Location Maine / Ski trails and Bushwhack / Long Falls Dam Rd. Highland Plantation
Date March 5-6, 2000
Comments  
Submitted By Greg Drummond

This was a natural history weekend trip from Claybrook Mountain Lodge. Our purpose was to study our surroundings, with attention to birds, wildlife, tracking and habitat. Greg Drummond was leader with assistance from Ron Joseph and Pete Boucher. Ron is a biologist with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, specializing in ornithology. Pete is a registered Maine Guide and Paramedic at Sugarloaf Ambulance and Rescue.

Saturday was blue sky and lots of sun. We started on foot on frozen ski and snowmobile trails across from Claybrook. The snow was only about 16 inches in depth and in the morning frozen enough to hold us up. Some carried snowshoes and were glad they did by afternoon.

Pete discussed tree identification, Ron covered birds, I did tracking information and deer winter habitat and we all contributed general information about what we saw as we went. There were so many things to talk about that we were overwhelmed by all the information.

At Bear Brook Bog we had a cookout lunch where I had cooked for my ski trip acouple of weeks earlier. I had smeared grease from my fry pan on a fir tree on the earlier trip and we found sign from several coyotes who had stood up on the tree to lick the grease almost five feet up the trunk. They left a few little tufts of hair on branch stubs for us to identify them with.

Ron was amazing to watch as he called in many small birds and did a Barred Owl call that was as good as the real thing. We saw chickadees, grossbeaks, nuthatches, bluejays, woodpeckers including a Pileated, crows, ravens, kinglets and many more. In one area of a deer yard we were able to see a number of deer and compare habitat that had been logged to some that was still intact. We saw tracks of all kinds of game both large and small and at the end of the day Ron actually got a Barred Owl to answer and come in, though he spooked before we could see him.

On sunday we drove to the end of the Long Falls Dam Rd. and across the bridge over Dead River below the dam at Flagstaff Lake. Here we looked at some old growth boreal forest and another deer wintering area more intact than the earlier one. I bushwhacked on skis and everyone else used snowshoes. The deer here were much more wary and difficult to see, but we were rarely without fresh tracks. Within this area we found tracks of fox, fisher, pine marten and coyote plus a few brown capped chickadees followed us for a while. The day was more overcast and the terrain was more rugged but snow conditions were great for both skis and snowshoes. We ended the day with a spectacular view of Long Falls and a couple of deer crossing to an island.

This was one of the most interesting trips I have been involved in. There was an immense amount of information to absorb and I had a most enthusiastic and knowledgable group to share it with.

Leader: Greg Drummond - AMC member

Crew list: Ron Joseph, Pete Boucher - AMC member, Ron and Debbie Jinkens, Dale Temm - AMC member, Shiela Hoyt, Bob and Jeffrey Nixon - AMC members, Nancy Houlihan - AMC member

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