Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beetles at Acadia National Park

A day at the Schoodic section of Acadia national Park is always a pleasure.....beautiful scenery, picnic area, hiking trails....without the crowds on Mount Desert Island.  Even better is a visit to the Schoodic Institute (Schoodic Education and Research Center) on the grounds of the old Navy base.  It's a wonderful place with lots of educational programs open to the public.  It is also the site of an annual entomology Bioblitz.  This year the Park Service and Schoodic Institute hosted a workshop about the Bioblitz for the general public.



BEETLES....coleoptera.....was this year's order of collection and study.  

Here's a video of the 2009 Bioblitz that I made with a Flip Video camcorder....this was the first mini-pocket camcorder!


The program began with Ranger Katie Petrie giving a great talk about bioblitzes and beetles.

Schoodic Institute

We learned that there are over 400,000 species of "beetles" and that they make up over 25% of ALL living species!!!


Lady Bugs, lightning Bugs,  Weevils, Potato Bugs and a myriad of "Beetles"......they all look different, but they are all coleopterae.

Except, of course, these guys!




Ranger Katie told us about inaturalist.org where we can upload our observations  and showed us a pilot program by National Geographic and the National Park Service to get species identification of ANY species with an i-pad photo.  WOW....it's citizen science on steroids!


"Now remember folks....you are adults and that kids can handle these devices much faster....so be patient with yourselves."


We learned about the different methods to capture beetles for identification.  Above is a Berlese insect collecting trap.....named after it's inventor, Antonio Berlese, an Italian entomologist.

We also got to try our hands at "net sweeping."


This is Nick.....a young, home schooled prodigy, who gave the binomial for every species we saw!!


This was an "all ages" program!


"HEY...we've got a beetle!"  That's new Schoodic Institute President, Mark Berry and family.....wonderful to see such engaged participation in public programs!



Lots of little critters here....."Where's Nick!"


Ranger Alexa Pezzano led the collection team and gathered up our beetles to take back to the lab where we were briefed on the Bioblitz species identification process and met the chief taxonomist.


Above and below are a couple of ground beetles you might encounter on the SERC campus and around Maine.  Above is a Tiger Beetle and below...a Scarab of some short.....I will leave the taxonomy to the experts....and Nick!




Ranger Michael Marlow gave the group a tour of the bioblitz lab and showed us many of the over 300 species collected.
Be sure to check the Maine Entomoligical Scociety website for this and past year's Bioblitz results.


That's Dr Don Chandler, from the University of New Hampshire....chief taxonomist.   SI president Mark and son, Asa seem quite interested...as we all were.

What a great time learning about this year's Bioblitz.....but wait....the day wasn't over yet.  We were invited to a DNA species identification program and lunch...both sponsored by MDI Biological Laboratory.  Dr Karen James of the lab introduced us to a citizen science program she is developing to collect species data by DNA sampling and matching by AMATEUR NATURALISTS!!  Whoa.....this is way out of the box....great stuff and sure to take field biology to the next level.

Here is an example of the DNA graphs we worked with.....basically, naturalists will get e-mails to go out into the field and collect targeted DNA samples....get the samples to a program scientist who submits them for DNA scanning....then in a couple of weeks, the amateur naturalists goes online to match the DNA and get a species ID....is this absolutely awesome!!!! Us "older naturalists" got some needed computer assistance from the Earthwatch Institute high school students working on fellowships in SI.
 Thanks so much to Dr James and MDI Biolab.....I can't wait to get a BIGFOOT hair sample!!!!


What a GREAT day at the Schoodic Institute....thanks to all involved.  I can't wait for future public programs and I can't wait for next summer's Acadia Bioblitz.

A cup of tea and some reflection after such a wonderful day.  I read somewhere that "If you are the smartest one in the room...you are in the wrong room."  Well....I certainly am in the RIGHT room at Acadia National Park and the Schoodic Institute.....Thanks again!



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

American Copper: Lovely Licaienidae!

 American Copper (Lycaena phaeas).  


Taken in Harrington, Maine in early July

Here's a post card from 1908!  Great little coastal village Downeast!



