As we approach the darkest days of the year, with early sunsets and late sunrises, there is less daylight to discover BRLT preserves. While BRLT properties are traditionally closed to visitors from dusk to dawn, the land trust does offer several events throughout the year that allow nighttime visits to the trails. Owl prowls, night hikes, lantern walks, and campfires are all on the schedule in the coming months and offer a safe way to discover BRLT preserves in the dark. In recognition of the winter solstice, BRLT will be hosting a Winter Solstice Lantern Walk at Oak Point Farm (60 Samoset Road, Boothbay Harbor) on Tuesday, Dec. 21 between 4 and 7 p.m. Come celebrate the longest night of the year with a lightly illuminated stroll to the shores of Hodgdon Cove. Enjoy moonlit views of the cove and a warming campfire with your BRLT friends!
Winter solstices throughout history focused on light and warmth, and visitors to BRLT’s Lantern Walk will experience both. Guests should arrive anytime between 4 and 7 p.m. and follow the illuminated lanterns spaced along the 1/2 mile universal access trail encircling a freshwater pond, through field and forest. BRLT staff will be on-hand attending a firepit warming station.
Bring your thermos full of tea or hot cocoa, and enjoy nature from a new perspective. Night walks offer a different view of the landscape and allow us to discover wildlife that we do not see during the day. The low light also helps to heighten our other senses, making us more aware of sounds, smells, and even the feel of the earth beneath our boots.
Many of our animals in Maine have periods of activity under the cover of darkness, with some being completely nocturnal. Nocturnality is a behavior in which animals sleep during the day and are active during the night, the opposite of diurnally where animals are active during the day and sleep at night. Nocturnal creatures often have specially adapted eyes to make use of the low light levels, as well as highly developed senses of hearing and smell. In our region, nocturnal animals include owls, bats, flying squirrels, beavers, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, porcupines, fireflies and crickets.
In addition to nocturnal and diurnal animals, Midcoast Maine is also home to a variety of crepuscular animals. Crepuscular animals are most active at dusk and dawn, which is also known as the twilight period, and include mink, foxes, bobcat, deer and moose. These animals are also seen at other times of low light, including cloudy days and moonlit nights. What time animals are active arises from a variety of circumstances, including the behavior of other predators or prey, extreme hot or cold temperatures, and local competition.
So, whether you are seeking a chance to observe creatures of the night, or you just love the beauty of the twilight hours, BRLT invites you to enjoy the wonder of nature while welcoming in the winter season. This event is free and open to all. No registration is required.