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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


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Welcome to the Vinalhaven Sightings Report – June 1st, 2018

With the support of VLT, MCHT and readers like you! Thanks!


Highlights – Beaver on the beach (and at the tidewater!), harbor seals with pups, woodpecker nest, flowers, winter wren session, robin nests, warblers, and so much more….

robin's egg blue


Business – contact us – send in your photos, your sightings, and your videos of beaver swimming in the ocean – whatever! As long as it’s somewhat (loosely) nature based we’ll gladly take your photos and reports and “spread the love” so to speak. is the place to send all that/those as well as email addresses of those looking to be added to the “VSR posting announcement list” or “VSRPAL”! Very exclusive list!


Tiit Trick – click on the photos to jumbo size them. Simple as that! Simon says “click”!

beaver on the beach!
photo by Sam Rosen

SightingsBeaver in the creekSteve, Sam, Emma (Rosens), Alice and Molly (I think, my bad if wrong name or if someone was missed!) were doing a beach cleanup out at Pocus Point when Steve found a “beaver in the Rosa rugosa”. Here are some shots of the encounter.

beaver at pocus point
photo by Sam Rosen

beaver on the rocks!
photo by Sam Rosen


And some videos….


Beavers in salt water sound funny? (“if you think round is funny” – Raising Arizona). “They got to get out here somehow!”  Someone once said, and beaver show up on many if not most islands along the coast of Maine at one time or another. Seeing beaver on Damariscove Island during a Purple Sandpiper survey with John Drury years back was a particular beaver experience that sticks out in my mind. Miles from nowhere and with a complete lack of trees, and there’s a beaver and a lodge and a tail slapping, acknowledging our presence.  They seem to do fine in salt water in other words.


Sometimes its young dispersing, sometimes is elders getting the boot – pretty much sums up the conversation Steve and I had about beavers in general and this particular beaver. Full grown and healthy if not a little pooched from swimming from wherever it came from, Steve mentioned that his research indicated that under certain circumstances older beaver will be asked/forced/neglected/harassed until they kindly leave the area they have known their entire adult life (maybe). Such circumstances might be connected with population density, change in habitat or resources, or change in group dynamics (out with the old, drain the swamp!) to name a few.



Best of luck to this one wherever it is heading. I hear Matinicus has trees this time of year!


beaver at the tidewater
photo by Paul Taylor
Update – June 1st – most likely the same beaver was spotted on the rocks below the Tidewater Hotel! A hotel guest snapped this shot of the rascal checking out the harbor, maybe sizing up which boat looks the most like a tree. Anyway, hope this one finds a home, or maybe it’s cool with being on its own. I don’t know, you talk to it.

 Thanks to the Tidewater and the Rosen clan for sharing these exciting sightings!

dead buck
photo by Kerry Hardy
Dead deer – as opposed to pictures of a live mammal, VLT steward Kerry Hardy sent these photos of a dead buck, White-tailed Deer. We like pictures like this, in fact with love them! So never hesitate to send in shots of dead stuff whatever its state of decay may be! Our standards lie between none at all and completely open! However you look at it sending in pictures of dead stuff is always a win-win!

pup getting a good hold of mom
from the ferry

Harbor Sealsfrom the ferry and in the basin – more seal pups have been popping out left and right around the island. They only stay with their moms for a month or so, so make sure you check them out on the ledges and rocks from the ferry, in the basin, seal bay or wherever. The pups are the little ones. Here are some photos

hold on tight! not too tight!
nursing pup gets splashed - from the ferry
mother and pup harbor seals in the basin
harbor seal and pup on the rocks! in the Basin

Basin – (5/25) -Hermit thrush, winter wren, golden-crowned kinglet, black throated green warbler, American redstart, northern parula, hairy woodpecker (nest) harbor seals with pups.


winter wren
This winter wren came from literally under the ground where a tree fell trailside many years ago. The roots (and rootlets I guess) opened up space around themselves in the ground when the tree they are attached to fell and the trunk repositioned itself. Over time the space increased until there was enough room for a winter wren to make a nest in a gap. The access to this newly opened space runs along  the trail, and over time “skylights” in the ground (some call them “holes” ) opened up along this 4-5 foot long opening (does this make sense at all?).

As I was walking with my chainsaw on my shoulder my peripheral picked up this wren bailing on the nest space as it flew up the “skylights” into the gap. Anyway, it was cool. Trust me! And then it hung out for a couple of shots. It seemed like he was trying to figure out what I am, story of my life! Anyway, this winter wren was a highlight


Tidepoolin’-  Lane’s Island (5/21) – I took a group of 1st graders from the Montessori School in Camden on a field trip and we caught a beautiful day with a great low tide. Young lobster, sea urchins, gunnel eels, red rock crab and loads of green crabs kept us busy


oh great, the next generation of
green crabs
American lobster with a tiny crusher claw


Armbrust Hill – (5/21) – after tidepooling we did a little pond scooping up on the hill and had a blast with green frogs, red-spotted newts, dragonfly nymphs and plenty of spotted salamander eggs. Good times!  


hello newt


Robin’s nests – these are from the neighborhood in st George, but robin nests status around the island is probably in a similar state. We are watching two nests, but keeping closer tabs on the one in the yard – so convenient. Spotted it through the “clubhouse” window.



and so much more growing to do! welcome to your first week out of the egg baby robins!

here's a shot of a Hairy Woodpecker nest I found while I was walking to the ferry. lots of nesting activity these days!

golden heather

and a bunch of flower pictures for those of you who are plant inclined.

golden heather in the basin is lovely

golden heather

blueberries have been looking especially nice these days

shadbush, juneberry, service berry - whatever you call it
its looking good these days

Huber is still the place to see lady slippers

there are lots on the trail, and a bunch right around
the parking lot

skunk cabbage should be Maine's
state flower.

this busy dude is busy making blueberries for us!
and getting pollen for itself. thanks pollinators!

fern fields are growing along

triple star flower

...and now for something completely different....

....what's sadder than a grown bald man taking pictures and laughing out loud at Oreo packages in Hannafords? the fact that someone thought these were good ideas for cookies. I am old school for sure, and remember getting angry when Nabisco put out double stuff for the first time ("they are ruining Oreos!), but this is insane. Pina Colada? red flags for whomever came up with this one.

And of course a bunch of Leif.


Fishing is going really well – “I love fishing!” – real quote from Leif.


And there is often some sick cat tail action – cat tail fights are the best. Really.

Hey - its been great seeing folks and we'll see you out there!