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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, September 9, 2018

old harbor pond
photo by Marion Grogan

Welcome to the Vinalhaven Sightings Report – September 8, 2018

Brought to you with the support of MCHT and VLT…and You! Thanks for reading!

Opening photo – Old Harbor Pond Geese – by Munch Grogan


Highlights – Minke Whale, Praying Mantis, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Dragonflies, Mushrooms, mixed species flocks, Monarch stuff, epic Pelagic boat ride



Business: contact is the email address to send nature photos, sightings and comments to! Your family comes second, but not really, because the VSR and its readers are like an extended family for you! So share with your family – by keeping us posted on cool things you are seeing! Let us learn from you…..
there are only 2 razorbills in this picture
not sure how reflections like this happen



Tiit trick – click on the photos to have them fill your screen and thusly, your mind!

welcome back! little wing!

PSA - there are a lot of photos in this one. can't figure out how to cull them back - hope you enjoy!

Thanks to those who've shared!

praying mantis
photo by Colleen Conlan

Sightings – where to begin… Ferry Rides – while Common Loon numbers are starting to pick up – 15 from the ferry the other day – the sighting of Minke Whale(s) from the ferry on multiple days is pretty exciting. The 4:30 on 9/6 to Rockland is the more recent sighting I know of. Keep your eyes peeled!


praying mantis!
Photo by Colleen Conlan

Colleen Conlan sent in these photos of a Praying Mantis that Jim Conlan found! Always a treat to come across, Praying Mantis sightings can be several years apart if not longer on island – even Colleen hadn't seen any for a few years! Nice work!

young Yellow-crowned Night-heron

Lane’s Island – (9/5) evening – American Woodcock flyby… (9/6) Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Greater Yellowlegs, Belted Kingfisher


yellow-crowned Night-heron

Bird walks – (9/6) Common crow, Gray catbird, Black capped chickadee, Amer robin, Amer goldfinch, Flicker, RB nuthatch, Blue jay, Golden crowned kinglet, Mourning dove, DC cormorant, Semipalmated plover, Least sandpiper, Black duck, Common eider, Herring gull, Black bellied plover (heard), Greater yellowlegs….sounds like a good morning at Armbrust Hill and State Beach.

greater yellowlegs


Mixed Species Flock - Reach Road – (8/31) Eastern Wood pee-wee, White Throated Sparrow, American Redstart, Black-capped Chickadee, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Northern Parula. Red-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, ruby-throated hummingbird.

young male American redstart


downy woodpecker
note the spots on the white tail feathers

Seal Bay – (8/31) Brown Creeper, Red Crossbill, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Greater Yellowlegs, Osprey, Song Sparrow, Bald Eagle


Mushrooms – (8/31) Red-belted Conk, Tinder Conk, Dye-makers Polypore, Cecillae Grisette,  Yellow Patches, red mouthed bolete, chrome footed bolete, blusher, scaber stalk

male ruby meadowhawk

Tapioca and Scrambled Egg Slime


Armbrust Hill – (8/31) Ruby Meadowhawks were busy around the pond on this afternoon and I was able to cross paths with adults in different aspects of adult life and mating.

female ruby meadowhawk

male ruby meadowhawk applying it's "spermy goo"
onto its abdomen. dragonfly mating is different

and them the magical wheel. note the female extends her
abdomen to touch where the male had previously placed his goo.

Twelve-spotted Skimmers were around as well.


spotted spreadwing

And late season Spotted Spreadwing damselflies


greater shearwater


(9/5) Aboard the Skua – heading out to 11 mile ridge, south east of Matinicus Rock. The conditions were pretty much perfect. We went past Seal, Matinicus Rock, and Wooden Ball and out into the Atlantic Puffins, Razorbill, greater, sooty and cory’s shearwater, northern gannet, red and red-necked phalarope, lesser black backed, greater black-backed, herring gulls. Plus a shy minke whale, tons of harbor seals, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

lesser black backed gull - note the yellow feet!


red phalarope






sooty shearwater with Matinicus Rock

red-necked phalarope
cory's shearwater

common tern on classic campfire habitat

northern gannet youngster

And a session with around 30 Atlantic white-sided Dolphins in perfect conditions for reflections



monarch migrating over western Penobscot bay
from the ferry!

And let’s not forget those Monarchs and the year they are having. These shots are from St George School where at least a dozen Monarch chrysalii hung to develop.



After 6 hours of watching “the dark chrysalis”, I was finally able to snap a few photos of this female monarch first moments “out of the chrysalis”. While adjusting to get a better grip she unfortunately fell (with a big ‘ol thump) and with her wings being deflated and all, I by-passed my standard “don’t interact with the animals” rule and helped her find a nice piece of bark to pump up her wings from.


It was cool.

Some good limited edition foods - apple pie oreos?

union fair ferris wheel

kicking butt at galaga

not bragging, but two years in a row with
the high score on space invaders!
500 tickets baby!

and some good times wrapping up the summer with Leif!

new favorite store

See you all out there!