All posts by Josh

17.46 | Nature Notes (Nov 12-18)

Photo of American Mink
American Mink | Biddeford, ME | 17 Nov 2017

Highlights of the Week

The first snow of the season fell Monday night into Tuesday.

I spied an American Mink at the edge of a salt marsh in Biddeford.

I twitched two male Hooded Warblers and an "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler (a Lifer subspecies) at Southpoint Sanctuary in Biddeford Pool.

Wild Edible of the Week

I ate a wild fruit jello made with Feathery False Solomon's-seal fruit juice (from fruits I foraged/froze in September) and a bit of raw honey.

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

Visit a patch of clubmoss (family Lycopodiaceae, e.g., Flat-branched Tree-clubmoss and Southern Ground-cedar).


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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!

Mammals: Harbor Seal

Photo of Harbor Seals

Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) live along the New England coast where they eat a variety of fish, shellfish, and other marine life. They often bask in small groups on rock ledges or sandbars, especially at low tide, and I've been pleasantly surprised a number of times to see the head of one pop into view while scanning for seabirds in a coastal harbor or off a sandy or rocky beach. Looking into their dark eyes always gives me pause.

Harbor Seals are more common and quite a bit smaller than the longer-nosed Gray Seals. One way to tell the two apart is by looking at their nostrils. Gray Seals have spaced out nostrils, whereas the nostrils of Harbor Seals are close together and form a v-shape. To learn more about Harbor Seals, visit Animal Diversity Web.

Photo of Harbor Seal

17.45 | Nature Notes (Nov 5-11)

Photo of frost-edged Fucus
Frosty Seaweed | Biddeford, ME | 11 Nov 2017

Highlights of the Week

A hard freeze Wednesday into Thursday marked the start of the white season here in southern Maine.

Strong northwest winds on Friday stripped many leaves from Oak trees.

On Saturday afternoon in Biddeford Pool, I spotted a Snowy Owl at South Point and an Eastern Coyote crossing Mile Stretch Road.

Wild Edible of the Week

I foraged Ocean Quahogs -- sold as Mahogany Clams -- from a local seafood counter.

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

Find an evergreen fern (e.g., Christmas Fern, Evergreen Wood Fern, Rock Polypody).


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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: American Golden-Plover

Photo of American Golden-Plover

American Golden-Plovers are uncommon late-summer and fall migrants in New England. Adults are first to arrive, typically in August and September, as they work their way south from their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra. Juveniles follow and may linger in our area into November but, like their parents, have much more flying to do to reach their wintering grounds in southern South America. In the spring, most return to the Arctic by way of central North America.

American Golden-Plovers forage beside Black-bellied Plovers at coastal beaches and mudflats, and beside Pectoral Sandpipers, Killdeer, and less common Buff-breasted and Baird's Sandpipers, at golf courses, grassy airfields, and flooded farm fields.

To learn more about these long-distance migrants, visit All About Birds. To view the following images in full-size, click here.