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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, September 30, 2014

the only good juniper is crispy juniper

Welcome to the Vinalhaven sightings report
October 1st, 2014.

Thanks to MCHT and VLT

“We love those parasitic wasps” – Linnell Mather


crispy juniper

Highlights – Birdies, Cool caterpillars, Cool birds, Dry woods and few mushrooms, Slime Molds, and a really cool hot fire.


Send us your sightings! – Or just contact us –


the mushroom slide show and walk will be somewhere
behind the great cormorants, to the left of the big hill in the distance
Mushroom slideshow and walk – this Friday/Saturday – October 3rd at 7:00pm and the 4th at 9am– with the Coastal Mountain Land Trust! Go to their website for directions and more info – if you are in the Camden area – should be a good show!

Promethea Moth caterpillar
photo by Hannah Lazzaro

Sightings – Couple of cool caterpillar shots were sent in recently. Hannah Lazzaro found this Promethea Moth caterpillar (9/18) - thanks for sending the photo!, and then Colleen Conlan found this sphinx moth caterpillar (possibly a Fawn Sphinx (Sphinx kalmia)) at Skoog Park.


parasitic wasp eggs on a sphinx moth caterpillar
photo by Linnell and Colleen
The cool thing about this shot (thank you Colleen and Linnell!) – other than it being a cool shot itself – are the reddish cocoons standing up on the caterpillar - towards the tail end if you can tell which end is which. Anyway, those are parasitic wasp cocoons and the dark marks on the caterpillar’s back are “exit holes” where the larvae emerged after “macking on that caterpillar's insides”. Where are the missing larvae?


Araneus diadematus
from the window
“The caterpillar may live for several more days, but it stops feeding and gradually shrinks and dries up (we all do)”. – “T & S of Insects” – Eiseman and Charney.

Super cute however you look at it – and dead by now. Death by wasp larvae. Not the way to go.

nice snapper!
photo by Jim Clayter

Talk about super cute- take a look at the next generation of snappin’ turtle for old harbor pond! Jim Clayter got this picture of this somewhat small snapper crossin’ the road and headin’ to the pond! See you there! Jim also reports Cedar Waxwings in his yard, first he’s seen in 12 years or so! You know it’s a good waxwing year when Jim sees ‘em at his house!

lotta moltin' going on
nice to see the white on the eider heads again

Also at Old Harbor PondRick Morgan spotted an Otter (lucky stiff!) (9/20) swimming near the Mack’s Pond inflow (outflow?). Good Spot! Rick also reports a Veery from up near Tip-toe Mtn. Cool bird.
Blackpoll Warbler - photo by John Drury
John Drury has sent in some songbird photos from Greens. Recent highlights he passes along are Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Philadelphia Vireo and lots of warblers no doubt and owls to boot! Thanks John!

Great Horned
photo by John Drury


parula showin' olive back
photo by John Drury
ruby-throated hummingbird
photo by John Drury
our favorite view of a Black-and-white Warbler
photo by John Drury
blue-headed Vireo with a mouth full
photo by John Drury
Philadelphia Vireo
photo by John Drury
Lists(9/21) – (State Beach) Solitary Sandpiper, 2 Lesser and 6 Greater Yellowlegs,  Semi-palmated Plover, 4 Red-necked Grebe, 4 Loons, Great Blue Heron, Song Sparrow, lots of Black Guillemots…(Lane’s) – Great Blue Heron (GBH), Belted Kingfisher, Song Sparrow, Parula, Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler

red-eyed vireo
photo by John Drury

poison pax look so innocent when they are little
North Haven trip – (9/22) – Common Loon, Black Guillemot, Turkey Vulture (seen flying across the thorofare), Kestrel, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Swainson’s Thrush, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Flickers, Spotted Sandpiper…Destroying Angel, Poison Pax, Citron Amanita, Orange Jelly…Raccoon, Otter, Mink, and Deer sign.

poison pax underside

2 Carrion Beetle species day on North Haven, including this Tomentose Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus tomententosus) with a bunch of mites hitchin’ a ride. It felt like they were agitating the beetles, with all its rubbin’ and wing opening and stuff. But that’s hard to say that the agitation was going on for sure.


jack-in-the-pulpit berries are non-tormentose
Quick note on the word “tormentose”. Maybe it’s thrown around your house often, but I had to look this up and here’s what we found…. On wiki (“that’s good enough me”).


