Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Squid Egg Mass

Squid Egg Mass - Photo by Kathy County
One of my colleagues, Kathy, and her children, found many egg masses on Old Orchard Beach, over the weekend. I know that I've got some photography to do, if there are still more egg masses to see! (The mating seasons are very short in the ocean...) Next weekend's low tides at Popham Beach are: Saturday 7:08 am, Sunday 7:45 am, Monday 8:22 am. 

I believe we have Northern Shortfin Squid and Longfin Inshore Squid off the coast of Maine, but I don't know who laid these.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Just a bit of rain in the barrel

Roof runoff falling into a rain barren during a light rain shower.
Gee, what were you doing at 2:15 am? Catching some zzzzz's? Me too, except that I was awakened by some tiny hydrometeors hitting the roof. 

I jumped out of bed to check an empty rain barrel, to see if it was positioned optimally for water capture. I found that, even with this gentle rain shower, some water was making its way from the roof to the barrel, but not enough. So, I went down and scooted the barrel toward the house just a few inches. We caught about 8 gallons of roof runoff, which is better than nothing. By the way, the barrel holds 55 gallons. 

We use this water primarily for a few select garden flowers/shrubs and the blueberry plants that have ceased producing berries. We don't use it on vegetables or fruits because of salmonella bacteria from all the bird poop on the roof.
Hydrometeor - Meteorology  Written By: The Editors of Encyclop√¶dia Britannica
Hydrometeor, any water or ice particles that have formed in the atmosphere or at the Earth’s surface as a result of condensation or sublimation. Water or ice particles blown from the ground into the atmosphere are also classed as hydrometeors. Some well-known hydrometeors are clouds, fog, rain, snow, hail, dew, rime, glaze, blowing snow, and blowing spray. 
“Hydrometeor.” The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/hydrometeor, 2016. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Campobello Vacations - Welcome to Lubec and Campobello

Top Left: Most recent Welcome to Lubec sign with Marathon info.
Middle Left: Welcome to Lubec sign from 2013.
Upper Right: Border Inspection - Make sure you have your passport!
Bottom: FDR Bridge with US Flag and Canadian Flag.
We have vacationed on Campobello Island, New Brunswick twice; once in 2013 and once in 2016. The 2013 trip was in June, and we went for 6 days, firstly for our own vacation, and secondly to support our friends, Amie and Benji, as they ran the first Annual Bay of Fundy International Marathon. The 2016 trip was in August, and was for 3 days. This blog post is an overview/combination of the two trips, which I will organize by the places we visited, both in New Brunswick and in Lubec.

Lubec and Campobello are both very proud to be co-hosts to the Bay of Fundy International Marathon. As you can see above, the Lubec welcome sign now has a marathon plackard atop it, advertising the event. (Click on the photo set for a larger view.)

Campobello Vacations - An Island Chalet

Upper Left: Old signage
Upper Right: New sign that will be erected soon.
Bottom: Far house - residence of Rob and Diane / Then cabin # 5 and
nearest cabin # 4. We have stayed in both of them. 
Our favorite place to stay on Campobello (the only place we've ever stayed there) is An Island Chalet. Rob and Diane Lahey run the business and are very good hosts. They have five cabins, and we have stayed in both Cabins 4 & 5. The cabins are all identical inside. When we visited in 2013, we shared the cabin with our good friends, Amie and Benji Durden (who came to run the marathon.) There is a loft with a queen sized bed upstairs, and two twins downstairs.
The views from the cabins are great as they look out onto a small bay. The map shows the distance from the border checkpoint, just over the bridge, to the cabins.
I read one review of the cabins where someone mentioned that they saw a whale offshore!
And, we can watch the 25 foot tide change as well!
There are lovely sunrises to be seen from the cabin, and many are in fog.
We see some gorgeous sunsets from the cabins as well!

Campobello Vacations - Mulholland Point Lighthouse

One of the reasons that we enjoy staying at An Island Chalet, is that it is a short walk to both the Mulholland Point Lighthouse and the Visitor Information Center (aka Adventure Center.)
We love photographing Mulholland Point Lighthouse at sunrise and sunset.
Middle photo: Amie Durden at the lighthouse in 2013.
Each time we have stayed on the island, we have taken at least one daily walk to the Mulholland Point Lighthouse. It is fun to capture the lighthouse with dramatic clouds behind it, at both sunrise and sunset.
Views from Mulholland Point Lighthouse.
Lubec is just across the channel (the middle of which is the border
between the United States and Canada)
There are good views of Lubec (it is gorgeous at sunrise), and seals (both harbor and gray) frollick in the waters nearby.
Top: Low Tide  and  Bottom: High Tide
It is also from Mulholland Point Lighthouse that we have seen some great examples of the tide change. We are continually amazed at the ingenuity of fisherfolk as they engineer wharfs and piers to withstand the effects of water.

