Sunday, April 30, 2017

Weather for the 1st week of May

We have a few cool days sprinkled amidst some warmth for the first week of May. Lots of rain showers bring forth spring flowers!

Monday, April 24, 2017

GMRI Award Nomination note - not selected but cool anyway!

So...I got back from Spring Break vacation and found this letter in my inbox. Fun! I don't know who nominated me, but it is always an honor when people recognize my hard work, even if I wasn't selected as the winner. Thanks to whomever you are;-)
Loving the rocks of Ales Stenar, Sweden (photo from 2008)
They wanted a picture of me to put on their social media (to recognize all the nominees), so I submitted the following from my trip to Sweden back in 2008. I love these photos!
Sand collecting in Sweden (2008)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gotta put up the Hummingbird Feeders

Well, who'd a thunk. Even though we haven't see any hummers in our yard yet, a few have been spotted in various Maine locations and have been reported to the website. Drew will put the feeder up tomorrow!

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Raven

We have a multitude of ravens in our neck of the woods. I believe they nest in the tall, white pines nearby. This bird, probably a female, is collecting mud for her nest. I was wondering why the edge of our walkway was all roughed up, and now I know!
How do I know she is a raven? Well, I have been confused for so long, and finally figured it out. Some Audubon birders tried to teach me of the differences between ravens and crows, but I had to see it in person to figure it out. Check out the tail of this bird. It has somewhat of a wedge / diamond shape, whereas a crow's tail is somewhat rounded off at the tip. Check out this Cornell Lab of Ornithology - All About Birds - entry about "Crows and Ravens". It is so interesting!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Caesar Pond Ice Out Celebration

I must say that there were a lot of birds flitting about on Caesar Pond today, and they were all voicing their pleasure at ice out. Such a lovely day... Sit back, relax, and listen to their vocalizations!
Left: Mallard, Top center: Red-shouldered Hawk
Top right: Song Sparrow, Bottom right: Canada Goose
Here are the birds that were singing today. Note: I took all these photos in years past as I mainly recorded video/audio today.

Bald Eagle on Caesar Pond

I spent a few hours pond prowling this morning because today is Ice-Out Day (and you thought it was just Easter, didn't you?) Yahoooo!
This bald eagle followed me from the south end of the pond to the north end, where he perched regally on a tall pine tree. He seemed to be a bit hot and was panting. The outdoor temp. was probably around 70F at this time. 

Note: I had a 70-200 mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter on it. I was quietly sitting in my boat near the tamarack islands, and the bird came to perch high up on a white pine tree across the boggy area. It is interesting to me that since meeting so many members of Audubon a few years ago, that I now feel the need to justify that I did not disturb this bird, nor did I follow it around the pond. I see most birds when I sit for prolonged periods of time in one place and let nature unfold around me. I learned a lot from those respected birders.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tree Felling and Chainsawing day

Such a busy day we had. We both raked parts of our little acre; I raked and trimmed the gardens and Drew raked the backyard. 
Drew processes the wood
Then, Drew took down two trees whose tops had snapped off during some heavy snowfall this winter.
The trees were between 18 and 20 years old. And, one of them had started to rot in the middle.
Here is a close-up of one of the logs. Can you count the rings?
Small logs and parts of branches from the felled trees
Where are we going to put this new wood? Hmmm...probably into the garage. Then, we'll deal with it after Drew fills the wood shed with wood, from a wood pile out back, that we have had drying for a few years.
For now, the wood shed is empty (we used every scrap this winter). We'll have more wood delivered soon and will stack that on the side yard for drying. There is lots to do, and we are enjoying every minute of it (at least I am, as I do the photography while Drew does the heavy work;-)

Stump Garden Update

Almost all of my crocuses are now flowering, and they are ringing the circumference of the stump garden. They fill me with such joy...

Caesar Pond is nearing Ice-Out

Whoo Hoo! Drew put the dock in the water today!
We are almost at ice-out...Just about there. I declare ice-out when the south cove is free of ice and that will occur tomorrow. As I gazed through binoculars this afternoon, I could see three Canada geese walking around on the ice of the south cove. This cracks me up because the entire pond is ice-free except for the cove, and the geese are preferring to walk around on the ice instead of swimming in the water.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Caesar Pond update

Looking north.
We are getting so close to ice-out! Only the southern shore and south cove are still ice covered.
Looking south.
But, I saw waves slowly eroding the leading edge of the ice, and that will hasten ice-out. I think the dock will go into the water tomorrow;-)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Somebody lost the tip of their tail

As I was walking around the yard, I stopped to admire a rotten red maple stump. Upon looking at the ground nearby, I saw the tip of somebody's tail! I am thinking it is part of a squirrel tail, maybe that of a gray squirrel?
Hmmm... I wonder what happened to warrant this tail removal?

