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The Vinalhaven Sightings Report is organized and edited by Kirk Gentalen on behalf of Vinalhaven Land Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Out and about on Vinalhaven, MCHT steward Kirk Gentalen reports on what he and others have seen in their travels. Contributions of stories and photos are welcome, and can be sent to


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Welcome to the Vinalhaven Sightings Report – October 7, 2011
Many thanks to VLT and MCHT for their support
“How many times have I heard that before” – Al Jones

Highlights –Buff-breasted Sandpiper and very little on shorebirds, Blue-grey gnatcher, Caspian Tern, Loons certainly are back ,fungus, Raptors including Bald Eagle taking a bath, other things. Mostly pictures.
state beach appearing foggy

Pardon our appearance, we are currently morphing the vsr format.

Welcome – A good friend of the VSR has made his way to Maine, and we at the VSR are super excited to send out a big ol’ welcome to Mike Windsor coming to Falmouth. More importantly is the big ol' howdy to his family, Jess, Levi, and the family member yet to be named (publically at least)! Good folks, good to have you int he neighborhood!

Sightings – we start with a video of a bald eagle taking a bath by the dam in Folly Pond. I was on North Haven Road with my little Sony Cybershot and no scopage

Lots of Sapsuckers, Yellow-rumpeds, Kingfishers and Herons…..

there is one bird on the beach.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper – here’s a not-so-good picture of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at state beach. Patience Chamberlin spotted this one, relayed a quick message to me at the store (“it’s the only bird on the beach!”) after which is headed out with my 15 minutes of time and little photo equipment. Total VNM, and those don’t happen much birdwise anymore, and also a VVNM as this, from all known records, is the first documented record for Vinalhaven. Chances are that many have come thru over the years unnoticed, and hats off to Patience for noticing this one. And thanks for sharing!...other shorebirds..Janet Ghores spotted a Whimbrel on Lane’s Island…and state beach continues to be the place to find shorebirds.

buff breasted sandpiper

oh, to be a caspian tern

Caspian Tern – (9/7) John Drury photographed a pair of Caspian Terns hunting around Roberts Island. Caspian Terns do not breed locally, in fact the closest breeding zones along the Atlantic south of Vinalhaven are in Virginia (probably somewhat dated info). Of course they do breed in New Foundland and Labrador to the north and along some of the great lakes to the wayt west of us. Just a lovely example of disjointed breeding ranges. Anyway, nice shots and nice shots.

nice legs.- photos by John Drury

Greens – John has also jerry-rigged, or Johnny –rigged, a blind under a stump close to a washed up seal. He got some nice eagle an raven shots, including one of this eagle which has leg bands.  John also saw a Blue-grey gnatcatcher and Pine Warbler on greens

great cormorants are great

loons looking good

Kayak ride – around leadbetter and up the red sea – (9/19)- The paddle started with a juvenile Peregrine screaming down Creeds Cove, and was highlighted by the plentiful amount of Common Loons who are back, (still) dressed to kill, and are filling the air with song. I had a close escort by a curious Harbor Seal and got a few shots of both Double-crested Shags and a Great Cormorant taking off. I saw other things on this trip as well.

Word is that the Black Vulture has returned to the dump after what seemd like weeks of no-sightings. Hanging out by the burn pile is the latest word.

Kid stuff – School’s on, which means that Outdoor Explorers can be found crawling thru the woods. October is a big month so far three outings are a go! Thanks for the support VLT! –

 looking for critters
 Middle school tidepooling on Lane’s - (9/24) great session, last minute and the kids called home for boots! The hardcores found many lobsters (more than other years), urchins, sea stars, and even a few sea cucumbers. but really, its the search that is the thrill.

beautiful day to explore

Salamander hunting with 5th graders- (10/5) a smashing success! about a dozen red-backeds were found on a chilly afternoon. the searching was fun and getting to know this group of kids looks to be even funner 

 tiny red-backed salamander

carmen getting a closer look
at a red-backed salamander

Pond scooping with 3rd graders-  (10/6) another fun outing, this time with Meagan Davidson and hey third graders. We caught 2 tadpoles, many dragonfly nymphs, damselflies, caddisflies, backswimmers, and even 1 water boatman. Once again, for a cold day the cold-blooded animals were just active enough to be hanging around.

Leif and Bailey getting into tidepoolin'

leif liked putting critters in the bucket

Tidepoolin - the day after (9/25).  - For this round we brought out a handful of naturals - Leify and his buddy Bailey, palmer, and Pat, of course. Tidepoolin just ain't the same without Pat. Anyway, we found bunches of lobsters and crabs, scaleworms and a hermit crab. A blood star and a small northern sea star. A few highlights were the explorers all humming at the hermit crab, trying to entice it to get active. and A sea  cucumber releasing water, classic move, always good for laughs.  Good to be the pools with some really fun explorers. 

pat with the squirting sea pickle

bailey going for it
           see you out there...