Brought to you by the kind folks at MCHT and VLT.
Only the kind ones….
..Before the wind, before the snow…” - RHCP
Contact us – email@example.com . Send in photos, reports, stories and email addresses to add to the exclusive list of VSR fans.
Tiit trick – click the photos to make them bigger. Even the ones
Water bird talk – with John Drury – 7 pm Sunday, February 19th at the town office. Local bird legend John Drury will be talking seabirds and showing slides and no one knows the sea birds of mid-coast Maine like John. Not to be missed!
January 30th Celia Gentalen (my grandmom) & Feb 5th Tiit Gentalen (Dad) - miss you both
|me grabbing the deer by the horns|
photo by someone other than me (SOTM)
|checking out bones|
photo by SOTM
(2/7) was loaded with snow, as in snow falling on us as we were in the woods. the kids got to track each other, check out skulls and pellets and had a great time.
|apparently kid like to play games|
photo by SOTM
(2/8) was snow covered and warm, which led to wonderful tracks, tracking and (most of all) Snow Fleas galore!
|I was lucky enough to get to hang with Raymond|
photo by SOTM
|snow fleas hopping off my hand|
check out Finn! into it...
photo by SOTM
|snow flea discovery|
everyone into it - but look at Raymond's
whatsmore we sent the little ones home with a "owl pellet in a bag" to dissect at home, which some did and then shared their pellet findings with photos! super cool!
|Finn working on his pellet, complete with skull!|
Photo by Sarah Crossman, maybe?
|Ezra working on his pellet at home|
photo by Mae maybe?
|the wonderful Perspectives crew that make the magic happen|
Maddie, Luke, Kelly, Hillary, and Alice
snow flea video - watch 'em hop! -
|this was the visibility|
better than sun in the face!
(2/8) 4:30 from Vinalhaven – half a ride before it got dark… 17 Black Guillemot, 23 Common Loon, 21 Red-breasted Merganser, 14 Bufflehead, 14 Common Eider, 25 Surf Scoter, 4 Oldtail, Belted Kingfisher.
|Guillemot starting to go through |
The story here…is a nice one….. with the lengthening of daylight hours Black Guillemots are starting to molt, with one individual observed appearing to have completed molt – for all intents and purposes being completely black, lest the white wing patches. Belted Kingfisher hunting off the old pier off 31 Reach Road was classic. Otter slides at Lairey’s….too dark for photos unfortunately!
|not the best, but not the worst shot of a Barrow's Goldeneye|
|female Barrow's Goldeneye with the bright orange bill|
|red-breasted merganser doing a little feather maintenance|
|pair o' purple sandpipers|
|lane's was a bit slushy|
|do you recognize this poop bag? |
under a foot of snow at the moment I bet!
The mink trails cross the human network of trails at a handful of spots throughout the preserve and these can be very dependable for mink tracks a day or two after a snow.
My favorite Lane’s Island mink crossing cuts across the path that goes past the cemetery and then bends to the left and heads to a rocky beach that faces west and Greens Island. When you are heading on this path and you are almost to the beach below the sunset rock, the mink trail crosses the humanoid trail at the last set of spruces on your left. Are you with me (or against me)? The mink trail crosses the path and tucks under the spruce branch that is closest to the trail. With me? Go look! You’ll see tracks and a trail.
|my favorite mink crossing on Lane's|
heading into the bayberries!
13 winters in a row of documented mink crossings at this spot, confirmed with a quick visit to track on a clearing afternoon (12/8). Mink only live about 3 years average in the wild, so the potential of many generations of historic mink use of the trail system and crossing is almost a given. Historic mink. Lane’s - Where weasels rule!
|hard working Jamus Drury|
|wharf quarry road|
|when sea level rise meets sinking pier|
|what the heck?|
I wasn’t going to see what that meant, but when I turned in the general direction of the pollution control trail I saw a magical frozen land just off the trail and in the woods. It sang to me, it called to me like a toxic siren born of the wastelands of my birth – new jersey.
|this uncomfortable looking thing may be|
behind the pollution control
|saw this little dude on Clark Island|
Porcupines – the new white meat? – editor’s note – There are NO PORCUPINES on Vinalhaven. Thank you.
Found a couple more dens and got to see three individuals since the last VSR. They tug at the heart strings. Here’s some about porcupines from Elbroch, Rinehart “Behavior of North American Mammals” Peterson reference guide.
“Porcupines cannot throw or shoot their quills, but they are easily shed. Porcupines have a distinctive layer of musculature just below their skin with which they can raise and lower their quills and let them go when they come into contact with a predator”
vsr editor note – is “let them go” what they mean here? They go from porcupines consciously moving their quills up and down to letting them go in the same sentence, implying that it is a conscious decision of the porcupine to “let go” of their quills? Is that a tough decision to make or is it one where if they are ever touched at all they come out automatically? Anyway…
|snoozing under damage it inflicted/|
chewed off this tree
…Porcupines do an amazing job of eking out a loving on the least nutritional foods in some of the harshest climates in North America. Their lethargic lifestyle is the cost of feeding on low-quality browse and aids in energy conservation.”
There you have it.
|the yellowish hued snow in the middle of this picture|
is frozen fox pee. I learned it still smells if you stick your nose
right (about) into it.
Elbroch in “ Mammals tracks and sign” says “Red fox urine is renowned among trackers because of its incredibly pungent and powerful odor, similar to the odor of striped skunk spray. It is most powerful during the mating season, when I’ve encountered clouds of scent wafting through the forest. I’ve backtracked some of these scents with my nose and found scent posts up to 50 yards away”.
Now that is hardcore – back tracking with your nose. I have picked up the scent many times, but my nose is not so disciplined. Here’s some from Elbroch, Rinehart “Mammals Behavior” reference guide.
|which of the 12 accepted positions did this fox urinate from?|
looks like it was sitting (nothing wrong with that)
the tracks of the hid legs are along the left edge of photo
with the pee landing near the grass in the top right
The group at Erickson Field smelled a red fox scent post – not sure from how far – we failed to track it as my nose is not so disciplined. Have I mentioned that before?
|rough legged coasting away|
|rough legged hawk hovering|
|dug up my old Oakley jersey.|
even heard from an old friend from high
school who knew how much
I loved Charles Oakley
|bowing with Mr. Andrew|
|leif found a shell and a crab exoskeleton |
|exploring by Marshal Light|
|and then found a way to get them out of the ice|