A bobcat, hit by a car, was lying dead beside the road. I stopped to photograph this magnificent animal, an exquisite predator (I 'doctored' the pic a little, to conceal the injury).
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Monday, May 30, 2022
I was reluctant to eat the green potatoes I'd found in my produce bag, so decided to use them as extra food for my beloved muskrats. I placed one half on a rock at the water's edge, but wave action and high water levels floated it into the water. Chinese mystery snails found it before I did - there were 17 of them congregated on a half potato (April 30, 2022).
And then 26 individuals on May 10
This one had 43 snails feeding on and around it - some were miniscule! (May 18)
It's interesting to note that I'm not finding ANY native snails attracted to the "bait" this far. Another haul on May 22:
Of course, I began trying other vegetable offcuts too. I've had success with broccoli stalks as well (pictured below). There were more than 40 snails collected on May 23, many of which were collected on the silty substrate beneath the vegetables.
Perhaps I've stumbled onto an easy way to 'trap' or lure Chinese mystery snails in bulk, but perhaps I'm also helping the population thrive? Removing snails attracted to kitchen vegetables will need to be removed regularly and timeously in order not to boost the species' chances.
Sunday, May 29, 2022
I pulled this stick, coated with a green slime, out of the water because I wanted to photograph how different it looks, once immersed. It looks like a green blob of jelly when out of the water.
Isn't that an amazing transformation?
I've been struggling to I.D. it definitively, but so far it looks to my untrained algae-eye that it might be the cosmopolitan species commonly referred to as gutweed (Ulva intestinalis), which can form algal 'blooms' in eutrophic conditions and stagnant coves. The filaments are shorter than the literature indicates though, so I would love any help or guidance in identifying this algae.
UPDATE: this is likely the algae called Batrachospermum, according to help given by the Lake Stewards of Maine (LSM)
Saturday, May 28, 2022
Friday, May 27, 2022
Some enlightening fun!
Do you see the monster's face? A perfect example of face pareidolia (Merriam-Webster definition: the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern)
Thursday, May 26, 2022
"... and how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Monday, May 23, 2022
There's always something new and exciting to see when I spend time outdoors, even when I'm in the same location over and over again. I noticed this elaborate fruit lying on my boardwalk, along the edge near the lake. I don't think I've ever noticed this bright colored fruit before, which appears to be that of an aspen, possibly quaking. I was aware we had these trees here, but hadn't witnessed this phase of it first-hand before.
Sunday, May 22, 2022
Whilst admiring the fantastic bluets throughout my "lawn" in no-mow-May,
I noticed a fluttering movement while I was down on the ground, trying to get face to face with these difficult-to-photograph miniatures. I was able to stalk and locate a small butterfly, about the size of a dime, called the Eastern pine elfin (Callophrys niphon), feeding on the nectar of these little beauties.
Saturday, May 21, 2022
A discarded, delicately veined feather of a plucked titmouse.
We watched a small hawk (Sharp-shinned or Cooper's - it was stationery) standing on a log plucking feathers from its dinner a few nights ago. It didn't leave much else at the scene of the crime when I combed the site the next morning for clues to the story.
Amidst the variety of feathers, I found one intricately scaled claw and part of its bill, being carried away by an ambitious ant.
Friday, May 20, 2022
This is one of the reasons why I don't 'clean up' my gardening beds early in the season. The dry stalks of last years' blooms provide a drying rack for young dragonflies that have recently eclosed and need to unfold and dry their new wings in the sun. I'm happy to oblige.
Thursday, May 19, 2022
I'm thrilled to have noticed (and then identified) another new plant I didn't know existed! This one was growing on a stump floating in our cove. We'd always admired the other plants on this floating garden, but somehow this one was overlooked until now. I think it drew my eye because it was exquisitely lit.
Myrica gale: sweet gale, or bog-myrtle
From afar, these blooms looked like small cones so I went to investigate. I was delighted with the beautiful details when I saw it up close. Indeed, one website described the flowers as 'inconspicuous catkins,' so now I don't feel so bad about overlooking it. But really, they are exquisite.
Since it is a bog plant, it doesn't feature much in my regular plant and gardening books, but both PlantNet and Google lens came up with the same species, which I could then follow up on in various places to confirm the I.D.
Before the flowers open, they present in this form, as winter buds:
Apparently the foliage is useful as an insect repellent - will have to try it out some time.
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Some interesting and beautiful things I came across as I paddled out to a remote cove last week.
The leaves of the yellow pond lily are red this early in the season
This next "monster" presented itself to me as well - an about-to-flower non-native bladderwort (the common name, swollen bladderwort, probably refers to these pale, bloated radial floats). I had previously only seen this species blooming in my lake in October and November, so was very surprised to see it preparing to flower this early - we have a lot to learn about this unusual plant, that is apparently out of its range.
I photographed this specimen at home
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
I had a most thrilling first outing in my kayak last week. It was intended to be a quick reconnaissance trip, but turned into a protracted 4 hour long, delightful, wandering investigation. And look at what I was greeted with, soon after I set off - it looked like a tree laden with snow, in May! So dramatic!
I wasn't able to get up close to the flowering branches, but recognized it as an Amelanchier, the serviceberry, shadbush or Juneberry. Here's a shot of the blossoms above me as I drifted beneath - quite a show!
Monday, May 16, 2022
Yes! I really did see a bobcat from my window ... It had 4 legs (duh), was chunky and muscular, sort of gingery colored, and with a very obvious lack of tail. It seemed smaller than I would have imagined (roughly the length and height of a large housecat). It took about 4 graceful steps near the water's edge and then turned into the brush and was gone. Just like that - poof! I stepped quietly outside and watched, scanning for signs of movement, to no avail. It had simply evaporated. By the time I went back to my dinner, it was cold, but that was okay. Without witnesses or photos to corroborate what I saw, I had to consult my field guide for a better assessment.
When I handled this book to check the details, I remembered that it has a history, obvious from its appearance ... it's what one might call a 'story' book, in the literal sense, I guess.
Sunday, May 15, 2022
The flowering tips are spectacular up close
It can host 36 species of caterpillars - quite a party!
Botanists teach amateur gardeners this useful mnemonic to help distinguish between grasses, sedges and rushes:
Sedges have edges,
Rushes are round,
Grasses have nodes from the top to the ground.