Campobello Vacations - Roosevelt Campobello International Park-Visitor Center to Upper Duck

Drew is famous for his early morning walks. While on vacation, he is usually out on the trails by sunrise and walks between 4-6 miles while I sleep in. Drew often begins his walks on the trails leading from the Visitor Information Center, which is located directly across Route 774 from Narrows Rd. where our cabins are located.
Deep cove at sunrise.
His first view of the water is at Deep Cove.
Cranberry Point
His first stop is Cranberry Point. On this trip, Drew saw Range Markers in various places. Range Markers tell fishermen where they are as far as the border between Canada and the United States is concerned.
Fox Farm Trail views
Drew then takes the Fox Farm Trail to Upper Duck Pond (mind you this is coastal and is salt water.) He has taken some lovely early morning photos of Lubec across the channel, as well as the Lubec Channel Light warning of caution as boats make passage up the channel.
Upper Duck Pond views

Campobello Vacations - Quoddy Head State Park and Eagle Hill Bog

The Lubec and Campobello areas each have their own gorgeous bogs with excellent boardwalks throughout. We visited both the Quoddy Head State Park (in Lubec), and the Eagle Hill Bog (in Campobello.) In 2013, we visited the bogs in June, and in 2016, we visited the bogs in August. As you can imagine, the bog plants were in different stages of their life cycles during the visits. Oh yes, these bogs are made of peat moss at their base. The mosses builds up in extremely wet areas over thousands of years and support a myriad of plants that can survive in harsh conditions. This link goes to a great information guide: U.S. Geologic Survey of the Bogs of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.
Located in Lubec, Maine
Quoddy Head State Park has a "coastal plateau bog (also known as a heath) with subarctic and arctic plants rarely seen south of Canada." To get to the bog, we walk past the West Quoddy Lighthouse, then along a coastal trail that overlooks Quoddy Channel (which runs between Lubec and Campobello.) The views are gorgeous!
The rocks on the State Park shore are a mixture of sedimentary rocks like shale, conglomerate, glacial sand and cobbles, as well as metamorphic rocks and volcanic rocks. You can read some of the geologic history from the Maine Geologic Survey.
Left column - Yellow Blue-Bead Lily flowers and berries
Right Column - Bunchberry flowers and berries
On our June visit, we saw plants in bloom, such as Bunchberry and Yellow Blue-Bead Lily. By August, the flowers have gone, leaving berries behind! (Thanks to Josh Fecteau for giving me the proper I.D.)
 With it's location on the coast, the State Park forested area receives a lot of moisture from fog. We saw evidence of the result of this in the tremendous variety of lichens, moss, and fungi covering the ground and the trees as we walked the trails toward the bog. The Quoddy State Park has a fairly short boardwalk, but more extensive trails leading to and from the bog.
Purple Pitcher plants were in full bloom in June.
There was peat moss that was just beginning to green up.
And there were all sorts of trees, like black spruce and larch mixed
throughout the landscape.
By the way, surrounding the pitcher plant flower, you see the dark green leaves of Cloudberry (aka Bakeapple), Rubus chamaemorus. This is an alpine plant that is found in the bog due to the continually damp conditions. Its berries (which were not present yet) are used to make jam.
The Eagle Hill Bog, in Campobello, has a much more extensive boardwalk, part of which connects to an overlook toward Glensevern Lake and Herring Cove.
We saw these flowering plants in June. Labrador Tea (white), American Larch (red pine cone shaped flower), and Bog American Laurel (pink.) By the way, the Larch flowers were still present in August and eventually turn into the pine cones. (Again, thanks to Josh Fecteau for giving me the proper I.D. of the Laurel)
In August, the plants are quickly maturing before autumn weather sets in. Summers are short in Downeast Maine and on Campobello. Bog cranberries are maturing, Labrador Tea plants are pulling in tannins and darkening on the underside of their leaves, Purple Pitcher Plant flowers are now mature fruits with seeds, spiders are taking advantage of surfaces all over the bog to build their webs, and the sphagnum moss is changing from bright green to rich russet colors.

Campobello Vacations - Herring Cove

We love the beach. Mind you, not to sunbathe on, but to explore. One of our favorite beaches is at Herring Cove. It is on the east side of Campobello and is composed of many sizes of sediment, from sand, to cobbles, to boulders. 

