What are you seeing out there? We'd love to hear from you! The following posts are from some of our local Harpswell Nature Watchers.

September marked the changing of the seasons in Harpswell. Cooler mornings followed by warm days made for lovely walks outside. Please enjoy our September edition!
All of the contributions below are seen immediately in our Facebook group.

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While it is still summer, annual migrations are beginning for some species like warblers and monarch butterflies. American Robin's are changing their diet from mostly insects to mostly fruit, which they will consume through the winter. Apple trees are ripening now, providing a bounty of nutritious food for a wide variety of wildlife. Some of the trees will hang onto their fruit well into the winter months, but fermented sugars can leave some diners with an alcohol induced hangover. Read more about local flora and fauna on our website:
(Submitted by Ed Robinson, September 4, 2019)
Nannyberry ( Viburnum lentago ) fruits are beginning to ripen. Some call it "wild raisin" probably because the pulp of the fruit tastes a bit like raisins or dates. When ripe, the berries turn blue-black and can be cooked or made into jelly after removing the seed. This is one of the shrubs that hold onto their berries into the winter providing food for birds in the cold months. (Submitted by Lynn Knight, September 11, 2019)
The asters have been blooming everywhere, announcing the coming of fall! There are so many different kinds—tall, short, white, purple, pink, or blue. One of my favorites is the tall white-aster ( Doellingeria umbellata ). Reaching heights of 2 to 7 feet, it can tower over its neighbors in meadows or the moist ditches on roadsides. (Submitted by Lynn Knight, September 11, 2019)
Looking out at Cow Cove from the Devil's Back Trail. Seals take over Seal Rock and double-crested cormorants take over the one next to it. Go during low tide or the rocks will be under water. (Submitted by Judy Marino, September 11, 2019)
Common Snowberry shrubs ( Symphoricarpos albus ) are fruiting now. A member of the honeysuckle family, these shrubs have hollow stems that bear white, waxy looking, berry-like drupes. Drupes are pulpy fruits with a stony covering on their seeds. Snowberries have two seeds per fruit. The drupes are considered poisonous, although at low toxicity; however, they do provide food for birds and small mammals. This shrub is also called waxberry. (Submitted by Lynn Knight, September 22, 2019)
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a very common vine. You see it climbing up tree trunks or crawling over shrubs in the woods or thickets. Some mistake it for poison ivy, but it is easily distinguishable since Virginia creeper has five leaves rather than the three of poison ivy. It is an attractive plant, especially now when it has turned its lovely Fall red complimented by the dark blue berries. The berries are poisonous, however! (Submitted by Lynn Knight, September 28, 2019)

So many fall berries! So necessary for the birds preparing to migrate and also for those critters who stay through the cold Maine winter! Indian cucumber root (Medeola virginiana) is shown here in its autumn attire—blue berries (inedible) framed by the top whorl of leaves, bright red in the center. Botanically speaking, a whorl is 3 or more leaves radiating from the same point on a stem like the spokes of a wheel. This plant has two tiers of whorled leaves—very distinctive. Throughout the summer, all the leaves are solidly green. The tuber of this plant is edible, thus the name cucumber, but sadly the species’ numbers are not plentiful enough to allow harvesting without decimating the population, so we just admire their stature and beauty from afar. (Submitted by Lynn Knight, September 29, 2019)