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Silver-bordered Fritillary

 Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene) photographed in Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine.



Lots of nature to be seen in Acadia.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Admirals: White and Red.

 One of two Lymphlidae admirals here in Downeast Maine, above is the White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis), also called a Red-spotted Purple.



 Here is a ventral view.  This specimen was seen in Acadia National Park, along the Witch Hole Carriage Road.



 The other admiral is the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).  Here photographed on Pond Island Preserve.



 Globally secure and found in many habitats from the tundra to the subtropics....this specimen was on the beach just above the wrack line!

The Maine Department of Fisheries and Wildlife lists 114 species of butterflies....let's see how many I can photograph this summer.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Island Preserve Picnic


 Welcome to the second annual Maine boating excursion of the families of Moorwood, Plouf, Scott and Smith.....last year it was the puffins of Petit Manan....this year it's a picnic on a Maine Island Preserve.   Meet at the quiet harbor of Seal Cove on Mt Desert Island....glad to have your aboard!




 Two boats for this trip....Capt Tim leads out...


 Setting a course SSW off MDI, around Swan's Island to the hidden cove beach on the Marshall's Island Preserve.  See if you can find it on the chart.




 Capt Andy in the "Mother Ship" with special guest, Capt. Emeritus Doug Sr. aboard.

 That's Cadillac Mountain beyond the wake.



 Lots of little islands, shoals, rocks and bars along the way....good thing Cpt's Tim and Andy know the way....with a bit of modern electronic assistance!


 We're not the only "picnic boats" out on this gorgeous June day.  This gem is flying the Northeast Harbor Fleet pennant!  Fast company, I'd say.


Wonderful views in every direction.....and a much different perspective than ashore.  From the mainland the glacier designed rocky coast seems SO BIG....but, from a few miles out everything sort of flattens out and you can (if you've a geological bent) imaging the glaciers scraping out the islands and harbors.




 Here's an interesting feature...a DRUMLIN....


 Hey, we're here....that's the Marshall Island landing dock.  But lets go a bit to port and find the picnic beach.

Marshall Island is one of more than 300 island protected by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.  This wonderful organization has conserved 140,000 acres on Maine's coast....with lots of public access.








 What a beautiful cove and beach.

Set the anchor Nat....launch the Zodiac Diane!  Let's go ashore....I'm hungry.



 Everything tastes better on a picnic.  Lunch al fresco and on the rocks!

 We're not the only picnic today.....everyone is courteous and friendly.


 Lots of trails to explore after lunch.  The Maine Coast Heritage Trust maintains over 60 miles of spectacular coastal walking trails.  Each preserve is cared for by stewards and we were lucky to meet and visit with Marshall Island's caretakers.  They told us all about the island and recommended a great walk over to Boxam Cove.



 Preserve Stewards, Chis, Sarah and canine assistant, Daisy.  What wonderful representative of the Trust.


 Lunch and a nature walk.....what more could you ask for?  What do you see Liv?


 It's a Sundew....a carnivorous plant!  



 Time for friends to walk and talk....no cell phone, no laptop, no wifi....ain't it great?


 Wood Sorrel in bloom!



 Nice trail...thanks Chris and Sarah!


 Enjoying the view.


Someone's paid a visit to the Nautical Flotsam Gift Shop!  Beachcombing is more fun even than Yard Sales.


 Someone suggested a side trip over to Pond Island for a bit of sea glass hunting.  Let's go....all aboard Diane's Water Taxi.



 Pond Island is conserved by the Island Heritage Preserve....it's got a great little beach and a fresh water spring and pond.  Let's look for some sea glass.




 Not much glass today...but lots to see....above is a Red Admiral...how appropriate for a Maine Island.

 White Rosa rugosa.



 A Blue Flag.


Another great view and some granite erratics dropped by the retreating glaciers.
Hey....sun's heading low in the west....time to head back to Seal Cove.

 "RED RIGHT RETURNING" for Capt Tim.

 Sun's glow is special here in Maine.  Everyone had a great time and took home some memories and a photos to remind them  of a wonderful day.