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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 20, 2016

velvety polypores never looked so good!
finely melted ice cream?
Welcome to the Vinalhaven Sightings Report – Sept 19th, 2016

Thanks to MCHT and VLT for their continued support...

...and to you the reader! the photo looker! the sightings sharer! whatever your role is thank you!

so pleasant

Highlights Monarch butterflies, shorebirds, raptors, seal bay paddle - which was a 5 gull and 5 shorebird species paddle. Can you guess them?  Bird walks, Wasps and more…..


Business - Contact us – – with comments, sightings, and photos or to get on the email reminder list!


Tiit Trick – click on the photos to have them fill your screen!

the mad pooper strikes again!


Sightings Bird walk (9/15) Lane’s and State Beach - Black-capped chickadee, American goldfinch, American redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Blue jay, Herring gull, Common crow, Raven, Gray catbird, Yellow-rumped warbler, Red-necked grebe, Common loon, Least sandpiper, Savannah sparrow, Song sparrow, Double-crested cormorant, Common eider, Osprey, Flicker – report by Rick Morgan –


Rick reports that the chickadees and yellowthroats were impressive at Lane’s and that 3 red-necked grebe and several eider were some of the best views at state beach. Thanks again rick!

Butterfly and Bee
photo by Karen Oakes
 Monarchs!!!!!!Linnell Mather report on 9/13 - “5 or 6 monarchs in my verbena bonariensis this weekend, along with more monarchs and 2 hummingbirds in my dahlias.  Other people also report seeing some over the past week or so.” And people are pretty stoked about it…

 ….as well they should be stoked. As many recall there were some lean years of monarch sightings just a few years back it seems. Nice to see them somewhat regular again.



And check out this awesome monarch and bee photo Karen Oakes of Island View Photography snapped! Awesome work and thanks for sharing!


Have you been seeing Monarchs this year? Let us know!

plenty of scat in seal bay. the place is lousy with it!

(9/6) Seal Bay/Winter Harbor Paddle - shorebird rocks – 45+ Black-bellied Plover, 10+ Semi-palmated plover, 6 short-billed dowitcher, and 1 least sandpiper. Belted Kingfisher, great blue heron, osprey, black guillemots and their incredibly annoying begging babies. Greater Yellowlegs, Merlin with shorebird in talons and then in belly. 5 gull paddle - Bonaparte’s and Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed gull and Ring-billed Gull. Shags everywhere.


What a great paddle it was that day. Shorebird rocks just off of Huber were a delight. Loaded with the high tide not a single bird flew off because of me. That went for the whole paddle except for the Great black-backed gull, but for some reason I didn’t mind making him fly.


black -bellied plovers

semi-palm plovers in front of glacial art

a couple of dowitchers thrown into the mix

black-bellied plover with the dark wingpits!


A Merlin falcon with shorebird in talons flyover was a bonus as well.

there is a merlin on the top of the tallest
spruce in this photo. it's macking on a

As was seeing the Bonaparte’s gulls. Seal bay is pretty regular with the Bonaparte’s and the Ring-billed.


Bonaparte's and laughing gull. "eye to eye"

lots of kingfishers today

Huber Pine
a little more than half way up there is a
thick, well needled branch coming out
towards you. directly to the right of that
there are two long, scarcely covered branches
sticking out to the right. right below where they
seem to make an "x" is a light colored thing
hanging. that is the raccoon.

Two of my favorite White Pine trees on island were also visible from seal bay. The one at Huber, where the lollipop trail first meets Seal Bay. So many folks have sat, stood and observed from that spot. There is a raccoon skin hanging in the tree as it has for about 4 years now. Take a close look at the photo and read the instructions underneath.


Penobscot pine, with eagle nest!


