Welcome to the skeleton Vinalhaven sightings report
October 18th, 2013
MCHT, VLT and skeletons
“Everybody hates snakes” – skeleton guy from Ninjago
Highlights – Raptors, Ducks, Owls, Sparrows, Fungus, Captain Pete’s report!, snake massacre, more
photo by Sylvia Reiss
photo by Sally
Acknowledgement – excuses for this “tame vsr” range from computer issues to good distractions and baseball playoffs. They are all valid.
Contact us with sightings – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiit trick – click on photos and they’ll fill your world, or at least your monitor.
Reminder – Around here Fall means hunting (among other things). I don’t know dates or anything, but I do know that it’s a beautiful time of the year to wear orange.
|Awesome pupa infestation|
photo by Niall Conlan
Infested pupa - So Niall Conlan sent in this great shot of a pupa. The orange, blue and yellow dots are remnant knobs from the larval state of a Cecropia Moth. This moth recently started "going thru the changes" (metamorphically speaking of course). At some point another critter laid their eggs in the pupa and apparently now the eggs have hatched and the larval are munching on the pupa.
|juvenile white-crowned sparrow|
photo by Sally
Birdies- The hawk watch that never ends…(9/28) Tip Toe Mtn - 26 broad winged hawk, 3 osprey , 8 turkey vulture, 2 kestrel, 2 sharp-shin, 1 red-tailed hawk, 3 eagle, 1 merlin, 1 gos hawk, 1 coopers hawk, 25 Mywa, 2 palmer warbler, 2 phoebe, 1 mallard, 1 surf scoter. John Drury up at Tip-toe while we were at Lane’s seeing 4 sharpie, 1 merlin, and 3 bald eagles. As anticipated, the hawk scene up at Tip-toe was way more (like way more) active than the hawkwatch at the southern end of the island. That particular day and in those conditions.
|peregrine on the hunt on Seal Island|
photo by John Drury
photo by John Drury
Shags and Gulls. Winter plumage Guillemonts, White winged Scoters and Surf Scoters. A couple of Gannets.
Also Ospreys twice.
Bonnaparts Gulls, Black Ducks and on Sunday Common Mergansers.
Beautiful weather too. "We're gonna pay for this"
|pipefish caught off greens|
photo by John drury
Pipefish caught out on greens. Comb jellies photographed as well. Peregrines at Seal Island!
|nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow|
Sparrows – Around here “fall” means “sparrows” (among other things) and some of our favorite haunts for sparrow searches are State Beach, Lane’s Beach (far end), and most roadsides (in the fall sparrows are often the birds bailing from the sides of the road you are barreling down). Sally’s yard also appears to be a spot for sparrows to visit as she sent in this great picture of a young, first fall White-crowned Sparrow on a rock (10/5). That was the same day I (the royal “I”) had a huge 6 sparrow day! 6 doesn’t sound like much, but that’s huge in my experience out here. Song, Savannah, White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrows. Some years sparrows line the roads and flutter fly as one drives by. Not the case this year so far in my experience, a fair amount of sparrows being seen nonetheless. We like sparrows.
Ducks – Around here “fall” means “ducks” (among other things) and we are starting to see waterfowl trickling in and trickling thru (story of my life). Gets you a little excited for the late fall and winter “sea duck” scene.
Folly Pond – (10/3) 15+ Wood Ducks (10+ Drakes), 10 Mallard, 4 Black Ducks, and a Bald Eagle (not a duck, but more of a duck-eater)…Wood Ducks, Mallards and Black Ducks have been consistent at Folly Pond since….
Hooded Mergansers are back! Seen at Pleasant River and Carver’s Pond (10+ on 10/14)…
|flicker eating mountain ash berries|
Seal Bay/Huber – (10/8) 23 Surf Scoter, lots of Black Guillemot, Bonaparte’s Gulls…and there continues to be all three in numbers. Soon Old-tailed Ducks, Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Merganser to join! Fall/Winter is when Seal Bay is at its (non-human) liveliest.
|there were a lot of|
robins in the basin
Other birds – Robins and Flickers. Basin (10/16) – While touching up some bridging the other day a large amount of activity was noted in the Mountain Ash long the Platform trail (you know that Mountain Ash). Estimates go with 60 Robins, 5 Flickers, and a handful of Cedar Waxwings between the Ash and the Winterberry. Seemed like a lot. Probably not many berries left now.
|found this mink den out on Pond Island.|
Owls – Great Horned – By this time I would assume it’s known that we (the collective vinalhaven “we”) have a lot of owls out here (they apparently like to cross water), many migrating thru, some overwintering and a bunch are breeders.
|found some dodder out|
|this snake was seen 1 mile away from the closest|
road. it was deemed safe
|instead of pictures of dead snakes we have included|
this photo of Leif's Guinea Pig- Brudder
What can be said about this whole massacre? Seems like snakes are doing good this year other than getting run over on the roads. It was not uncommon to have bike rides this fall with multiple living, dead or dying snakes spotted. One ride tallied 10 roadkill snakes (ran out of fingers). There seems to be way more roadkill snakes than in the last 10 falls past. Or at least there seems to be, should have been clicking off road kill all these years.
Maybe it’s just timing, we (the royal “we”) have been seeing more live snakes in the woods as well (one or two a day or so) which leads us to skeptically conclude that this has been a “good” year for snakes (as opposed to butterflies, for which this year pretty much “sucks”). That was a lot of words to say very little. Inefficient.
|there has been a nice burst|
of rosy russula lately
Fungus – Around here “fall” means “fungus” (among other things) and this fall is like all the rest “in those regards”, except a little different. Sure, we are finding all the Honey Mushrooms of our dreams, multiple patches on each trail. But recent moisture has resulted in a flush rush of Russulas (10/16 Basin Platform trail). Along with the Russulas has been a nice run of co-family members the Milkies (Lactarius or is it “the lactarii”). Anyway, it’s truly “Whatever gets you milking!!!” as milky fans, or “Lacto-heads”, say.
Irregular Earth Tongues are plenty at Huber and along the Basin Trails.
Corts (Cortinaceae, Cortinarius (I think)) are up, but not
as extensive as years past. Look for the rust colored (isn’t it cool that
“rusts” are fungus and they get to have a color named after them!) spore prints
showing up on “moss and other beings of that other kingdom that mostly makes
their own food!”…
(not a cort)
Thinking more about these fungus makes me wonder why this isn’t the Maine state mushroom? Shaggy Mane? It’s a no brainer…..
Time to post. Hope you have a nice weekend!!!!!!