Brought to you by

The Vinalhaven Sightings Report is organized and edited by Kirk Gentalen on behalf of Vinalhaven Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Out and about on Vinalhaven, MCHT steward Kirk Gentalen reports on what he and others have seen in their travels. Contributions of stories and photos are welcome, and can be sent to


Saturday, February 5, 2011

A few hours at Huber - January 31st, 2011

A Few Hours at Huber – January 31st, 2011


Once spring has sprung, the insane amount of snow that we have on the ground should melt into the gulf (with the scary possibility of significantly raising tides way higher then anticipated, potentially several feet higher in some areas- you heard it here first). Anyway, whenever that happens if you find yourself at the Huber Preserve take a look at the tops of the birches long the trail. A keen eye will undoubtedly spot the fresh deer browse on the tippiest tops of two 40 foot plus tall trees. I'll narrow it down for you - if you are hiking out to Seal Bay the trees will be on the left side of the trail, just past the non-significant, human induced and influenced vernal pool.

                     1. Birch trees bending over trail

The story goes that while I was snowshoeing a few days ago (1/31) I followed a fresh deer trail that went down the heart of the Huber trail in the vicinity of the previously mentioned vernal pool. The trail took me to an area with high deer activity - several trails came and went from a spot just below the tops of 2 leaning birches. The tops of the trees must have been at the perfect height for the deer as there were many tracks directly below and sign of munched and nibbled tippy-top tips of the trees clearing them completely of snow.

2. Tips of tallest branches nibbled and cleared of snow             3. Nibble and out

In theory, the bendy shrubs and trees that are common this winter will bounce back from the weight of a few feet of snow and continue on as if nothing happened.  The bouncity and bendability of a particular plant varies of course, and often it is not the larger trees in the woods that would be thought of as being particularly bendy, I suppose. Just how much these babies bounce back is yet to be seen, but we will stick on the case and keep you updated. 

I like the idea of deer browse 40 ft up, like the giant Vinalhaven subspecies of White-tailed Deer roams Huber and strikes fear in every Birch, Maple and Oak this side of Seal Bay.  

Other than maybe seeing migrating songbirds in them, I don’t think I ever noticed these birches before, but will keep an eye on them from now on.  


More news from the snowshoe out to Seal Bay via Huber, we have confirmed reports of the ice sheet connecting Vinalhaven Island to Penobscot Island!

4. Finally, the ice pack link from Vinalhaven
                                                                                            to Penobscot is confirmed

This should close the case on how the Pygmy Woolly Mammoths got out to Penobscot. My heart felt condolences to the land bridge theory people, it was a cute effort, but flailing and failing right from the beginning. Just being honest, but come on - a land bridge?

And then a sunset with some tidal ice.   

5. Sunset and a cold snowshoe out.