I can see an otter or two checking out this root scene

The second pine is the Bald Eagle nest on Penobscot or Long Island. Just a lovely twist of trunk, and a closer look shows the toll the tree is taking on the lower trunk and roots. The exposed roots have a good look to them – seems like a place an otter might mark or spend the night in! Should be noted that most trees along the shore look like places an otter should spend the night!

there are two flickers in this tree

Bonaparte's subtle beauty

bunch of bonies

Here is the otter latrine/potential den on the north side of Hen Island. Looks like there has been a lot of traffic coming out of the water and up that nook. next time!  

adult loon


(9/15) Ferry RidesLoons, bald eagle, osprey, guillemots


On the roads – lots of caterpillars, Monarch and White Admiral butterflies.
folly pond with eagle

Ruth's sink snake

High MountainBald eagle flyby, 3 raven fly by, ring-necked snake in sink, 2 Harbor seals chillin’ on the rocks.



Folly Pond – 12+ Wood Duck, Bald Eagle, black duck, greater yellowlegs, belted kingfisher

folly pond bald ealge

some of the dozen semi-palmated sandpipers at carrying place

Carrying Place Bridge – 12 semi-palmated sandpiper, belted kingfisher


State Beach – 6 least sandpiper, osprey.


four at  play

Fox Rocks parking lot pond - (9/15) - had a few minutes so I checked out the little pond by the parking area. lots of damselfly mating and a few green frogs...


nice wasp action lately....

American Pelecinid Wasp
(Pelecinus polyturator)

(9/6) - 31 Reach Road - Pelecinid Wasps always demand attention if for no other reason than their somewhat scary looking abdomens.

no threat to us, but beetles on the other hand....

"females probe soil for the grubs of May beetles (Phyllophaga anxia and P. futilis); they lay 1 egg on each grub. the hatching wasp larvae burrow into their hosts to feed internally, killing them" - National wildlife Federation field guide to insects and spiders of north America. Evans, Arthur

there were about 8 f these Pelecinid wasps around the yard that day. no males were seen, but to my knowledge I have never seen a male pelecinid wasp. Here's more from Arthur Evans...

"male extremely rare in North America, and reproduction may be by parthenogenesis". in other words - sorry dude, you are not needed here!

very cool. and then I found this home on the official Vinalhaven MCHT shed!

this structure was built by a rowdy group of Bald-faced Hornets (Dolichovespula maculate) which are a type of Vespid Wasp, in the family Vespidae

bald faced hornet

here's what Arthur Evans has to say about them...

"these wasps are related to yellow jackets and are not true hornets...usually building their football-shaped paper wasp nests low in trees or in shrubs. By summer a nest will contain 100-400 wasps. Adults prey on other yellow jackets and flies and also eat nectar and sap. They will readily sting to defend themselves or their nest"

so there you have it. a little more about the some of the buzzy stuff in the neighborhoods these days...

Fungal photo gallery…..


thin maze polypore ventral
thin maze polypore dorsal

ramaria of some sorts

golden thread cordyceps!
they attack false truffles!

that same old indian pipe patch we've been
photo documenting all summer!
Huber – Indian pipes and dog poop bags

you can tell me someone put that there
to get on the way back but just forgot
but I don't have to believe you

wild turkeys couldn't drag me away
mainland stuff - can't help but mention that after a year we (the royal "we") have gotten to know St. George better and now have fallen into a groove with a few choice/favorite bike rides and strolls. one bike ride in particular you ( the royal "you") could feel things clicking and all you can do is ride on an observe. I saw my first st. George moose (no photo), otter sign, broad-winged hawk, turkeys, eagles, osprey, amanita was one of those outings where you see a pileated woodpecker and its not even a top 5 highlight of the day! (do we rank highlights of the day?).


Anyway, it was cool and its become a favorite, easy mellow evening ride now. thought you'd want to know!

also on the mainland - while leading a mushroom walk at MCHT's Erickson Field Preserve in Rockport we came across another poop bag!

broad-wingeds are everywhere
on the mainland
more poop
here, i'll come out and say it - what is up with dog owners? we have now documented poop bags everywhere we have gone this summer but California and I think that's because dogs aren't allowed to poop there.

come on dog owners (yes I am lumping all of you together) - get your scat together! there. I am done. until next time!

I found this snake skin in my kayak.
in early august I found a garter snake living in there.
it was a pain to get it out.
leif and other findings stuff

mink live under this pier

leif's lego building has really taken off...

legos are awesome, the worlds
are fluid and in motion at all times
and an action leap!!!

mom - leif says thanks for the jumping couch!
see you out there!