Category Archives: Nature Notes

17.32 | Nature Notes (Aug 6-12)

Photo of Blue Dasher
Blue Dasher | Biddeford, ME | 9 Aug 2017

Highlights of the Week

I recorded the calls of two juvenile Bald Eagles at Pleasant Point Park in Buxton.

A juvenile Cooper's Hawk was vocal near my home throughout the week.

In two brief visits to a local cemetery pond, I saw the following types of dragonflies: Slaty Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Dot-tailed Whiteface, Widow Skimmer, Calico Pennant, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Common Whitetail, and Eastern Pondhawk.

Wild Edible of the Week

I snacked on sweet Blackberries (Rubus sp.).

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

Spend 30+ minutes observing shorebirds. (If you don't live near the ocean, visit inland locations with exposed mud, like pond or river edges, or try scanning plowed or grassy farm fields.)


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17.31 | Nature Notes (Jul 30 – Aug 5)

Photo of Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull | Biddeford, ME | 4 Aug 2017

Highlights of the Week

The fruits of Velvet-leaved Blueberry and Black Huckleberry are ripe.

During a deep sea fishing trip out of Kennebunk to Jeffreys Ledge, I caught Cod, Cusk, and Pollock. Additionally, I observed 2 Ocean Sunfish, several Sharks (not sure which kinds), ~1000 Wilson's Storm-Petrels, and several other pelagic bird species including my FOY Great Shearwater, Leach's Storm-Petrel*, and Pomarine Jaeger.

Other FOY birds included Hudsonian Godwit*, Cory's Shearwater, and a rare Black-necked Stilt* (Lifer!).

*first located by another birder and subsequently seen by me

Wild Edible of the Week

I ate some of the Pollock (so good!) from my fishing trip (see above) and put several pounds in my freezer.

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

Locate and identify 3 types of ferns using a field guide or an online tool like Go Botany's fern key.


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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!

17.30 | Nature Notes (Jul 23-29)

Photo of Little Egret (left) and Snowy Egrets
Little Egret (left) and Snowy Egrets | Falmouth, ME | 25 Jul 2017

Highlights of the Week

After a few failed attempts to find the rare Little Egret (who has been sighted off-and-on in the Portland area since 11 July), I finally locked eyes on the bird roosting with 9 Snowy Egrets off the north meadow at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.

I saw and heard juvenile Common and Roseate Terns begging their parents for fish and saw a migrant Caspian Tern, at Hills Beach in Biddeford.

I observed many boreal forest birds, including White-winged and Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, and Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatcher during a 2-day, 1-night trip to Piscataquis County.

Wild Edible of the Week

I snacked on various wild Blueberries in both southern and central Maine.

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

Locate 2 damselfly species at a freshwater wetland.


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17.29 | Nature Notes (Jul 16-22)

Photo of Red-billed Tropicbird
Red-billed Tropicbird | Seal Island NWR, ME | 21 Jul 2017

Highlights of the Week

Butter-and-eggs Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris), Chicory (Cichorium intybus), Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum), and Narrow-leaved Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) flowering.

FOY birds included Wilson's Storm-Petrel (seen from land in Biddeford Pool and from a boat at Seal Island NWR), a rare Long-billed Dowitcher (found by a friend) feeding in a puddle at a farm in Clinton, the very rare Red-billed Tropicbird (back for a 13th summer in Maine), Red-necked Phalarope, Sooty Shearwater, and Manx Shearwater.

I saw a life subspecies: a white morph Great Blue Heron (sometimes called "Great White Heron") who has been fishing at Little Pond in Stoneham for weeks.

Wild Edible of the Week

I visited a productive patch of Black Raspberries more than once this week to get my annual fix of deliciousness. The fruits are among my favorite wild foods!

Moon Challenge Report

I completed my Movement Moon challenge by walking 3+ miles or biking 5+ miles, on 6 out of 7 days.

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

Observe some fish, in fresh, brackish, or salt water, large or small, schooling or solo, perhaps even in the bill or talons of a bird.


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17.28 | Nature Notes (Jul 9-15)

Photo of Roseate Tern
Roseate Tern | Biddeford, ME | 15 Jul 2017

Highlights of the Week

Rose Pogonia, White-fringed Bog-orchid, and Tawny Cottonsedge are flowering at the Saco Heath.

Common Lowbush Blueberry, Red Raspberry, and Shadbush have ripe fruit.

Shorebird diversity and overall numbers are on the rise, as birds return from their breeding grounds to our north. Migrant shorebirds this week included: Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plover, Whimbrel (FOY), Sanderling, Least and Semipalmated Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Wild Edible of the Week

I enjoyed the sweet-tart fruits of Hairy-stemmed Gooseberry.

Moon Challenge Report

I met my Movement Moon goal this week by walking 3+ miles or biking 5+ miles, on 5 out of 7 days.

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

Find and sketch two types of mushrooms: one with gills and one with pores.


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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!