Category Archives: Nature Notes

17.35 | Nature Notes (Aug 27 – Sep 2)

Photo of Western Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper | Biddeford Pool, ME | 28 August 2017

Highlights of the Week

Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata), Boneset Thoroughwort (Eupatorium perfoliatum), and Common Ground-nut (Apios americana) flowering.

Throughout the week, I observed 19 species of shorebirds, including a continuing Western Sandpiper.

First of year birds included Little Gull (on my third and final day in Eastport), Cape May Warbler, and Tennessee Warbler.

Wild Edible of the Week

I drank three quarts of Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) leaf infusion.

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

Taste the fruit of a feral Apple tree.


Patreon button

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!

17.34 | Nature Notes (Aug 20-26)

Photo of Great Shearwater
Great Shearwater | Gulf of Maine | 21 Aug 2017

Highlights of the Week

I went on another deep sea fishing trip out of Kennebunk to Jeffreys Ledge; this time, while everyone else was catching (mainly) Pollock and Haddock, I was catching glimpses of seabirds, including a rare and total surprise South Polar Skua (Lifer!) who flew past our boat while we were at the ledge.

I experienced many small whirlpools (called piglets) and upwellings of the Old Sow whirlpool (said to be the largest in the Western Hemisphere) off Eastport in Passamaquoddy Bay. The action of the tides attracts a variety of birds including thousands of Bonaparte's Gulls.

Throughout the week, I observed 17 species of shorebirds, including 3 American Golden-Plovers (FOY), 4 Red Knots, 2+ Baird's Sandpipers (FOY), 1 Western Sandpiper (FOY), and 12+ Red-necked Phalaropes.

Wild Edible of the Week

I snacked on the hips of Beach Rose in both far downeast and southern Maine.

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

Look for Monarch butterflies in flower-filled meadows and gardens.


Patreon button

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!

17.33 | Nature Notes (Aug 13-19)

Photo of Northern Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush | Sanford, ME | 19 Aug 2017

Highlights of the Week

Throughout the week, I observed 19 species of shorebirds, including 5 Stilt Sandpipers, 2 continuing Hudsonian Godwits, and an unusual-in-August Dunlin.

I sampled the season's first ripe fruits of Black Cherry and Beach Rose.

On Thursday, I led two bird walks, one in Falmouth and one in Biddeford Pool. Each walk was highlighted by a tree-top Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Wild Edible of the Week

I snacked on the sweet, crunchy-seeded fruit of Dwarf Huckleberry.

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

Locate and observe an individual bee (or insect of your choice) for 5 minutes (or as long as the creature allows), noting three behavioral details.


Patreon button

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!

17.32 | 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.)


Patreon button

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!

17.31 | 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.


Patreon button

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!