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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


Sunday, August 17, 2014

fog has been featured as of late

Welcome to the vinalhaven sightings report –
August 15th, 2014

“underwritten” by MCHT & VLT

2014 summer weather voted "best" by entire VSR staff


Highlights – otter videos, minke whale, monarch caterpillars! wilson’s storm petrels, shorebirds, nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrow video, mushrooms, insects, other things….


lane's beach
Want to take a moment and send good thoughts and wishes to the family, friends and loved ones of Jeremy Philbrook at this very sad time.

chantrelle waxycap


Contact – comments, questions or to receive an email reminder whenever a new one of these things is posted. Good deal.


Tiit trick – click on the photos, makes them bigger (odd duck)


"odd duck" - hooded merganser female,
without a
photo by Rick Morgan
Upcoming events - Thursday morning bird walks - 2 left! 
this Thursday august ...... 8am
next Thursday august 30th 7am
meet at skoog
Sightings – Otter videos – Ali McCarthy sent in these videos of an otter chirping in Carver’s Pond (8/12). Ali did some research and she reports that young otters chirp incessantly when they are in search of their mother, which is what this one was doing. The chirping is also a location device used by mother otters to gather their young.  This otter seemed to be on the small side compared to what I've seen before”. And we all know that no one sees as many otters as Ali does. Anyway –  amazing footage at any angle! Thanks for sharing Ali!

couple bird shots sent in....eagle getting mobbed by a crow from Armbrust Hill by pete jaques 
"getting it's mob on" - American crow
tries to hassle a Bald Eagle
photo by Pete Jaques
and an alder flycatcher on Lane's Island from Rick Morgan
alder flycatcher
photo by Rick Morgan
thanks to everyone who sent in reports and photos this round! great stuff!
tidepool springtail
photo by Jeff Palmer

Insects – Phantom Crane fly…always a favorite –
phantom crane fly, hanging out

slaty skimmer
photo by Rick Morgan

and a few sent in from Rick Morgan – Slaty

Skimmer dragonfly and a White Admiral butterfly…nice shots rick!

white admiral
photo by Rick Morgan

photo by Sylvia Reiss
Monarchs – I’ve spanned 2 countries and 2 states, from the isles o’ shoals to the Campobello Isle, and 8 adult monarchs so far have I seen…Sylvia Reiss has not only seen her share of adults, but also seen the “next generation”, documented in these "monarch caterpillar activity" photos. So good to see!

Thanks for sharing Sylvia!
photo by Sylvia Reiss


destroying angel, respect required
Destroying Angel days are here again! – actually, they never left, "the fungus is in the ground and the groove is in the heart".  

If there is a single fungus in our woods that demands our respect it’s the Destroying Angel – so powerful, simply eating this one prime example would mean a certain unpleasant experience and an almost certain death. Here’s what Lincoff says about poisonous Amanitas…”A very few (destroying angels and death caps) are known to be deadly, but a single mushroom of one of these species can be lethal. Nearly all known mushroom fatalities in the world are caused by these few mushrooms.” And we’ve got one of them! Look for these white beauties in the woods!...

and a plant we like - Sea Lavender


"sphagnum in bloom"
sporophytes - "producing spores on stalked capsules"
On the water – out to Seal island and back- Patience and Tom Chamberlin sent in this report - 2 common murres, 2 razorbills, maybe 6 Wilson's storm petrels. (6 more than I saw last year).  at least 6 gannets.  Porpoises everywhere. Most we have ever seen in one outing.  nice rafts of puffins on the water close to Seal…Highlight was a minke whale charging straight at us headed out to sea. Passed us at close quarters 25 ft away. On a mission!

 Very cool – Bob Delsandro reports Wilson’ Storm Petrels off Hurricane.

big numbers of coral mushrooms on granite island

Big numbers around the island – Cedar Waxwings….Goldfinch…Great Blue Herons are increasing……and a hats off to all the Coral Mushrooms on Granite Island – the woods are loaded with ‘em!...common loons are just starting to show - 4 at state beach


black-bellied plovers
theme bird of state beach
Shorebirds – State Beach – continues to be the easiest spot on island to see shorebirds close up – even closer with a scope. Lots of Black-bellied and Semi-palmated Plovers, Semi-palmated and Least Sandpipers, Greater and lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, and single Ruddy Turnstone, Killdeer….
state beach videos ....
this semi-palmated plover scratches over its wing
there have been plenty of birds doing the ol' feather maintenance.
black-bellied plover, ruddy turnstone, and short-billed dowitcher
Several people reported that the Basin has had its share of shorebirds, and a visit (8/16) confirmed – 20+ Least Sandpiper, 30+ Black-bellied Plover, 12+ Greater Yellowlegs, 12+ Lesser Yellowlegs. Here’s a few videos…
can you pick out the lesser of the yellowlegs?


there've been a lot of shorebirds in the basin as of late....

Also seen wet at state beach (8/6) was a Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow with two young. I biffed royally (the royal “biff”) on getting photos of the adult even though it hung out in the open for (like) an eternity. But I did get this video of a young NStS in the recently used “fire pit” – classic habitat. The only way I could tell this was a NStS was that I watched the adult feed it. A lot of birds have looked damp lately, this one seemed pretty moist.

the basin -  lots of common tern with young, loads of shorebirds, osprey, eagles, great blue heron,


More on mushrooms…. some more amanitas
the blusher, fresh and pure
cleft-footed amanita
and salamander friend
"under the hump"

Amanita lesson from Leif….and a nice Suillus bolete

cleft foot and cap


painted bolete
painted bolete pores are very "easy on the eyes"
fungally speaking of course

and a marasmius growing off a spruce cone...

young cort, still with a "virgin" cortina
pair o' corts - full blown
growing "our" forests

"looking for the ring"
photo sent in by Jamus
and we wrap it all up with a welcome to Asa, a wonderful new addition to the humans scene...

and a congratulations to Dylan and Rebecca on a wonderful day and a wonderful life together....I do believe Leif was trying to see the ring at this point..