basin clean-up - saturday april 14th, 9am. skoog park to carpool. could use a truck or two. bring gloves. we'll have bags and water. mcht and vlt.
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on these events.
Sightings – alright – lots of stuff reported, lets get on with it…
|red-bellied, but for how long?|
photo by Jessica Farrelly
Around the island – Skin Hill – Red-bellied Woodpecker activity – (3/24) Jessica Farrelly sent in a report of the local Red-bellied Woodpecker excavating a hole in a rotting tree just outside her house….(3/28) – the cavity is big enough for the Red-bellied to enter, and apparently too tempting for starlings to pass on! Jesscia caught some action on video, which is unfortunately too long to put on this report, where the Red-bellied is being attacked by Starlings, presumedly over the cavity it had dug. The usurping of cavities is a classic activity where you let someone with a better work ethic and carpentry skills build a fine cavity and just when they are putting on the finishing touches you come in and bully them until they hand it over. The red-bellied has not been seen in the area since (as far as has been reported), but didn’t have a mate/partner/whatever you want to call it as far as we know, so nesting probably wasn’t going to be beyond “asexual budding”,which is tricky for a woodpecker, or bird of any sort.
anyway, Red-bellieds apparently have been nesting further and further north over the years and are known breeders thru southern maine. first nesting behavior i've heard observed on vinalhaven, very cool sighting.
|skin hill red-bellied at cavity opening|
photo by Jessica Farrelly
Otter sighting – 2 otter sightings this round! - (3/14) – Ferry Ride 10:30 boat! Captain “I’ve seen everything possible from the boat and then some” Pete got the sighting of a lifetime (his lifetime that would be) while heading thru the narrows on the way to Rockland. For the first time Captain Pete slapped his eyes on a River Otter (and yes they are still called river otters even in the ocean out here) heading out from Lairey’s towards Leadbetter that fateful late morning. As the story goes, the otter spied the ferry coming, thought better of the situation and high tailed it back to Lairey’s, climbing up and out of the water in the same spot where slides and sign have been seen from the ferry for years. So peter not only got to see his first otter from the ferry, but also got to feel dominant as he was the captain of a boat that scared an otter. Very cool sighting! (3/24) Crockett cove – Donny Ames and his sidekick Elijah, watched an otter crossing crockett river road (going towards the cove- east to west) close to the beginning by the north haven road. Always great to see an otter!
|this otter is running full speed thru the woods|
|Add caption - bunny|
|fresh scat from island crossing otter|
|this exoskeleton took a ride thru |
the entire digestive system of an otter
i went to where the otter trail comes out of the basin and found some new scat there (no VSR is complete until otter poop is included!), presumedly dropped/plopped when the otter started heading towards Otter pond the night it ran past the camera. The cool thing about this particular otter scat was the full crab exoskeleton that had travelled the otter’s entire digestive system! What a terrific ride for the crab! other than the death part at the beginning!
|recently fledged red crossbill|
photo by john drury
|Adult Red Crossbill that fed the youngster|
|life is pretty blurry on those salamander nights|
|bailey and rebecca enjoying |
a spotted salamander
photo - meg day
|lydia dug the salamanders|
photo - meg day
|leify got in on the action too|
photo - meg day
|it was warmer in the spathe|
|some spathes are twisty|
We here at the VSR are big fans of mimicry, and we especially appreciate any reference to dung mimicry, or decaying beast mimicry – (some have said the spathe patterns are in to resemble meat). Anytime a plant or fungus is trying to attract insects that are attracted to some of the grossest habitats in the woods you have an open book to nastiness. It is deemed (but us who are deemers) significant that a plant can attract pollinators by mixing the visibility of a decaying raccoon, with the aroma of a pile of poo, in creating a flowering mechanism that is so beautifully manipulated and manipulative in all pattern, colors and shape, that it is Skunk Cabbage. “This means something”- and it quickly becomes “still and smell life with spathe”. Can you smell them now? That is the point of flowering things - to look and smell interesting, not necessarily good. maybe even to taste. Very cool to pick the nasties. Fetid adder’s tongue anybody? Not you jones.
|some spathe are yellow/pale. |
finding one is good luck.
finding two is bad luck
Let me get this straight - a Spider mimicking skunk cabbage flowers in an effort to catch insects that the skunk cabbage flower contraption is trying to lure inside its spathe by mimicking dung and rotting things. No way to make this any cooler of a situation. the mimicker (spider) is mimicking the original mimicker (the skunk cabbage – smell and look) to eat what the original mimicker was trying to lure (bees and flies) for pollination (helping with the reproduction – the middle man so to speak). fool me once.
|early group of skunk cabbage leaves|
|these are all on the same rhizome |
most recent photo - 3/31 fox rocks
All quotes above are from Johnny Eastman, who we thank immensely for jamming your books with information. Once again the book is “the book of swamp and bog” the author is john Eastman, we highly recommend it all of our readers who can read.
|this is yellow fuzz cone slime, |
first personal slime mold of 2012 (fpsm '12)
found while searching for the perfect skunk cabbage
we apologize for not recognizing you more
|the water felt warm at state beach last week|