Welcome to the Vinalhaven Sightings Report –
March 20th, 2014
March 20th, 2014
With the support of MCHT and VLT
This one goes out to Bill and his family.
Highlights – Snow Fleas!, Slime Molds, Singing tweeters, shrike, robins, jays, deer, molting, Carolina wren, Green-winged teal, otter stuff, mink dreams and much, much more.
|another reason to like crows.|
smiley face with a bill rub thru the snow
Tiit trick - cheap trick (on tour this summer!) - click on photos to enlarge
Side note and safety announcement – (3/19) - I have been on “mail key” probation for quite a few months now. Simply put, I am not responsible enough to be in charge of the mail key. 100% self-imposed & certainly 100% self induced, I lost it somewhere in the world. I figured it fell out of my pocket in my green car and would turn up eventually. When I have it I do fine getting the key to the post office, but I lose focus and track as the box opens.
|coming and going snow shoe hare|
I love these kind of tracks
Bottom line – there is a lot of ice on the trails at this posting. Take it slow if you head out. And it’s also a time to find stuff forgotten and buried under the snow. Coffee mugs are probably mine! Anyway….
|there are loads of deer on island|
photo by Niall Conlan
Sightings – PSA – Deer are seen often crossing in front of vehicles especially when vehicles are driving around the island. There’s a spraint load of deer out there – drive carefully! Thanks for the photos – Niall Conlan.
|mink coming at ya|
photo by Niall Conlan
Mink - Basin Falls – also from Niall Conlan – Niall spotted this chubby little tailless dude (Mink!) as it left the water and “went terra” instead of riding the falls. Note the white on the chin; mink seem to be on the rise these days “good winter to be a mink”. Fun shots.
|where's yer tail, dude?|
photo by Niall Conlan
Shrike at Lane’s continues….
Ali McCarthy reports a mink checking out the traditional otter spot from her window.
|sally's wren. and yes, she already has oranges out|
photo by Skin Hill sally
Skin Hill – Both Bob and Sally confirm that the Carolina Wren has spent so much time at the feeders – daily sightings essentially – that sally refers to it as “her’s”, or “my wren” if you picture her saying it. Anyway, what a cool
photo by skin hill sally
Green-winged Teal – Skin Hill sally nailed the Green-winged Teal (not literally) that’s overwintered in Carver’s Pond just behind the post office. Here are her action shots. Nice ones!
|putting the green-wing in teal|
photo by Sally Conway
And it’s spring – Warm days have these birds singing lately – Black-capped chickadees, Cardinals, Brown Creeper, Raven (is that really singing?), and Robins acting all up.
Woodpeckers in spring
– one of the best parts of the lengthening
of daylight associated with spring arriving is the hormones that are triggered in Woodpeckers and their resulting aggressive attitude to intruders.
Downys and Hairies all over the island are setting up territories, and now
woodpeckers that got along a week ago are essentially enemies today –and all
for the breeding (typical). And raising young. Yeah, I guess it makes sense. Anyway,
here’s a few moments from a male on male Downy WP skirmish I photographed at
Huber the other day, but typical of the woodpecker scene all over the island.
2 different non-vocal communications here between the two – tail-fanning and V-wing postures. Here’s what Stokes says about the V-wing in Bird Behavior II – the sequel.
“Wings are raised high above the back and tail is spread. Display may be for only a split second or held for several seconds. Bird may swing beneath a branch and do display upside down”
|we're looking at wolf-milk slime going on a year! |
in a little while - 6 months at least!
“…given in conflicts with other birds, an extreme threat, often preceding direct attack”
|spores still coming off this scrambled egg slime?|
It’s a big deal with birds, the bi-annual/annual replacement of feathers, for strength and flight, but also to let everyone know that you are feeling somewhat “randy” (spring) or not in the mood anymore (fall). Like getting caught in high school, there is no way to hide it.
You can't miss a ripe Green Heron's legs.
Loons and Guillemots are the most fun to watch from the ferry – long-tails soon enough too. Here’s a funky loon from Long Cove.
Otter scene – with the bitterly cold stretches even a behemoth like a full grown, 30 lb otter probably just slides across the icy snow conditions we had. Little sign of the fresh and new, but some old trails hung on for over a week.
tell little tales
of otters and their recent
“and all the chemicals in between” (Les Claypool)
|this spraints for you|
|this is the Hobbit otter house|
Went up to tip-toe and found this hobbit house otter den. Closer to the water than the den used last winter, it’s a safe quess that this is the home of the same otter from last year. Possibly this den was frozen over and the other is a back up. Seems like most otters have multiple accommodation options. The otter sprainted by the hobbit den regularly, anyway cool to find – den # 14.
Tracks – So it’s spring and we miss the snow already. Here are some mink, otter, raccoon, and snowshoe hare tracks and trails.
|snowshoe hare pair|
coming right at ya
|mink bounding along old harbor pond|
|another mink, shorter bounds|
|no drag marks but quick bounds|
|the Calderwood otter is still active|
|there was plenty of mink sign on|
|warm melting days bring out the snow fleas|
|snow flea close up. there are like a gagillion of them out there|
|raccoon latrines are not pretty places|
|Calderwood island great horned pellet|
found under the grandma oak
I think I see an Ewok in this bundle of fur
|All big oaks are grandma oaks|
I think because they look so huggable
sorry grandpa, its a grandma and
nana thing. nana oak.
|old tails are plentiful in the thorofare|
Ferry Ride – 3/12 – 15 Common Loon, 12 Bufflehead, 8 Red-breasted Mergs, 19 Surf Scoter, 22 Old-tails, 1 Bald Eagle….
And it’s time to post. Editing was an issue this issue as lack of ink cut an essential part of the process out completely. We mean well.
And Leif loves his legos,
And misses the snow as well – we had some fast sledding.