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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


Friday, May 5, 2017

eggs, baby, eggs

Welcome to
the Vinalhaven Sightings Report

May 5th , 2017

Supported a bunch by MCHT and VLT


spotted salamander
photo by Luke Milardo

That flamingo is from the butterfly conservatory in Key West, isn't it?”


Highlights – Spotted Salamanders and Egg masses!, birdies including ducks, crossbills, raptors,  warblers and a Veery, “Skua” back in the water, Fog and Rain, Red Crossbills, and udder stuff…


heck yeah I'm a greater yellowlegs

Business contact us:! Hey – send in reports of nature sightings and photos and share them with those who’d also like to see them
(make sense?). Contact us at . send us your email to get on the reminder list for when new posts are posted or just to say hi.


poop in a tree!

Congratulations – goes out to Kristen Lindquist on her correct identification of the Pink Flamingo (is Pink the right name?) as one of the flamingoes from the butterfly garden place in Key West, FLA! Congratulations Kristen on this huge achievement!


spotted salamander egg mass
Pelagic trips from Vinalhaven-  John Drury informs us that the Skua is back in the water and ready to take people for boat rides, bird watches and sunset cruises (not sure about that last one). So contact john and take a ride to see puffins, razorbills.See if the Tropicbird returns for yet another summer in the Gulf of Maine. 

It’s the best pelagic trip around! Click on for more information and to make reservations. Spots are filling up fast….

stoked on an old tail breeding plumage session
from my kayak. in the basin yesterday! (5/4)

Don’t forget to volunteer – contact me or Kerry – for more details about working on the trails.


Tiit Trick - click on the photos to make them jimungo.

corduroy, penny, salamander
photo by Luke Milardo

SightingsLuke Milardo sent in these great photos of a Spotted Salamander he found in the basement of the Homestead. Spotteds seem to work their way into island basements on a regular basis, common habitat for people to see them in

photo by Luke Milardo

return to the motherlode!

Anyway, these are great and then a few days later Luke - (thanks Luke)- and I went up to North Perry Creek (4/28) to scout out some territory for an upcoming vernal pool school program. We visited “the mother lode” pool, which from the photos clearly has a “Spraint-ton” of egg masses in it.

lot o' eggs

A firm egg mass count will be listed in the first “post-kids visit VSR” posted. The pool averages about 200 spotted salamander egg masses each year, in three or four large groups.

motherlode never disappoints. NEVER!

raccoon got its hands on some tasty
motherlode eggs

Luke and I explored several more wetlands on the preserve that I hadn’t searched in before and were delighted with the results…..lots of salamander egg masses, right where you’d expect to find them….

deep slow stream section

beautiful rack of roots here
pulling up nice for eggs
In deep, slow stream sections….


And (my favorite) - where uprooted trees open up holes in the moss where water can collect. I am not a big plant guy (just being honest) but here is a really good use of a plant’s existence – creating a nice, phat, phish phree zone where these blue beauties (eggs) can raise an embryo and eventually the pool nurtures young, salamander larvae – complete with gills. lets not get ahead of ourselves though


closer look at the egg masses

Anyway, it’s always fun to get turned around in a wetlands in search of egg masses!


Skua heading for the water
photo by John Drury

surf scoters in the basin (5/4)

On the water… John Drury took Skua out on a few trips recently…



4/28 red sea to wharf quarry - lots of ducks – Surf scoters mostly , a black scoter, 5 green winged teal at fiddlehead Is. Lots of Oldtails changing to darkhead males,  25 purple sandpiper on alligator ledge, ring-billed gull

three red crossbills from the basin
hard to tell if there is a juvy in themix wit h bad light
Out to Seal (5/4)3 species of Falcons – I would imagine Peregrine, Kestrel and
. And John closed out the scoters – Black, White-winged, and Surf Scoters. Always a good trip with the trifecta of Scoters…



John reports from Greens Island -   mating red crossbills (did he see that?), myrtle warblers singing, male Northern Harrier, American  Kestrel, Great Horned Owl roosting nearby
Dark-eyed junco, Brown creeper, purple finch, phoebe, wren, white throated and song sparrow, bufflehead, guillemots, loons, red breasted merganser.


can you see the woodcock? it can see you!
photo by John Drury

Also, john sent in this photo of the female American Woodcock camouflaging on the nest! Very cool.


