications Manager, Tanya Rucosky, then led students on weekly thematic adventures.  Students prowled the leaf-litter of the near-by woods looking for arachnids, insects, myriapods and terrestrial crustaceans.  “A lot of the kids had never gone looking for bugs before.  They were a little intimidated.” said Rucosky, “However, they gained a new appreciation for the diversity and elegance of some of the smaller denizens of our forests.”

Another blustery day found students hunting for wild foods. Before even leaving the school yard, students sampled clover, pineapple weed, wood sorrel, dandelion greens, rose hips, hawthorn berries and wild plums.  Retiring to the cafeteria, students warmed up with a specialty common in boreal and transitional forests–chaga. “I love the chaga, can we have some more!” said numerous students, undeterred by the chaga mycelium mass’s dark, hard and globular appearance.

“Kids are often bolder than grown-ups,” said Rucosky, pouring refills of the steaming spiced drink made from tree fungus, and tipping in cream. “They are focused on what is really important– that chaga tastes great! Never mind that there is a growing body of scientific literature outlining its medicinal qualities.”

Throughout the autumn, students learned to identify trees by their leaves, played predator-prey games, created their own original art works on the landscape, and explored animal behavior using drama.  Their adventures wrapped up as they gathered seeds, sticks, feathers and leaves to create their own small nature people.

Have a wonderful week! Your humble correspondence Dave McCullough. dmccull1@maine.rr.com or 207-839-4205