We like watching the waves as they break onshore. They travel the length of the curve of the beach, which is so different from the normal crashing of waves straight onto the shore.
The sound of the waves breaking on the cobble beach is mesmerizing, and I could listen to it all day long...By the way, if you don't have a passport or a US passport card, you can find a similar experience at Jasper Beach in Machiasport, Maine. The beach has a similar shape and is also made of a gazillion cobbles. The Maine Geologic Survey has an nice informational paper on the origin of the cobbles and the geology of Jasper Beach. It is also one of our favorite beaches to visit in Maine;-)
Seaweed gets pushed onto the beach by waves.
Ulva (Sea Lettuce) is bright green in color.
The dark reddish brown seaweed around the rock crab shell is Knotted Wrack.
The light tan seaweed with air bladders is Bladderwrack (Fucus Vesiculosus).
The feather is from one of the many gulls on the beach.
We love walking along this 1.42 mile-long beach in search of cobble treasures. We saw several varieties of seaweed, a few crab shells and claws, lots of gulls, and of course, cobbles galore. Drew walked the entire length of the beach, whereas I only managed one mile before my knees threatened to give way, and it was a slow and painful walk back to the parking area.
Beaches can tell you a lot about the geology of an area, and Herring Cove is a treasure-trove of information. The cobbles are so varied and show evidence of eons of sedimentation to form sedimentary rocks, glacial activity in the formation of the beach, heat and pressure to form metamorphic rocks, and ancient volcanism to form igneous rocks. This link goes to a great Geologic Tour of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.
The backside of the Herring Cove beach borders Lake Glensevern. This lake was a great place for socialization and tea time, for the Roosevelts and others, many moons ago. Any old structures are long gone.
After passing Lake Glensevern, you can reach the far end of the cove which is called Con Robinson's Point. The beach material consists of sand, silt, cobbles and boulders.
And, on the way back to the parking area, we stopped about half way down the beach to admire the remnants of an old wharf, that stretched way out into the water a long time ago.
And, lastly, here is a little video of the gulls that were hanging out near the old wharf. We couldn't believe how close they let us come before flying off. In fact, they left the shore in waves, with the most nervous birds leaving first, etc. This was the largest group to fly off. They seemed to like the old pilings for perching posts.

Campobello Vacations - Head Harbour Lightstation

Photos taken on August 12, 2016
One of the iconic landmarks on Campobello Island is the Head Harbour Lighthouse (build in 1829.) It is in a stunning location on a tiny chunk of rock off the coast of Campobello. From shore, you can just get a snippet of a view. Of course, we initially photographed it on day 1 of our trip under a partly cloudy sky as the tide was rising. (Oh yes, I almost forgot...Drew saw a minke whale swimming offshore;-)
Photos of Drew as he traversed the first sandbar to the ladder of
the first island. After that, I lost him in the fog.
In order to see the entire light station, you have to take a hike. And, that is what Drew did on our last full day of vacation, this August. Unfortunately, we were socked in by heavy fog all day long, but that didn't deter this intrepid lighthouse seeker from hiking over to take a peek. Drew had never been inside of a lighthouse, and this has always been a goal of his. We hightailed it to the far tip of Campobello just after low tide. Drew had a 4 hour window of time to explore; and explore he did. Unfortunately, due to having walked a couple of miles on an uneven cobble beach, my knees were too trashed to handle scrabbling over seaweed-slick rocks and climbing up and down steep ladders.
A Google Earth view of Drew's trek.
We didn't know that there are three little islets offshore, or that the lighthouse was situated on the last one. 

Check out these aerial views of the lightstation via an aerial drone camera, that someone posted on YouTube. Awesome! This gives you a great view of just where Drew walked through, although with the tide up, you cannot see the little sandbars and rocks he crossed to get to the final island.
The top ladder is the first one that people have to climb up to island # 1.
Then, there is a lovely little path that traversed island # 1.
There is a bridge that crosses over to island # 2.
Drew couldn't believe the pathway through the boulders and the ladders that people had to climb. 
Super steep ladder going down island # 2
Walking through seaweed strewn boulders to island # 3.
(I talked with one young woman, after she returned early, and she said that she didn't realize what horrible physical shape she was in as the trek was very challenging.) Drew loved every minute of it, but said that if this had been on U.S. soil that it probably wouldn't have been allowed for legal purposes.  
Head Harbour Lighthouse was in great shape. There was a tour guide (a 10th grader) who was quite knowledgable. Everyone was allowed to roam around the outside of the outbuildings. By the way, did you know that the red cross was painted on the east side of the lighthouse tower as a day marker for ships sailing in that part of the Bay? Cool...
A mother was covering her son's ears as the foghorn sounded.
And, as it was incredibly foggy out, the foghorn was sounding approximately every minute. Some people stood on the cement pad for the full blast effect. Crazy!
Listen to Drew's recording of the Class-C diaphone fog signal! Click here to read a fascinating history of fog signals by the United States Lighthouse Society.

