Sunday, September 16, 2018

Osprey juvenile

Click on the photo to see more detail.
I was done boating and had stowed my camera, unplugged the electric motor, and was paddling in to the dock when a juvenile osprey flew overhead toward the north. It landed on a tree and then flew back overhead to a tree on the south shore. I think the bird was taunting me. Well, not to be out done, I paddled toward his perching tree and proceeded to photograph him. What a gorgeous bird!
One distinguishing feature is that juvenile ospreys have pale tips on their feathers.

Who knew??? Grey Squirrels can swim!

While boating on Caesar Pond, I zoomed in on what I thought was a beaver swimming across the pond. In fact, it turned out to be a grey squirrel! 
He was swimming at high speed to reach the eastern shore. I can only surmise that maybe he escaped the clutches of a bird of prey and fell into the water.

Sun and cloud reflections on Caesar Pond

See the propeller of the boat to show that I am shooting onto the pond surface.
The sun was shining hot and bright this morning, and I was happy when a tiny bit of cloud cover obscured it for a short time. I snapped a few photos of its reflection on the water.

It is safest to photograph reflections of the sun so as not to blind yourself while looking through the view finder.
The sun was starting to emerge from behind the clouds
Just that little bit of cloud cover, for a few moments, cooled the air to a comfortable temperature.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

What a Hoot!

What do you do when you can't sleep? Some people read books, some people clean house, and some people go outdoors at 3am to record audio of barred owls. I belong in the 3rd category of people! 

I have been hearing barred owls in the distance over the past several nights, and got lucky to be awake when they flew to the woods behind our house. I have had the audio recorder at the ready, so I was able to grab it and race outdoors when the hooting started. There are also tons of wood frogs and some crickets in the background. I think you'll enjoy it and find it rather relaxing;-) 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Great Blue

The wing feathers have subtle color variations. Click on the picture to see the wings in more detail.
Beautiful winged creature...the great blue heron... I love looking at the feathers of birds in flight. Their wingtips bend to catch air as they glide from one destination to the next.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Just a few pond and bog plants in late August

The plants on Caesar Pond bloom at various times, from spring through autumn. As I puttered around the pond, I took a few photos of the plants currently in flower and fruit on the little islands, as well as submerged plants.
Algae (unknown species by me) under the water.
See the air bubbles at the surface created by the algae?
My first glance around was under the water. There is algae galore. In fact, the water is quite murky due to all the algae throughout the pond.
Wild-celery, Vallisneria americana
Also, on the surface of the water was wild-celery whose long, ribbonlike leaves cover wide sections of the pond where the water is a bit shallower, often 5 feet deep or less. This plant is a very popular food source for ducks who feed on the rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) of the plant.
Water smartweed, Polygonum sp.
I was also intrigued by water smartweed which I saw in only one location on the pond. It is currently found at the border of the north cove, in shallow water. Muskrats and ducks enjoy feeding on smartweed.
Water smartweed
Here is more of a close-up of the plant. The seed heads are a good food source for birds.
Pipewort, aka button rods, Eriocaulon septangulare (with a 7-sided, leafless flower stalk)
I also find pipewort to be one of my favorite water loving plants. It can grow near the edges of the sphagnum islands, with all of its plant matter above the water surface.
Pipewort, with another common name of Hatpins
Or, pipewort can grow with its basal leaves below water and just its stalks visible above the water surface. I just love the little white, button-like flowers at the tips of the stems.
Fragrant Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata
I often see pipeworts growing near water lilies in shallow water. This fragrant water lily is host to lots of insects that feed on the stems, leaves, and flowers. I think these plants attract more insects than any others on the pond. Bees, beetles, flies, and tiny thrips swarm these plants for their pollen.
They host insects that feed on them, lay eggs on them, and pollinate them.
Common Bladderwort, Utricularia vulgaris (I believe)
Oooohhhh...ooohhh...Check out the bladderwort in the water to the left of the water lily. More carnivorous than insectivorous, these plants inhabit ponds, swamps, and marshes and feed on lots of tiny zooplankton. Someday, I need to net a mass and photograph it in my aquarium to get a better view.
Arrowhead, Sagittaria latifolia
As I made my way toward an island, I was pleased to find Arrowhead plants in flower. Do you see the somewhat arrow-shaped leaves on either side of the group of white flowers?
Arrowhead flowers
Here is a close-up of the flowers. These plants are found in shallow waters where they are fed upon by water snails, ducks, beavers, muskrats, and lots of insects. Their tubers can be cooked like potatoes, although some people are highly allergic when even touching the plant.
Along the edges of the sphagnum islands, I spied lots of cranberries that will soon be ready for picking! This one looks ripe to me;-)
Here is an unripe cranberry. Note the small leaves that grow alternately on the stems. These plants grow in highly acidic environments.
Cotton-grass, Eriophorum spp.
Growing on the sphagnum islands, often forming tussocks (mounded clumps) where their "feet" don't get as wet, are the cotton-grasses. They are sedges with cottony tufts of seed-heads. 
I find it relaxing to watch them swaying in the breeze. They are a sign that autumn is near.
And, lastly, the asters, which are one of the last of the flowers to bloom as we head into autumn, are adding a bit of cheeriness to the islands. This one is growing on a log that is partially submerged near the shore. It's neighbors are bog gentian, sundew, and sedges, and some plants unknown to me.

I declare this day to be "Painted Turtle Day!"

It was a hot, sunshiny Sunday...just the kind of day that painted turtles would be out in droves, sunning themselves on logs.
It seemed as though everywhere I paddled along the southwestern shore, I would see a turtle or two on a log.
Gee, I wanted to stretch out and sun myself as well! The turtles looked so happy, so peaceful.
Of late, I have been worried that the number of turtles was decreasing, but in reality, I just get out boating too early for them to appear. They love the heat of the day, while I love the early morning coolness...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Medicinal Plant thought extinct found in Bowdoin, Maine

Photo grab from the article - Maine Natural Areas Program - BDN Aug. 21, 2018, news article.
Sooo cool! The Unicorn Root, aka White Colic-Root, Aletris farinosa, thought extinct, has reappeared in a field in Bowdoin! Look for it in  "open, moist, sand ground associated with tallgrass prairie habitats and damp, sandy meadows with little or no topsoil."
Photo grab from the article - Maine Natural Areas Program - BDN Aug. 21, 2018, news article.
That is so exciting. But, this rare plant's location will remain a secret as it should be. Check out this Bangor Daily News article about it. Thanks for alerting me to this news, Shannon!