I recently went on a hike with the Downeast Outing Club to Day Mountain on Mount Desert Island. It was a great hike! There is a cave on Day Mountain I would never have found without our leader, Linda Bohm.
When we got to the cave, I crawled on my hands and knees with other hikers.
It was a small cave, but after we got through the entrance, we could stand up inside. Three at a time could enter the cave and Linda let others use her flashlight.
I saw two sowbugs — also called pillbugs and wood lice — on the wall of the cave.
Sowbugs are small gray crustaceans you might find under boards on your lawn or in a woodpile. They breathe with gills and need areas with high humidity, such as in leaf litter or crevices in a cave. Sowbugs eat dead or decaying plants and animals.
We also saw some 20 harvestmen. They look like spiders with eight long legs. Many people call them “daddy longlegs,” but that name is used for three animals — crane flies, cellar spiders and harvestmen. So I prefer to use the name “harvestmen.”
These harvestmen had beautiful little beads of water along their long legs. Harvestmen are not spiders, but they are close relatives. They do not have silk glands, so they do not use a web to catch their prey. Harvestmen eat aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, beetles, flies, mites and other insects.
After the hike, we went to look for birds on the ocean. Birding was good!
We saw approximately 1,500 eider ducks flying low over the water in a huge flock.
We also counted 20 black ducks, a hooded merganser, a red breasted merganser eating a crab, two common goldeneyes (ducks) and two species of grebes. Gordon Russell saw a peregrine falcon flying over the ocean at Hunters Beach!
Christmas Bird Count
Be a birder, covering a territory within a bird count circle or be a feeder-watcher. If you live inside either a circle, or have a bird feeder, you can count how many birds you see.
Then e-mail Holly Twining at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call in how many of each species came to your feeder.
The Orono-Old Town Christmas Bird Count is Saturday, Dec. 18; snow date is Sunday, Dec. 19.
The Bangor-Bucksport Christmas Count is Saturday, Jan. 1.
The cost is $5 for birders, free to feeder watchers.
For information on Fields Pond Audubon Center, call 989-2591.