Category Archives: Wildlife

Summer 2022 Browntail Moth Forecast

The State of Maine has released a new map using the ArcGis mapping platform to show the state of the Browntail Moth infestation in Maine this year. Last year’s outbreak of the pest was the worst every seen in Maine, and it looks like this year will be very bad again. However, it looks to me like some of the areas that were hardest hit last year (including my property!) may experience less of a problem this year. My property on Clary Lake is surrounded by large red oak trees, and last year ALL of them were completely defoliated for the second year in a row. I feared a third year as bad as the previous two would doom many of my trees. I’m happy to report however that this year I’ve only spotted 1 caterpillar on my screen door and no evidence at all of caterpillars eating the emerging oak leaves. My fingers are crossed, it looks like we won’t suffer a repeat of the last two years this summer. Continue reading

Lincoln County News: Clary Lake Focus of Maine Loon Restoration Project

The Clary Lake Association will be participating in Maine Lakes’ Loon Productivity Project. The last time our loons successfully raised a chick was in 2017. They hatched out 2 chicks in the summer of 2018 but neither baby survived much more than a week. The loons nested again in 2019 but never hatched any eggs and they never attempted to nest in 2020 and 2021- a troubling situation. Stay tuned for more about this exciting initiative:

Clary Lake Focus of Maine Loon Restoration Project

09 January 2022: Crazy Like a Fox!

campicImagine my surprise when I looked out my upstairs office window at the lake yesterday afternoon and saw a red fox cavorting out on the ice. Then it cavorted back in the other direction, then back again. You can see it’s tracks in the snow. I tried to get logged into the webcam in time to get a video but I wasn’t able to. My neighbor was out ice fishing and he and the fox must have seen each other.

A Year-End Message from Avian Haven

A nice year-end message from our friends at Avian Haven. I highly recommend looking at their Year End 2021 message!

Happy Endings VR Banner

Dear Friends of Avian Haven,
Anyone looking back on 2021 can see effects of the pandemic almost everywhere in the human realm.  But faith in the endurance of the natural world helped us and many of you to hold hope.  Our combined efforts in 2021 made happy endings possible for the stories of many birds.  Images of some of them can be found here (3.5 MB).

All of us here send huge thanks for your role in sending these birds and many others back to their natural roles in the wild.  May these images help to buoy hopes for 2022! 

08 July 2021: Great Loon Video

Here’s a great video about Loons with fantastic photography. No word on whether Clary Lake’s loons are nesting this year. They probably are and we just haven’t discovered where they’re doing it. If they  do successfully hatch out some chicks, we should know soon.

10 June 2021: Birds In The Marsh

An American Bittern, one of the birds heard during the birding trip into the marsh. (stock photo).

Last Saturday, Steven Viti, Nancy DeWall, and myself, Malcolm Burson, took a two-hour paddle up into the Clary Lake marsh to see what birds were around. We started over on the floating bog where the blueberries grow where we got good looks at Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers, and Purple Finch, all of which are likely breeding there, and we heard a Veery singing. As we worked our way into the marsh, we heard a call with which I wasn’t familiar; later detective work led to the conclusion that this was a Marsh Wren, a species I hadn’t observed before at Clary. A zig-zag to the other side, beyond the island, produced a Swamp Sparrow, a regular breeding species here. We watched a Great Blue Heron fly across the north end, and once we headed that way, heard an American Bittern, possibly a return to breeding territory that I heard every evening last year closer to the main body of the lake. Continue reading

09 March 2021: IF&W Issues Invasive Species Alert

I was talking with a friend the other day about different ways that invasive plant and animal species can find their way into Maine lakes. One common way that doesn’t immediately come to mind is summer visitors dumping their aquariums including potentially invasive plant and animal species into a lake or pond at the end of the vacation season. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife sent this PSA around today:


Attention home aquarium owners:

moss ball and moss ball display at pet store

Left: a moss ball, Right: display of moss balls for sale at a pet store


Invasive zebra mussels have been found in “moss balls,” an aquarium plant product sold in Maine. Moss balls are commonly sold under trade names such as “Betta Buddy.” Zebra mussels, which so far have not become established in Maine, are one of the most destructive invasive species in North America.

If you recently purchased moss balls, immediately destroy them using one of these methods:

  • Freeze – Place the moss ball into a sealable plastic bag and freeze for at least 24 hours.
  • Boil – Place the moss ball in boiling water for at least 1 full minute.
  • Bleach – Submerge the moss ball in chlorine bleach for 20 minutes.

After destroying the moss ball, DISPOSE of the moss ball and any of its packaging in a sealed plastic bag in the trash. Do not dump moss balls down drains or in waterways or gardens.

If moss balls were placed in your aquarium, DRAIN and clean the aquarium:

  1.  Please remove fish and other living organisms and place them in another container, with water from a separate, uncontaminated water source.
  2. Aquatic plants may also harbor zebra mussels and should be destroyed along with the moss ball.
  3. Sterilize the aquarium water by adding 1 cup of bleach for each gallon of water. Sterilize filter, rocks, décor, and any other items in contact with the water.
  4. Let the water sit for 10 minutes and then dispose of the treated water down a household drain.

Thank you for doing your part to keep this invasive species out of Maine’s waterways. 

Clary Lake Birding and Marsh Paddle Event

American Bittern

Ex-president and current CLA Board member Malcolm Burson has offered to lead one or more birding excursions in the Marsh at the northwest end of Clary Lake some weekend later in July (date to be determined). Both Malcolm and his partner Eleanor Goldberg are long time birders with considerable experience spotting and identifying birds. The plan would be to meet at and leave from Malcolm’s camp around 7 AM and head down the channel towards the dam.

Since birding at this time of year is mostly all about bird songs, participation is restricted to canoes, kayaks, and boats with electric trolling motors! To keep it to a manageable sized group, we’d like to limit it to roughly 6-7 vessels at a time, that way social distancing can be maintained without people getting too spread out. If there’s sufficient interest we’ll schedule a second expedition later in early August.

Right now Saturday July 18th or Sunday July 19th are looking like workable weekends. If you’re interested in participating in this event please let us know as soon as possible and include your preferred day (Saturday or Sunday) so we can start to finalize plans. You can use our Contact Form or just let George Fergusson know. Thanks!

03 June 2020: Floating Loon Nest Found After 21 Years

loon-nest-platform-20200602_184022Back in the spring of 1999 Bob Antognoni and Art Enos built a floating loon nest platform and installed it at the back of the deep cove on the north shore where our loons have traditionally liked to nest. There is no record of whether or not the loons ever used it for a nest site though it’s entirely likely. I’ve looked for the nest off and on over the years and have figured it was long gone. Imagine my surprise  when I was out and about yesterday evening to see if I could find where the loons are nesting this year, and spied something floating. I rowed closer and sure enough, the loon nest is still floating after 21 years! Even the wire screen that supported the nest area is still intact. I believe it was constructed out of dry peeled cedar and bolted together with galvanized carriage bolts. Clearly it was built to last! Bob would no doubt be glad to know it has survived this long. Continue reading