Keeping an Eye on Long Meadow Brook
THE NEWEST GLLT RESERVE
Leigh MacMillan Hayes, Education Director, Greater Lovell Land Trust
FROM THE “Wonder My Way” BLOG
Be sure to follow the frequent tramps, walks, climbs, snowshoe outings and wanderings of Leigh MacMillan Hayes on her remarkable blog: “Wonder My Way”
My intention yesterday afternoon was to focus on the plants and trees at the Greater Lovell Land Trust’snewest reserve, Long Meadow Brook. But I also wanted to check out the new parking area created as part of an Eagle Scout project by Bridgton’s Troop 149.
While the logging road cut by the previous owner to the landing during a 2014 thinning was untouched for the creation of the parking area, some of the log landing (staging area to remove logs from the site) was used to create a smooth space for vehicles. Kudos to the Scouts and other volunteers for building the lot.
To the left of the parking area stands a kiosk. If you go, please note that the trail was first tagged last summer and though trail work was done this week, it’s brand new and not yet well tramped.
Your best bet is to keep an eye on the trail signs. Most are blue circles painted on a white background and nailed to the trees. But . . . at least one offered a more creative take as it appeared someone was thinking outside the lines.
So yes, I went to make an initial inventory and began on the driveway to the parking lot, where the blossoms of coltsfoot have now turned to seed. Remains of the former flower continued to exist among the white fluff of the seeds’ parachutes.
In the same place grew dandelions, providing a comparison as their seed heads were fancier in form.
It was on the driveway also, that common mullein showed off its soft leaves as it grew among the equisetum or horsetail.
One, in particular, was ready to spring forth with new life.
Though there were examples of last year’s mullein flowers along the driveway, it was on the trail that I spied a group of them, looking much like the cacti of the north.
There were other look alikes to note–this being a woodland horsetail that can be mistaken for a pine sapling.
Both have whorled branching, but pine featured packets of five straight needles , while the horsetail branches were divided and dangling.
A spittlebug larva took advantage of one pine sapling and covered itself with froth to keep predators away.
White pine saplings are numerous on this 98-acre property, where the former owner left many older pines that create a cathedral-like space.
One of my favorite species were the pitch pines, though this one appeared to have been used perhaps as a turning tree, with its bark on one side scraped off.
At my feet, I also found common speedwell,
and pipsissewa–though not common, not un-common either.
There was wintergreen showing off its new growth with tiny blossoms forming between light green leaves,
and a red trillium, its flower passed by and fruit production in the works.
Speaking of fruit, lowbush blueberries were loaded with future treats.
And then there were those species that feature other-worldy presentations such as the Indian cucumber root.
Likewise, the great bladder sedge with its fruit sacs pointed up and out.
A variety of ferns grow there, including wood ferns with sori maturing on the underside of the blades.
I found a small striped maple with leaves as big as a dinner plate.
And multiple maple-leaved viburnums in flower, this one with . . .
Because I was looking down so much, and no walk is complete without such a find, I saw an oak apple gall.
And similar in shape for its round form, snowshoe hare scat.
On the preserve are two small clearcuts. A bench has been installed at the two-acre lot.
This is also the spot where a wildlife blind provides its own point of view.
The six-acre opening faces the Baldface Mountains to the west.
But my favorite view was at the old beaver dam, where Long Meadow Brook passes through. I wanted to spend more time there because there was much to see and ID, but the mosquitoes thought I was sweet.
Fortunately, there were plenty of dragonflies, such as this chalk-fronted corporal, who thought the mosquitoes were sweet.
That’s not all chalk-fronted liked, for this was his female counterpart.
Long Meadow Brook is the perfect place to meet some dragonflies, including the lancet club tail with yellow daggers running down the back of its abdomen.
And a white face-so named for the whitish face below the bulging eyes.
Hanging vertically as was its custom, a stream cruiser.
Damselflies, too, flew about, including familiar bluets.
But it was the metallic green of the sedge sprite that wowed me.
And when I thought I’d seen all that the land had to offer, I suddenly found myself in the place of the calico pennants.
It’s their wings that amazed me the most and made me think of stained glass windows.
I happened upon them just before I passed back through the cathedral in the pines, as seems apropos.
While they focused on the abundant prey and each other to do their own canoodling (my guy and I heard that term mentioned recently and it made us chuckle), I had to finally pull my attention away. But . . . I’ll be keeping my eye on Long Meadow Brook Reserve. With pleasure.