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by Pete Kallin
Summer seems to be in full swing, with long lines at Day's Store and more out-of-state license plates than Maine plates on the cars parked in the village. The BRCA Courtesy Boat Inspectors (CBIs) have been on duty for over a week already at the seven public boat launches in the Belgrades, doing their part to prevent the spread of invasive plants into our lakes. Last year, these CBIs inspected 13,000 boats between Memorial Day and Labor Day and made multiple "saves" of invasives entering our lakes.
This past week has seen a mixture of weather, some hot, some cool, some wind and off and on rain and thunderstorms. I have gotten a little bit of hiking in and have been rewarded with some beautiful flowers such as trillium and lady slippers. The BRCA Stewardship Committee began another project at their Fogg Island Preserve on lower Long Pond in Mount Vernon. Toni Pied, Roy Bouchard, Brian Alexander and I ferried four loads of hemlock planks from the Castle Island boat launch to Cedar Beach on Fogg Island where the lumber will be used to build a Maine Department of Environmental Protection-permitted bog bridge through a cedar bog to extend a trail to the island.
As the weather has warmed, the trout and salmon have headed for deeper, cooler water while the bass, sunfish, and landlocked alewives have headed for shallower, warmer water. The pike have finished their early spring spawning and are hungrily chasing whatever fish they can catch. I have caught several on my 9-weight flyrod, which is a real battle. Teenager Joe Ardito recently landed a nice nine-pound pike while fishing with his dad, Mark, behind their house on lower Long Pond, across from BRCA's Fogg Island Preserve. That is the kind of experience that creates strong father-son bonds and creates memories that will last a lifetime.
While I was fishing on Long Pond recently a bald eagle flew overhead toward a nearby wetland. Suddenly a red-wing blackbird flew straight at the eagle trying to chase it away from its nesting area. The little bird landed right on the eagle's back, right between the shoulder blades! The eagle dipped and turned to shed the blackbird. The blackbird once again flew above the eagle and landed on its back again, successfully driving the eagle off. It happened so quickly I couldn't get a picture but I now have a permanent memory of the event. It was more exciting than watching Maverick drive off the bogeys in the movie, Top Gun.
This area offers some great outdoor recreation, whether you like to hike, bike, birdwatch, fish, sail, or paddle a canoe or kayak. Pick up a map of the local trails at Day's Store or from the BRCA at the Maine Lakes Resource Center (MLRC). Get out and explore! Sign your kids up to learn to sail through the Great Pond Yacht Club. And make sure you take a kid along on your next outdoor adventure.
Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance.