Sunday, November 29, 2015

Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans)

 Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans).
This is a relatively large, bright green spider with long, spiny legs and lightning fast movements. They are typically spotted in shrubs and bushes during the day, where they are sit-and-wait predators. Incredibly, this spider is capable of “spitting” venom in self-defense
Above description from Spiders.US

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wild Orchids in the Flatwoods

Looking for terrestrial orchids makes a walk in the woods all the more interesting.  These photos are from a walk around the Spartina Marsh in Charlotte Flatwoods Environmental Preserve in Punta Gorda, Florida.
These photos, taken in mid-autumn show two elegant, but easily missed native orchids.
Above and below are Mignonette Orchids (Habenara floribunda).  Also called Toothed Rein Orchid, this species is found throughout central and south Florida.  Growing up to 100cm tall  with yellow-green labellum, it is likely found in wet areas like the flatwoods surrounding the marsh of the preserve.  We found dozens (a few at a time) during a 2 1/2 hour walk.

If you want to learn more about wild orchids, or to identify one you have seen....then be sure to visit the Go Orchids website link below.  It's AWESOME!

Florida's Flatwoods are a unique habitat for orchids.  Here is a website to learn more.

Photographing wild orchids is harder than you think.  Below is a website with some great tips.  Wife, Olivia, is a better spotter and has a steadier camera hand!

Lots of great "orchid walks" here in SW Florida.  Be sure to visit Charlotte Flatwoods if you are in the area.....and give me a shout and I'll join you!

This beauty was the highlight of the day.....
Long-lipped Ladies Tresses (Spiranthes longilabris).

The entire plant is only up to 50cm tall and not easy to spot amid grasses, pine straw and Saw Palmetto.

Endemic to the Southeast U.S. it has a lovely white inflorescence.

See how easy it would be to miss one of these.

Always a great day to be out in nature.  So much to see....God's work never ceases to amaze.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Field of Orchids

 It is always a thrill to find a wild orchid, but to find a field of them is truly exciting. 
Above is a Large Purple Fringed Orchis (Platanthera grandiflora).
The Field Guide, "Wild Orchids of the Northeastern United States," by Paul Martin Brown describes them... "widespread throughout the nine-state region, this tall (up to 1m), stately orchid is a summer feature, especially in northern New England.  It usually occurs in small numbers, often as a single plant, but every once in a while a large stand of more than 100 plants in found."

 Here in Harrington, Maine (a small coastal village along the scenic Bold Coast byway of Rt 1) has a park with over 200 in bloom!!!

 The park also has a walking track and, as part of the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium (2014), a large mounted sculpture.


 "Time and Tides" by Maine sculptor
Roy Patterson

 If you want to see more of Maine's sculptures, here's a map.

 The Northeastern US is blessed with many wild orchids.  Want to find more? 
Available on   You can get a used copy for 1 cent!!!

 Come along "Downeast" and see our beautiful orchids!  You will love them and take the time to look around's a great little village!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rara avis in Downeast Maine

 Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), visiting our feeder here in Harrington, Maine today (7/24/2015).  Checked several sources and think this to be a rarity, but they have been seen in Maine before.

Cornell's range this sighting just a stray?  Or is the range changing?  Maine doesn't seem to be on a likely migration route.

This feisty little guy was very aggressive toward the Ruby Throats who are the usual feeder guests.

 I reported the sighting on ...I don't see any previous sightings on their map this far up the Maine Coast.

Hummingbirds are amazing and we feel very lucky to host this rare visitor!  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Boreal brook at Acadia National Park

What to do with a few hours in Acadia National Park when it is mobbed by tourists....loud, rude, obnoxious tourists buying Chinese made junk souvenirs at the Jordan Pond House gift shop???
My answer is to attach the kit lens to the Nikon and find a spot without people....
Easy enough, just down the entrance road from Jordan Pond is Stanley Brook....scenic, quiet and very photogenic.
Just right for a bit of afternoon rusticating!

Stanley Brook makes it's way from Seal Harbor, through the forest to Jordan Pond.  Some trails cross it, but there are spots where you can enjoy it alone.



You can read all about Acadia's Carriage Roads and stone bridges.  Get a copy on

"Tea and Popovers" was the classic afternoon pastime for the early Acadia Carriage set.  Now crowded with ill-dressed, ill-behaved, ice cream eating, bused in, unpolished masses.....served by an equally rude and unpolished staff of Eastern Europeans....pressganged into an "American Holiday" by unscrupulous employment agencies.  Tantamount to human trafficking, albeit the result of unwillingness of our American youngsters to entertain such summer jobs.

The old Jordan Pond House....burned in the late 70's. ice gluten free popovers...polite staff in white oxford shirts with towels over a forearm!  Anyone else remember?

Interior view.....great in early September with a fire in the fireplace.  Say, "Is that David Rockefeller at the far table?"

Thankfully, if you edit out the crowds....the view is the same!
It's a pretty spot...and Acadia is beautiful.  Just plan your visit after the crowds leave for the city.  I'm headed back Downeast to Washington County....."The Way Life Should Be."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hummingbird Moth

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth  (Hemaris thysbe).
Often mistaken for a hummingbird, this diurnal moth is truly a sight to see.  The photo below was taken at 1/250 sec and the wings are blurry as this moth beats it's wings up to 300 times a second!!! And it can fly up to 37mph!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Boreal Blossoms on the Bold Coast Trail

 Without doubt the most scenic coastline in the U.S. is the "Bold Coast" in northeast Washington County.  Fortunately the State of Maine owns over 12,000 beautiful acres there, and has made some of the best areas open and accessible to the public with hiking trails.


 Here are some photos taken along the Coastal Trail....1.5 miles each way.  The forests of Maine offer some interesting and beautiful blossoms.  Sometimes I get focused on the wildflowers of meadow and roadside....but the deep woods and rocky shoreline can also be a botanical feast.
Take a leisurely walk with Liv and I along the trail and see what's in bloom.

Northern Wood-Sorrel (Oxalis Montana)

 Twinflower (Linnea borealis)

 Bunchberry (Chamaepericlymenum canadense)

 Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

 Bluebeard Lily (Clintonia borealis)

 Ebony Jewelwing Dragonfly
(Calopteryx maculata)

 Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamoneum)

 Starflower (Lysimachia borealis)

 Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

 Black-throated Green Warbler (Dendronica virens)

 Hobomok Skipper Butterfly (Poanes hobomok)

 Seaside Angelica (Angelica lucida)

 Spring Azure Butterfly (Celestrina argiolus)

 Beach-pea (Lathyrus japonica)

 Hopefully a reader will help with an ID on this dragonfly!

Juvenile Wren....??? Winter Wren
(Troglodytes troglodytes hienalis)

Blue Flag (Iris versicolor)

 The 1.5 mile hike brings you to an imposing scenic overlook.  Well worth the effort.  Be sure to bring a camera.

Lots to see and do Downeast.....that is, WAY Downeast and far from the crowds and tourist traps of Bar Harbor and south!