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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


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

october 9th, 2012

woolly bear migration has been significant
for several weeks now
the  one pictured about is not actively migrating
Welcome to the vinalhaven sightings report – October 9th, 2012
Thanks to you, VLT & MCHT!

My sightings (of the otters) aren't often
(maybe 1-2 times per week)
And when I do see them, they only stay around for 10 minutes max” - Ali McCarthy

“I would gladly trade chanterelles for 10 minutes a week with otters.
Twice a week would be outrageous!”
– Kirk gentalen


unreal greater sherwater
with reflection
photo by John Drury

Highlights – photos sent in! – Caterpillars, otters, sea birds, and songbirds.  – migration – flicker, sapsuckers and wooly bear, Raptors, White-breasted nuthatch and other songbirds, Caspian Tern, otters, wood duck, fungus, and a slime joins the “8 ft. high” club!

 some of this may have been left off.

Great Blue
photo by Karen Oakes
Disclaimer – this particular VSR was not proofread and edited as much as other VSRs, we acknowledge that up front.


“When you go in with the lowest of expectations
You are always satisfied”
– Old Jersey saying.

Thanks – for all the great contributions sent in recently. There is so much on this here island and there are plenty of eyes for the seeing. And Cameras for the capturing of moments. If you have something you want to share – a photo, a list, a particular view- send your thing to It’s not checked often, but often enough.

Don't forget the "Tiit-trick" - clicking on any photo stimulates said photo into growing! Technology engourges them with enough life and light to fill up your computer screen! In other words- click on the photos and they get bigger. Dad figured this one out.

Upcoming Events - Huber Mushroom wallk - this Saturday! October 13th, we'll meet at 10am at Skoog Park - really close to the ferry terminal

off island - Mushroom Walk at the Sheepscot Valley Conservation people's Palermo Preserve. The date is this Friday morning, October 12th, at 10am
Here's a link to their website on upcoming events webpage for more information   

quick note- every mushroom hike i've led for Shepscot Valley (3 on 3 differnet preserves) we have always found King Boletes. Their preserves are beautiful, worth the effort just to know of a cool place to explore.  The more the merrier in the search...

assume position!
all photos in this section, until noted  by Sylvia Reiss
Thanks sylvia!
Monarchs of all ages….Sylvia Reiss up there round City Point way sent in some marvelous monarch caterpillar photos for the last VSR, and the tale of Monarch metamorphosis thru pictures continues! When we last left off the Monarch caterpillars were getting awfully plump and ready for a change in looks. What better than to pupate!

last caterpillar skin

Yep, these frisky caterpillars made the big change in form to chrysalises, chrysalisi? You know what I mean! Whatever, them there beautiful cocoon are so special they get their very own different name! Wonderful.

chrysalis are so beautiful

no slackin'. progress!
Now, it takes a few weeks or so (little under sometimes) and you (Sylvia) get to see that the critter is not merely sittin’ around in that chrysalis of a house; the dude is actively changing the whole time- putting the morph back in metamorphis! Look at the shot Sylvia got of the monarch in the chrysalis, but obviously close to busting out.


Then the break thru, time to expand and dry its wings, get the blood pumping thru the veins, and a big stretch or two and then it’s “hit the road jack”!


its a boy!
note the bulbouse noides
on the veins closest to the abdomen
extremely active otter rub
photo by Ali McCarthy
And now that we have your attention –

we present to you  a sentimental section of the VSR we call “otters in the pond”. That would be beautiful Carver’s Pond right here in downtown Vinalhaven. Otters have been seen on the pond over the years by Brud Carver, Pete Gasperini, and Carlene Michaels (right at the bridge) where the pond provides the water (let’s say half) that gives the Tidewater Motel (nice place to rent a van) it’s name.