Not much snow left

There isn't much snow left around our house, and I am rather impatient for it to be gone! The flower gardens nearest the house are still frozen over, and I am gradually trimming back last year's growth as the snow melts, inch by inch, day by day.

Closing in on Ice-Out!

Do you spy what I saw while walking down the path to the pond?
Check out that open water! Wow, what a difference two days make with the state of the ice on Caesar Pond.
Today, our high temp. was around 53F, and there was a stiff breeze. There was a bit of sunshine mixed in with some clouds. This combo of temp., sunshine and wind all make for rapid melting of the ice.
I believe ice-out will be reached on Saturday. This weekend will be a warm one. Tomorrow will be sunny with a high of 59F. Saturday will reach 61F, and we'll get a super hot day on Sunday with a high of 78F. I'll be able to go boating after I return from my Spring Break vacation. Yahoooo!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Oh, what joy this day brought. The temperature rose to 81F, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and my heart was singing the praises of Mother Earth! Why such happiness you might ask? Well, the reasons are many.
The pond ice is thinning along the shore, like a receding hairline that is traveling fast along the scalp leaving large, bald patches.
It is riddled with small holes which make it look a bit like Swiss cheese. Soon, there will be open water visible at the north end.
And, I heard the first two spring peepers calling. The bit of open water along the shore will soon be the perfect hiding place for the peepers' eggs as mating season begins!
After visiting the pond, I walked home with the intent of checking out all of my flower gardens to see what was rising from the soil. The stump garden was covered with gravel, dirt, and protective leaves from autumn.
I photographed the first crocuses in bloom.
I was so excited that I grabbed a rake and cleared the debris. Behold the first leaves of tulips and daffodils poking up through the soil! By the way, as I was raking, I was bitten by the first mosquito of springtime...Aughhh!
I returned the rake to the garage and found myself thinking that Drew's wood chopping log, axe, and leftover firewood would soon be put away for the season.
And, my plant stakes would soon be put to use. Hoooorrrraaaayyyy!!!

P. S. Mind you...the outdoor temperature will return to a more normal pattern of the 40's and 50's for the foreseeable future, but the occasional hot day is very welcome, indeed!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Snow Total for 2016-2017

Snow Total for 2016-2017 = 95" of fluffy whiteness. That's not too bad considering that we only got about 50" of snow last year;-)

Update: Yay! It was virtually all rain with just a dusting of snow...
We're hoping that this will be the last snow storm of 2017! Geez... we could get another 8 " from this one! Stay tuned...

By the way, here are the snow totals for the last 17 years in Bowdoin:
2016-2017 =   95" (El Nino year.)
2015-2016 =   51"
2014-2015 = 103″
2013-2014 =   72″
2012-2013 =   83″
2011-2012 =   61″
2010-2011 =   99″
2009-2010 =   57″
2008-2009 =   87″
2007-2008 =  127″
2006-2007 =   74″
2005-2006 =  No data for some reason - Best guess around 30" after looking at Kdoggy blog.
2004-2005 =  Roughly 100" of snow this year. (Kdoggy blog post said over 8 feet.)
2003-2004 =   30″
2002-2003 =   No data for some reason
2001-2002 =   42″
2000-2001 = 100″

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Snowy April 1st

Whoo! What a snowy day we have. At 4:30 pm, we have about 9" of snow on the ground, and it is still coming down.
The temperature is hovering around 34 F and the snow is extremely wet and heavy.
I took a walk over to the pond for a look-see, and found the walking to be tough going. The snow had melted in my tracks by the time I turned around for home.
I checked out the star magnolia tree to see how it was faring and was enthralled by all the flower buds (which were put on in autumn.) 
The flower bud is the larger of the two structures, while a smaller vegetative leaf bud is attached near the base.
Each flower bud has a hairy/leathery protective cap (aka stipules which are modified leaves that protect the buds in wintertime) which seems to be splitting already in preparation for flowering. And, the flower buds are hairy as well. The hairs protect the buds from frost and from drying out. Check out this great blog that gives all kinds of information about magnolias: Amateur Ecologist
Our other flowering tree is the rhododendron. It also puts flower buds on in autumn, and is evergreen in that it maintains is leaves all winter long. During winter, the leaves orient downward as protection from excess "photon-induced damage by reducing leaf exposure to light during freezing conditions in the winter." Wang, Xiang, "Photoprotective strategies in overwintering rhododendrons" (2009)
The buds are covered with overlapping scales to protect the fragile inner flower against our harsh winters. With such pretty buds, and I cannot wait to see their springtime flowers in all of their purple-colored glory.