Tomentose are plant hairs that are flattened and matted.[1] The Latin word meaning 'cushion stuffing,' tomentum, is used to describe a woolly coating formed by the 'tomentose' hairs.[1]


Just check out that velvety thorax covering on that Carrion Beetle (family Silphidae). “Resembles bumblebee”. The other carrion beetle was the classic American Carrion Beetle (Necrophila americana) which is a yearly sight. Good eating fellas!

the brown area is where the
otters roll

(9/24) paddle to Leadbetter – 13 Common Loon, lots of Guillemots, Great Blue Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Ovenbird, Blackpoll, Black and white, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped (tons!) Warblers, Redstart, Brown Creeper, Juncos, Phoebe, Blue-headed Vireo. Great Horned Owl Pellet, green snake pooppin’.  Hefty amounts of Otter spraint and sign, Citron Amanita, Yellow patches, “shriveled” Pholiota sp., Gem-studded Puffball, Common Laccaria, Emetic and Fragile Russula, Poison Pax.


this otter spraint spelled "C 9".
someday I will find out why this is important

this green snake was cute at first...



...and then it pooped on me - musked too.
and it stunk! not sure I want to know what
that white stuff was.
sometimes wolk's milk slime is pink
(9/25) Armbrust Hill – 6 Greater Yellowlegs, 2 Black-bellied Plover, Catbird, Flicker, Blue Jay.


Lane’s Island – Black-capped Chickadee, Blackpoll (several), Parula, “like a gagillion” Yellow-rumped Warblers, Philadelphia Vireo.
wolf's milk is sometimes orangish


many headed slime - needed little moisture to get going
Huber – Black and white warbler, Black-capped chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, 10 Surf Scoter, 15 Red-breasted Merganser, Red-breasted Nuthatch. Destroying Angel, Brick Tops, Slimes- Wolf’s milk, Tapioca, and many headed.
Brick tops at huber

cramp or carbon balls are fun to say

fresh birch polypore
an old friend

damn planes


(9/26) Calderwood paddle and Burn. 2 Peregrine Falcons were seen flying along the smoke – wonder if chaos helps the peregrine hunt?
Aliesha Black - ranger in charge - happily getting things going

line of fire

spruce also burn
awesome day
portrait of a bald man watching a fire
photo by a guy named Tom
(9/27) Lane’s – Blackpoll, Black and white, Yellow rumped (like a gagillion) warblers, Red Start, Cedar Waxwing, Phoebe, Song Sparrow, Goldfinch, Black-capped chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Great Blue heron,


gonna get you sapsuckah!

Armbrust Hill – loads of Yellow-rumpeds, many Red-eyed Vireo, Palm Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Greater Yellowlegs, Black-bellied Plover, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Swainson’s Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, American Robins – three woodpecker trip to Armbrust – Sapsucker, Hairy and Flicker

(9/28) Armbrust hill – flicker, Robins, Blackpoll and Golden-crowned Kinglets

Lane’s - Yellow-rumpeds galore! Peregrine. (It was too hot that day)


the male one has the big tympanum/eardrum thing
Good Times froggin’Leif and I took advantage of the warm weekend and caught a few “keepers” at the pond by the Fox Rocks parking area. (9/28). I caught the female green frog and Leif caught the male. His first net to the bucket catch!
the male has the yellow throat



the happy boy has the smile
“Males generally have eardrums larger than their eyes, and yellow throats…female green frogs usually have white throats and eardrums the same size or smaller than their eyes” – lil’ Tommy Tyning – “Stokes guide to Amphibians and Reptiles”.


baiting chickadees =
problem chickadees
good times - we'll see you out there!