Category Archives: Nature Notes

17.52 | Nature Notes (Dec 24-31)

Photo of Dovekie
Dovekie | Biddeford Pool, ME | 31 Dec 2017

Highlights of the Week

On Christmas Eve, I photographed a Red-shouldered Hawk (uncommon in winter) and a continuing rare Lark Sparrow at different spots in Biddeford.

At 2:01pm on New Year's Eve, I received word of a Dovekie visible from East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford. Jenny and I dressed for the frigid temps and arrived in time to see the bird right off the exposed point. A lifer for Jenny and only my second ever, this bird marked the 317th (and final) species for my 2017 Maine Big Year! (As a super bonus, I was able to get photos, which means only 4 Life Birds remain on my to-be-photographed list.)

Lastly, as the sun was setting on 2018, Jenny and I observed a flock of ~40 Snow Buntings at Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport. Among them was a single Lapland Longspur.

Wild Edible of the Week

Previously purchased, wild-harvested Atlantic Dulse was my final wild food of the year. I toasted a few batches in a stainless steel skillet and enjoyed these crisp sea-salty snacks as is and sprinkled on salads.

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

Show gratitude for/to the natural world!


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17.51 | Nature Notes (Dec 17-23)

Photo of Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover | Biddeford, ME | 20 Dec 2017

Highlights of the Week

On Wednesday, a lone Black-bellied Plover was with a flock of Dunlin near the Basket Island Causeway at Hills Beach in Biddeford.

While heading to Portland on Thursday, I glimpsed a late American Kestrel hover-hunting alongside I-295 in South Portland.

A drake Barrow's Goldeneye is back in his usual spot below the Route 1 dam on the Saco River between Biddeford and Saco.

Wild Edible of the Week

I enjoyed Autumn-olive jello that Jenny made with fruits we foraged (and froze) back in September.

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

During a snow storm, find a quiet place outside to sit and listen to falling flakes. (If there's no snow, substitute rain or wind.)


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17.50 | Nature Notes (Dec 10-16)

Photo of Winterberry
Winterberry (Ilex sp.) | Kennebunkport, ME | 15 Dec 2017

Highlights of the Week

I twitched a Lark Sparrow who has been visiting a feeder in Biddeford for at least a couple of weeks.

In less than an hour, I saw two roadside adult Cooper's Hawks: one on an antenna frame in South Portland, and one in a deciduous tree in Biddeford.

A Western Conifer Seed Bug spent some time in my bedroom midweek.

Wild Edible of the Week

I made tea and seasoned a pot roast with dried leaves of Small Bayberry that I gathered during the green season.

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

Locate and observe a Dark-eyed Junco.


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17.49 | Nature Notes (Dec 3-9)

Photo of Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl | Biddeford Pool, ME | 3 Dec 2017

Highlights of the Week

Jenny and I saw a Snowy Owl hunting alertly from rooftops along Mile Stretch Road in Biddeford Pool.

At the Saco Heath, countless reddish-brown leafy clumps of Leatherleaf are ready for winter.

Our first significant snow (~6") fell on the second half of Saturday.

Wild Edible of the Week

Prior to dinner most days, I enjoyed a bitter cup of Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) leaf tea, often mixed with leaves of Stinging Nettle and Lemon-balm (Melissa officinalis), all of which were purchased dried.

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

Sketch the winter form of a familiar herbaceous plant (e.g., Common Mullein, Common Burdock, Common St. John’s-wort).


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17.48 | Nature Notes (Nov 26 – Dec 2)

Photo of Long-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher | Biddeford, ME | 28 Nov 2017

Highlights of the Week

On Tuesday, I observed a Long-billed Dowitcher, a White-rumped Sandpiper, and 3 Red Knots along the Basket Island Causeway.

On Friday, I photographed a Killdeer, a Wilson's Snipe, and a Dickcissel continuing at a horse farm in Kennebunkport.

And several days this week, I noticed Striped Skunk tracks in the sand at Hills Beach in Biddeford.

Wild Edible of the Week

I gathered and ate wild Cranberries from a patch that Jenny and I stumbled upon in late September.

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

Observe the sky for 30 minutes before/during/after sunset.


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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!