Thanks for the reports John!


Old Harbor Pond – Jim Clayter reports an American Bittern rooting around on his end of the pond.

hot spraint! hot latrine!

Walt Day reports a green winged teal in his pond, as well as Great Horned Owls hooting from a distance.


thanks for sharing everybody

Also along the shores of Old Harbor Pond – new (for me) otter latrine, sizable and close to a long term active den and latrine. 

crab was for dinner

white anal gland goo!

dead deer

Lane’s (4/28) – searching for pellets I found but none, but I did see this deer…and I saw a Veery! (non rhyming poetry)


can you see the maggots in the nostril?

if you can't find the maggots you are in luck - here's a video with some maggot action...

still the same greater yellowlegs

Basin (5/3-4) – red-breasted merganser, oldtails (in breeding plumage), osprey, 7 greater yellowlegs, 5 least sandpiper, 1 lesser yellowlegs, winter wren,  brown creeper, golden-crowned kinglet, hermit thrush, Canada geese, mallard duck, red crossbill, chickadee, yellow-rumped warblers everywhere,

old tail man, looking good

his and hers old tails

last years wolfs milk slime at Huber yesterday

Huber (5/3) – 9 Spotted Salamander egg masses in trail side vernal pool.


State Beach (5/4) – 12 Greater Yellowlegs, 10 lesser Yellowlegs


wood duck at folly pond

Folly Pond – (5/4) – Wood duck, black-throated Green Warbler,


Pleasant River – (5/4) turkey vulture, great blue heron


Lawson’s Quarry (5/4) Belted Kingfisher


there were lots (15+) of these American Lady
butterflies at 31 Reach Road yesterday

31 Reach Road – Brown creeper, white-throated sparrow, song sparrow, ravens, Eastern Phoebe, American Lady and Red admiral Butterflies


Bike Ride “round the island” (5/4) Blue-headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet


2 razorbills and what looks like a thick-billed murre

on the 245 ferry out of Vinalhaven yesterday (5/4) there was pretty bad light for observing,
- here I go complaining again - but I felt lucky spotting these three just outside the harbor, before turning into the reach. they were hard to make out in binos, but from the photos it appears that there are two razorbill and a thick billed murre.

It was cool how close to the harbor they were. and then I took a nap.

butts up! - razorbill going for a dive

and here is what a razorbill butt looks like

red belted conk
and now for some random, and not so random shots.....leftovers

old harbor pond

orange jelly

cinnamon fern

skunk cabbage at its finest

another bag of poop

cedar pond creek

moments before this shot there was a vulture
ripping at the ribs. it was beautiful

towing barrels out of the basin

same sun as the other photos

blood root is up!
photo by Linnell Mather

this pipit was at the breakwater

Off island – pipit at the breakwater

wood frog eggs about to hatch
wood frog eggs hatch – 4/27 – Rockport, MCHT Erickson Field preserve. Checking on some local vernal pools. I came across some substantial wood frog egg mass zones, and they were hatching while I was there! Take a look at some of the photos –


all that green in the branches in the water is wood frog eggs


And even a video! wood frog tadpoles swimming by my boot


walking the breakwater

enjoying ranger rick magazine

Nice 75 degree bike ride to Port Clyde – (4/29) – Black and white, Black-throated Green, & Yellow-rumped warblers, Blue-headed Vireo, Broad winged Hawk, Wild Turkey, Ruffed Grouse, American Woodcock


leif breaks for cookies

reading up on minecraft

(5/5) – 90 Watts Ave in Tenants Harbor – Blue-headed Vireo, Ovenbird, Black-throated Green & Yellow-rumped warblers, Northern Parula.

enjoy! see you out there!