Sebago Lake State Park

Date: March 29th, 2020

Location: 43.9290, -70.5674, elevation 267′

Description of the site: Mostly flat terrain, a few streams with bridges over them. It is a mixed conifer forest with dominant white pine.

Signs of Spring:

This is not from the walk, but from my porch. However, I though it was such an amazing and important sign of spring that I wanted to include it. These two pictures were taken about 10 minutes apart. It was a 50º day and I got to watch the last ice chunks covering Little Sebago Lake break off and melt away. This is an important sign of spring because the melting of ice means lake turnover: the stratified layers of the lake all merge together and turnover, allowing the nutrient rich waters from the bottom of the lake cycle up to the top. This process is good for fish because it distributes oxygenated water and nutrients.

Another sign of spring are these daffodil shoots coming up. They are one of the first flowers to come up in early spring, but they foreshadow the onset of all the other vegetation sprouting.

My last sign of spring is a chickadee I saw singing and hopping along branches. There were other birds of similar size flying around with the chickadees but I only got a really good look at the one chickadee. This is a sign of spring because it is the beginning of nesting season, so birds may be calling for mates.

Leaf Morphology: I looked for any leaves that were alive/not needles, on my walk, but found nothing. Instead, I will be describing the leaf morphology of some of my houseplants.

This leaf is adaxial and the leaves of the plant are whorled. They are simple leaves. The tertiary veins are precurrent and the veins are palmate venation. The leaves are ovate. The leaf base shape is lobate and the leaf apex shape is rounded. The leaf margin is crenate and the leaf is pubescent.

The leaf is adaxial and the leaves are alternate. The lease are simple leaves and the tertiary veins are reticulate. The leaf venation is palmate. The leaf shape is ovate, the base shape sagittate, and the apex shape is retuse. The leaf margin is lobed and erose. This leaf is also pubescent.

This leaf is adaxial. This plant lacks a stem or petioles and grows more like a grass. They are simple leaves and the veins have parallel venation. The leaf shape is oblong. The leaf apex shape is attenuate and the leaf base shape is cuneate. The leaf margin is unlobed. The leaves are glabrous.

Narrative: The weather in the lake picture was 50º and sunny. The weather on the woods walk in the state park was 44º and partly sunny. The trail I too was called Outer Loop. For most of the trail, we could see crooked river, which feeds into Sebago Lake. We saw some fishing boats floating down the river and some deer tracks down by the riverbank. At the end of the trail, we ended up at Sebago Lake before we turned back. There was still some patches of snow, but most of it was melter. There were many white pine saplings lining the trails.

A Walk in the Woods

Date: March 17, 2020

Location: (43.8873479, -70.4285200), 344.5 ft, About a 5 minute drive down the road from my house, the trail begins at a small turnoff to the left.

Site Description: White pine mixed hardwood forest. Classified in Maine as the transitional forest between the deciduous forests of southern Maine and the spruce-fir forests of northern Maine. This particular forest was hemlock and white pine codominant. The trail was hilly with rocks and small streams, but had no major inclines or declines. The key bird species of this area are American Woodcock, Broad-winged Hawk, Ruffed Grouse, Alder and Great-crested Flycatchers, Black-capped Chickadee, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, Veery, Scarlet Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-sided and Nashville Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Song Sparrow (

Species Description: I saw one black-capped chikadee or Poecile atricapillus perched on a pine try early on in the walk. The bird was small with a white belly, grey wings, and a black head. It was hopping about a branch and chirping its familiar call. Chikadees are the Maine state bird and are resident in New England and they typically do not migrate in the winter. I didn’t see any other birds or mammals on my walk likely due to the winter season and most species migrated or hibernating. However, I did find a large feather that likely belonged to a hawk (Figure 1). As for plant species, I found many interesting specimens. On a tree near the entrance of the trail I saw a lichen with large green leaflike structures with veins (Figure 2). I later identified this species of lichen as Lobaria pulmonaria, which is found in North America but becoming increasingly rare. On an old hemlock stump towards the middle of the trail, I found a reishi mushroom, or Ganoderma tsugae(Figure 3). This fungus was about the size of the palm of my hand, dark maroon in color, and surrounded by moss and some other species of mushroom in a tiny ecosystem of decomposers. The color indicated that it was an older mushroom, as the color darkens as it matures. Reishi mushrooms have a lot of healing properties and are used in many natural medicines. At the base of a tree near a small stream I found two small purple-spored puffballs or Calvatia cyathiformi. They were about the size of pingpong balls and gray in color (Figure 4). This species of mushroom is fascinating because it relies on disturbances such as rain or animals in order to disperse their spores. The entire trail was lined with young teaberry plants, or Gaultheria procumbens. Plants stood no higher than two inches and typically had 3-5 oval-shaped green or purple leaves with dark red-purple stems (Figure 5). These plants are also known as wintergreen and their leaves are often used to make teas that help with indigestion and for general wellbeing.

Narrative: Today I went for a walk in the woods near my house in Raymond, Maine. It was 34ºF with a light mist. Earlier in the morning it had snowed, so there was a fresh dusting on the trail as well as some older areas of snow and ice. the trail was littered with old leaves and variations of pinecones. About half way through the trail to the right, there was a beautiful stream which I followed up until I saw where the rapid movement met a more still area where I saw some water plants. I didn’t see any mammals, but I saw some evidence such as scat and rocks where small mammals had chewed apart pinecones and left remnants. I saw many plant species and even took some usnea that fell onto the path for its antibiotic and medical properties.

Photos and Media:

Figure 1: Hawk feather


Figure 2: Lobaria pulmonaria


Figure 3: Ganoderma tsugae


Figure 4: Calvatia cyathiformi


Figure 5: Gaultheria procumbens


Figure 6: Me in a stream that crosses the path of the trail

Alden, Peter. National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England. Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.


This blog is me (Violet) documenting some adventures in my home state, Maine. I go on weekly hikes, probably with my mom, and observe and record some species encountered. I’ll be sure to always include some great pictures!

Come along for the ride!!

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