1 Here I am with my long-time publicist, Susan Magrino, all ready for our hike. We even have our Maine Coast Heritage Trust hats on
2 The very informative Billy Helprin, who is the Mount Desert Island Regional Steward, was our guide.
3 Billy keeps an entire library of guide books and maps in his vehicle.
4 Bring Nature Home is a wonderful book that teaches how to sustain the native natural environment on any patch of land.
5 I especially love this book, which gives scientific descriptions of 862 plant species, including wildflowers, ferns, grasses, sedges, rushes, trees, and shrubs.
6 We saw a bird fly over and Billy identified it as a northern goshawk, a powerful raptor of northern forests. It feeds on prey as small as squirrels and as large as grouse, crows, and snowshoe hare.
7 Richard Rockefeller, who is on the board of directors of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, joined us for the hike.
8 This is the MCHT's MDI office at the head of the trail.
9 This is Babson Creek, a salt marsh, which is an extension of Somes Sound. The 36-acre Babson Creek Preserve, consists of meadows, salt marsh, and a small wooded area.
10 All sorts of wildlife and waterfowl exist here.
11 Paths are mowed through the meadows for hiking enjoyment.
12 Betsy with a serious looking lens
13 The paths are really beautiful at this time of year with all the wildflowers coming into bloom.
14 Here I am with Kevin, who really enjoyed this hike.
15 Along the path, we came across the skull of a deer.
16 Billy explained that skeletons also decompose, adding to that circle of life.
17 Pretty meadow pathways
18 More meadow
19 Because this is a tidal estuary, the tide carries fish and other sea creatures in from the sound.
20 Which is why so many...
21 Water fowl are found here.
22 These are great blue heron, the largest North American heron, and their primary food is mostly small fish, which they stab with their long, sharp bills. It appeared that this was a good fishing locale.
23 We came upon another osprey nest. Osprey, or sea hawk, have special vision for detecting underwater objects, which they capture by plunging feet first into the water and grabbing with their powerful talons.
24 This natural area was very beautiful.
25 And the tide was going out.
26 Further up the road from Babson Creek, we entered the new 516-acre Kitteredge Brook Forest Preserve.
27 Betsy Perreten, my stable manager, traveled to Maine with two of my horses. Betsy is a real tree hugger.
28 Billy explained about the process of how the forest rejuvenates itself. For example, this decomposing wood eventually breaks down enough to become new soil, which will bring new life to the forest.
29 He said that you'll never know what you'll come across here and that it's different each time he hikes through.
30 This marshy area was actually created by a colony of beavers.
31 Here is a tree that was gnawed through by a beaver's powerful front teeth.
32 Beavers create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect their colonies against predators.
33 That still water also allows the beavers to float in food and building materials to create their lodges.
34 The beaver dam also provides irrigation for the tall marsh grasses, where much wildlife lives.
35 Decomposing trees support other wildlife, as well. Lichen flourishes here.
36 Decomposing trees provide shelter for insects, mammals, and birds
37 Looking through a spotting scope at a distant object
38 It was an osprey nest built in one of those decomposing trees.
39 Looking up through the tall pines
40 Beneath the tall pines are plenty of young saplings growing beautifully as the next generation of tall trees.