River Otter family on the banks
of Carver's Pond
-photo by Ali McCarthy

Well, Ali McCarthy has been seeing (and photographing) River Otters from her house and property on the north shore since July and is kind enough to share these photos. Ali has photos of River Otters in at least different spots, one of a group – presumed family   

Happenings, “as we speak” so to speak- Migration is fully forcing its way thru the mid coast (and the universe and beyond).

sally's white-breasted nuthatch
photo by sally
SongbirdsSally’s feeder scene - white-breasted nuthatch photographed at a skin hill feeding station in town! A yearly visitor to the island (in small to no number of sightings), this is the second time Sally’s yard has attracted this striking bird. Funnily enough, I saw my first yard White-breasted Nuthatch out here on Reach Road (10/4) in a mixed species flock that passed thru the yard in the early afternoon. Not funnily at all really…Sally also caught a nice group of Pine Siskins (10/7) that were visiting her  yard with some ground feed….And to add to the fun, a hairy woodpecker spent some quality time at Sally’s mixed seed bag feeder (yes, I said bag feeder) recently. The photo with the Hairy’s tail feathers pointing up is ludicrous. 


photo by sally
n flight- Northern Flickers still fill the island roadsides. Look for a pretty good sized bird (robin sized) that’s got “a rump full of white” (white patch on the topside “butt”) as they bail on their roadside ant scene (flickers eat tons of ants- woodpeckers on the road)…Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Junco are starting to line roadsides – look for more before there are less of these roadside markers – more than a month’s worth still to come…Belted Kingfisher and Great Blue Heron sightings are pretty

chestnut-sided warbler from the spring
photo by Karen Oakes
Flocks – we’re going to incorporate some of Karen Oakes wonderful photos with the mixed-species flock report and bird sightings around the island. The ruby-throated hummingbird is especially amazing I think. You can see Karen’s photos of birds of vinalhaven on the flicker. Big “Thank You” Karen for sharing your photos.


Pleasant River – (9/12) Liz and Steve Jones found themselves a nice flock by the chapel. Here some of the highlights -  Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Parula, Redstart, Yellowthroat,  Blue-headed Vireo,  Scarlet Tanager,  Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak


Ruby-throated Hummingbird!
photo by Karen Oakes
31 reach road yard – (10/4) – 2 yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Black-throated blue warbler (female), Yellow-rumps (up the wazoo!), White-breasted Nuthatch!, 2 Common Loon Flyover – very distracting…the note here is  my 1st yard white-breasted nuthatch on Vinalhaven, ‘bout time huh?

State Beach- (9/29) 10 Red-necked Grebe, 3 Common Loon, Savannah and Song Sparrow

Huber Preserve- (9/29) Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 7 Surf Scoter, 2 Ring-billed Gull, Great Blue Heron


Birds and Fungus, a conglomerate of the ages– some simple lists of the days…


Huber Preserve – (9/29) – Orange Jelly, Birch Polypore, Flat-maze Polypore, Red-belted Conk (RBC), Coral Mushroom, Fading Scarlet Waxy Caps, Honey Mushrooms, Turkey Tail, Emetic Russula, False Turkey Tail, Citron Amanita, Luminescent Panellus, Red-yellow Gilled Polypore, False Chanterelles, Violet-toothed Polypore (VTP), Conifer VTP, Warty Amanita…That’s about all I can read of my handwriting


Basin trails – (10/1) –Wolf’s milk slime, jelly tooth, orange jelly, Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Honey Mushrooms, False Chanterelles, Yellow-footed Chanterelles,   Saffron Cort, Grisette, Tawny Grisette, Turkey Tail, Gypsies, RBC, Yellow Patches,  Warty Amanita, Viscid Cort, White Cheese Polypore,  VTP, 18 Harbor Seal, Rosy Russula


honeys in all stages
are beautiful
Long Cove – (10/2) Wolf’s Milk Slime (8 foot club!), Sapsucker, Raven, Jay, Crow, Chickadee, Junco, Red-breasted Nuthatch

Time for Honeys...a fall tradition, the Honey Mushroom - ARMILLARIELLA MELLEA GROUP - a cool conglomerate of species so incredibily closely related they are "grouped" together as one. somewhat of an admission that the sicne they all glow and are all delicious. or edible...Significance? Huge- first off, genus species with three sets of double "L"s are rarely noted, but undoubtedly are. Here's what David Arora has to say about them..

young honeys

"There is very little that can or cannot be said about the Honey Mushroom. Also known as ....., it is among the most variable and cosmopolitan of the the fleshy fungi, and in its innumerable guises will you time and time again!". Mushrooms Demystified - page 196.


Many mature Honeys look like these.

and then there was time for the king...
the king bolete that is

the common ground fair was productive...
....and tasty...

them there Kings cook down nice.

 we'll be back with more shortly...

thanks for stopping by...