17.37 | Nature Notes (Sep 10-16)

Highlights of the Week

Blood Milkwort (Polygala sanguinea), Narrow-leaved Gentian (Gentiana linearis), White Goldenrod (Solidago bicolor), Flax-leaved Stiff-aster, and Tall White-aster (Doellingeria umbellatus) flowering.

I spent a day out at sea on a fishing boat. Thick fog made spotting birds nearly impossible (I was able to identify just a handful of Wilson's Storm-Petrels, a few Northern Gannets, and small numbers of Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls), so I turned my efforts to catching fish for my freezer. I took home over ten pounds of Pollock fillets.

I saw a very rare and extremely long-tailed Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Lifer!) discovered by another birder at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.

Wild Edible of the Week

I gathered fruits of Black Elderberry, some of which Jenny processed into a nutritious wild fruit jello.

Nature Challenge of the Week (for you, the reader)

Sit under an Oak (Quercus sp.) tree (with a hat on) and observe for 20+ minutes.


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My work as a naturalist is supported by readers like you. To pledge a monthly contribution of $1 or more, please visit Patreon. Thank you!

Shorebirds: Stilt Sandpiper

Photo of Stilt Sandpiper (Sept)

Stilt Sandpipers are uncommon, mid-sized shorebirds who nest in the tundra of northern Canada and Alaska. In New England, they're most often observed in July, August, and September, as they stop over to forage in shallow, standing water at both coastal and inland sites.

Stilt Sandpipers often feed by probing their bills into mud in sewing-machine-like fashion, much like dowitchers, or picking food off the surface like Lesser Yellowlegs. But whereas dowitchers have long, straight bills, and Lesser Yellowlegs have short, straight bills, Stilt Sandpipers have medium-length bills with an obvious droop, much like Dunlin.

To learn more about these waders with yellow-green legs, visit All About Birds. To view the following images in full-size, click here.

17.36 | Nature Notes (Sep 3-9)

Photo of Rainbow over Stage Island
Rainbow over Stage Island | Biddeford, ME | 9 Sep 2017

Highlights of the Week

Throughout the week, I observed 19 species of shorebirds including 1 Buff-breasted Sandpiper (FOY), 1 Dunlin, 2 Western Sandpipers, 6 Stilt Sandpipers, and 33 Red Knots.

I observed the following ducks at the Sanford Lagoons: Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, and Hooded Merganser.

Much needed rain fueled a flush of Fly Agaric mushrooms under Eastern White Pines near my home.

Wild Edible of the Week

I sampled ripe and not-quite-ripe fruits from several feral Apple trees.

Nature Challenge of the Week (for you, the reader)

Embark on a 30-minute (or longer) mushroom mission in a wooded location. How many different kinds can you find?


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My work as a naturalist is supported by readers like you. To pledge a monthly contribution of $1 or more, please visit Patreon. Thank you!

Patreon Update #3

Photo of Chicory

Dear Readers,

I'm honored that you make space in your day to read my blog. I'm also grateful to everyone who has supported me by responding to my writings with friendly comments, personal stories, quiz guesses, nature questions, and mystery photos -- keep them coming! My hope is that in paying attention to my work, you'll be inspired to get outside and discover the mysteries right outside your door.

If you've benefited from my sharing my words and photographs, or if you've enjoyed attending my walks and workshops, you might like to know that there is another way to offer your support. By contributing $1 or more per month on Patreon, you can help to ensure that I can continue to do my work of connecting people with the natural world. Sixteen awesome people have stepped up to become patrons so far, and today I ask:

Would you kindly consider joining my community of supporters by becoming a patron?

In addition to exclusive access to 15 (and counting) bonus nature quizzes, patrons are also eligible to receive handmade photo cards as a thank you. You can learn more about Patreon and see all of the available rewards by visiting my Patreon page.

Wildly,
Josh