Nearly 50 people showed up at the North Beach at 10:00 AM and went off in two groups to the interior of the island. This trip was organized by The Nature Conservancy in conjunction with the Stamp Act Island Committee. Many of the people on the trip had never been “on” the island so it was a real adventure for them. The North Beach was very full of boats of all sizes.
While the woods are very similar to other woods around the lake, they have not been lumbered for over 100 year and this makes them different. The beech forest has been undisturbed and provides a great growing environment for the Three Bird Orchid, a rare plant that is about 4 inches tall with flowers about 1/2 inch long. Because it likes an undisturbed beech forest, Stamp Act Island is a great place to live.
The first group left the beach and walked toward the old dead pine that was the nest tree for the eagles for their first 3 years on the lake. As the first group approached, the eagle chick (which is the size of an adult) was calling, most likely for more food. The group was able to approach the tree, see the eagle and then moved away so that the second group could see it, which they did. The group then moved through the open woods to the beech forest and the orchids, then to the area of old forest with hemlocks and pines and had a look at the hemlock tree that was struck by lightning and burned a few years ago. Near it, another hemlock showed signs of being struck with the top broken off and on the ground and lots of splinters of wood at its base. Yes, there has been quite a bit of dramatic lightning this summer…….
The tour then went to look at the old heron rookery swamp which is now grown in. The herons left years ago because it wasn’t swampy enough to keep raccoons from being able to the to their nest trees and climb up and kill the young. Leaving the swamp, the group headed back to look around the base of the old dead pine nest tree. It is interesting because there are lots of nest sticks at the base and even a white tail feather. As the group was standing there, the eagle chick came and landed in the tree and a few minutes later, one of the adults came to join it. The adult must have been concerned with all these people on the island (they don’t allow people on the island, what is the deal?) and quickly left with the chick.
Jeff Lougee is seen the picture below talking with one of the groups.
Photo credit Lauren Poster
The other group is seen walking past the outlet to the heron swamp and in an area with mixed forest.
There will probably be another tour next year in August so if you missed this one (or last year’s) keep an eye out for the announcement of the tour.