Some of the rooms were incredibly tiny.
Drew was the only tourist to plunk down an additional $10 for a private tour inside the lighthouse. Sweet! First, he got a tour of some of the living quarters inside the light-keeper's house. Period pieces were put into the house to simulate what the lighthouse keeper would have had for comfort. Notice that the ladder up to the light was just a short walk from the kitchen!
The lamp is a third-order fresnel lens. 
The original lens (bottom right) was broken when a bulb
was changed, not too long ago.
And, then it was time to climb the tower! Drew and the tour guide went to the top where the light was glowing. The guide said that the lightstation is in contact with another light somewhere out in the Bay of Fundy. When the two stations no longer have contact with each other, due to fog, their foghorns start sounding. It is all automated nowadays. Click here for a great description of the different orders of Fresnel lenses.

Campobello Vacations - First Annual Bay of Fundy International Marathon

The main reason that we first vacationed in Campobello, in 2013, was to attend the First Annual Bay of Fundy International Marathon in support of our dear friends, Amie and Benji Durden. They have both run over 100 marathons, and have run at least one in each of states of the United States. In 2013, they were in need of a marathon in Maine, and this fit the bill. In fact, they were able to count it as running in two countries, as the marathon began in Lubec, hit the 1/2 way mark at the tip of Campobello, and then finished back in Lubec. Fun!
Amie and Benji shared a cabin with us and, upon their arrival, we shared some sunset views from Friar's Head, just down the road from the cabin. It was a great introduction to the beauty that is Campobello.
We visited Eagle Hill Bog and the "Rock of Gibralter", a giant boulder dropped off by a glacier about 14,000 years ago! Of course, I had to photograph Amie at the Mulholland Point Lighthouse.
Amie and Benji walk back to the cabin after packet pick-up
in preparation for race day.
Then, it was packet pick-up day and race prep. We spent morning hours at West Quoddy State Park, then the afternoon at the Roosevelt Cottage.
The runners are still fresh at Mile 7
Race Day dawned early, and as Amie and Benji headed for Lubec, we walked up toward Friar's Head and camped out at the 7 mile marker.
The course was challenging and hillier than lots of people suspected.
Benji won 3rd place for his age group.
Amie placed in the top 15 of her age group.
We amused ourselves for an hour or so, while waiting for the return of the runners, and then we camped out at the 25 mile marker. Amie and Benji ran well and placed high, out of 500 runners. It was so much fun to get together for four days during this event.
Best Friends Forever are hard to come by, and we sure are lucky!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Just a little Cedar Waxwing animated gif

Google Photos composed this little Gif of my favorite bird.
Love it!

The Many Moods of a Cedar Waxwing

I admit it... I am obsessed with Cedar Waxwings. Neighbor Carla and I went boating again this morning in hopes of seeing my favorite birds. And, boy were we successful!
There were at least a dozen waxwings flying around the north side of the pond. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any good in-flight photos, so I had to settle for capturing them when they landed on the tamarack (larch) branches.
Check out the red, waxy tip of the wing feather!
This is the first time I have seen it, much less photographed it!
I was psyched to photograph the red, waxy tips of the wing feathers on a couple of birds. This is where the name "waxwing" comes from!  The tips may to help the bird attract a suitable mate! Check out this information and more on All About Birds.org. Fascinating birds;-)
There were storm clouds building up as we sat in our favorite viewing spot, and the sky was darkening which made for more difficult photography. I had my 400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter attached to it. I only use this lens in bright, sunshiny weather, and had hoped that the clouds would hold off long enough for me to get some great shots. But, this was not to be. However, I did the best I could under the circumstances.
The birds were very adept at swooping hither and yon to capture insects. In fact, Carla and I were oohing and ahhhing at their acrobatics! 
After all that crazy flying, the birds would perch on the tamarack trees to preen their feathers.
We snapped so many photos as they performed their morning routines!
The raising of their crests also yielded laughter and comments on their almost Groucho Marx appearance.
These birds bring us so much joy, and we can't wait to get out there again for another photo shoot soon! That is, if Carla can handle sitting in one spot on the pond for an hour or more, again;-) She is a great sport...