My Master Gardener Volunteer assignment is to select a Maine Natural Area and reflect on it.
I got to wondering, what has been a huge part of my life as a Mainer that is much different from my rural NY upbringing? One of my favorite places to go is where the tide meets the stream, the tidal marsh estuaries around us. We have SO many options in Maine and I love to go to them year round. The wildlife we see is more than anywhere else around us. You are practically guaranteed to see something if there's nice-ish weather. The birds and waterfowl I could watch all day. I love counting egrets, watching herons toss up fish and eat them head first, watch the nesting gander turn her eggs, count the number of ducklings and the list goes on. We've seen eagles and osprey. Once we saw otters play. The flora fascinates me. The amount of ferns, mosses, skunk cabbage, cat tails and reeds and the birds these all attract holds my attention. I love hearing my neighbor talking about how they used to harvest the saltgrass for cattle. Maine blueberries are abundant in some places. We enjoyed the red dogwood display in Scarborough recently and enjoy the cottongrass beauties of the Wells Reserve. Bushes and brambles are so important, but it is really frustrating to see the expansion of barberry, multiflora rose and bittersweet along the estuary edges. Maybe someday I'll be able to help with efforts to reduce the invasive species. Until then, I'll continue to explore and learn as much as I can with my kids and their pals. If you've not spent much time hanging out in estuaries, I'd encourage you to do so.
We just so happened to visit two different estuaries in a week: Scarborough and Wells. Pictures follow. If you're a long time follower, you've seen many, many other estuary pics. It's just a habitat worth visiting again and again.