What a difference a month makes. Just a few weeks ago, butterflies were still visiting the late-season wildflowers in the north meadow of Gilsland Farm, and there was a lot of chatter about where the birds were, with activity levels down at the feeders.
Yesterday, I took note of the first salt water ice of the season along the marshy shore of the Presumpscot River that traces the edge of Gilsland Farm. But a shift into winter doesn’t mean a shortage of wildlife! Further down the shore, I spied several Eastern Bluebirds and a good many Goldfinches eating seeds from the now-brown stalks of goldenrod and asters. Earlier in the day, I noted three Horned Grebes and copious Eiders and Buffleheads near Mackworth Island. A good number of birds have reappeared at our feeders, too.
Certainly, many of you are making similar observations as you recharge your holiday season batteries in your favorite outdoor spaces. Perhaps you also have a copy of Bernd Heinrich and Nat Wheelwright’s wonderful new “Naturalist Notebook” in which to jot down your observations. If you were not part of the sellout crowd at Bernd and Nat’s recent engaging presentation at Gilsland Farm, you may not know that this book quickly become a bestseller (the publisher launched a second printing almost as soon as the book went public). We have it available in our Nature Stores and online. It makes a great gift for any nature lover on your list (and don’t be afraid to treat yourself!).
I also want to thank all of you who took advantage of our November 11th Bird Seed Sale and Member Double Discount Day, which was a huge success! This Saturday marks our Holiday Bazaar and second Member Double Discount Day at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth. We’re also hosting a similar event at our Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden on Friday, December 8.
These events are great opportunities to do some holiday shopping for fantastic nature-themed and locally-sourced gifts — thinks like delicious bird friendly coffee, tea made from seaweed, Passamaquoddy maple syrup, our own honey, and Black Dinah Chocolates. We also have a great selection of books, optics, bird feeders and seed, cards and gift wrap and many other unique items — including our original 2018 Maine’s Naturalist Wall Calendar. When you purchase your holiday gifts at Maine Audubon, you are giving twice; once for the gift recipient, and again for Maine’s wildlife through your support of Maine Audubon’s important work.
As you gear up for winter, don’t let the cold weather impede your explorations. Bundle up and get outdoors! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you get toasty when you are on the move. Watch for animal footprints captured in the snow that is undoubtedly coming soon; venture into areas that are harder to explore during mud season; and relish the absence of mosquitoes! (Don’t forget to get out after dark and enjoy Maine’s amazing night skies, too — including the Geminid meteor shower the night of December 13th.)
Enjoying Maine’s wildlife and habitat is truly a year-round pleasure. Happy holidays to you and your family.