Saturday, August 25, 2012

Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens) on sunflower.
"There are two groups of social bees in North America: the bumblebees and the honeybees.  A colony of bumblebees (Bombus), except in a few tropical species, does not live through the winter; only the young queens remain alive, hibernating underground and emerging in the spring to seach for a new nesting site.  This may be a dry tussock or the burrow of some other animal.  Hollowing  out a small cavity she makes a honey pot that she has elaborated within her body from flower nectar.  At the same time she makes a waxen cell in which she lays her first eggs; on this she sits like s brooding hen.  When the eggs hatch she may have to make occasional forays to gather more pollen and nectar to feed her offspring, opening the common larval cell to inject the yellowish regurgitated  liquid.  The larvae develop into soft-winged, matted young workers, called callows, who take over the chores of the ever-increasing household while the queen resumes her egg laying.  Nests are occasionally invaded by other queens, who must be expelled, or by the queens of Psithyrus, bumblebees who have lost their worker caste, as well as their pollen baskets, and must live in a Bombus nest.  A colony may attain a population of one to two thousand, but usually consists of not many more than 100 individuals.  Bumblebees collect pollen and nectar at the same time:  for this reason they are very good polinators, especially of red clover."

from "Insects of North America" by Alexander and Elsie Klots.
Doubleday & Company, New York

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fog landscaping in Downeast Maine

 Summer in Maine.....warm winds over cool waters bring fog.  Sometimes daily in early morning, sometimes all day.  Above in Lubec at the southern end of the Bay of Fundy.

 Corea, Maine.  A small and very picturesque fishing village north of Bar Harbor.

 From Hancock, Maine...looking across Frenchman's Bay at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.

 Mudflats on the Pleasant River in Harrington, Maine.

 Fishing shacks in Corea.

 Eastport, Maine in Washington County.  They call it "Sunrise County,"  but not on that day!

 A longshot from Eastport to Campobello Island in Canada.

 Eastport again.

 Columbia Falls, Maine.

 Another view of Frenchman's Bay.

 Milbridge, Maine.  From McLellan Park looking seaward toward the Nash Island light, which you certainly cannot see.

 Lubec...along the Bold Coast Trail.

 Tamarack (Larix laracina) trees in Addison, Maine.

 West Quoddy Head Light flashing during a warm August afternoon.

 Downtown Corea...lots of lobster boats, but no stores.

At the entrance to the Naraguagus River...Milbridge.

Foggy day...get out and about along the Downeast coast....and be ready to "shoot" some great fogscapes.  And you thought they were cup holders!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rainbow Smelt preservation in Downeast Maine

The Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) is a small (6-8 inch) anadromous fish found in rivers and coastal areas of Eastern North America from Labrador south to coastal Maine. 
 In 2004 the U.S. Government declared the Rainbow Smelt to be a species of special concern as both their historical range and populations have been greatly reduced....most likely from habitat loss, acid rain, global warming and commercial overfishing. 
 The Downeast Salmon Federation recently opened the world's only preserve dedicated to preserving the Rainbow Smelt.

With over 20 conservation properties in the watershed of several Downeast Maine rivers, a salmon hatchery and an Aquatic Research Center,  the Downeast Salmon Federation is a local leader in efforts to preserve the Wild Atlantic Salmon and all species in the coastal Maine rivers and estuaries.

The Redmond Brook Preserve is located in Harrington, Maine, along a small smelt spawning brook which feeds into a pristine salt marsh on the Harrington River.  Dedicated to the late Charlie Parker, a local science teacher and passionate conservationist, the preserve will be open for townsfolk to continue traditional "spring smelting" and to provide fish for DSF's annual fund raising "Smelt Fry."

This summer an international team of volunteers from the Acadian Internship for Regional Stewardship and Conservation worked on cleanup and trail building in the new preserve.
Old culverts were hauled out of the saltmarsh.

An access trail was built along Redmond Brook.
The international team:  standing L to R, Daniel Walsh from Kilkenny, Ireland and the University of Galway.  Petra Ziadeh from Ramalla, Palestine and Al-Quds University.  Dan Sepp from New Egypt, New Jersey and Northeastern University.  Kneeling L to R, Rob Rich, DSF staff.  Tesfaye Woldie Belete from Ethiopia and the Master in Environmental Science program at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.  Arielle Dehn from Massachsetts and The University of Maine at Machias.
How lucky I am that the Redmond Brook Preserve abuts out summer home....such a good neighbor is priceless.
It was a joy to work with such wonderful young folks helping to preserve the natural world on Downeast Maine.  With their help and the ongoing efforts of the Downeast Salmon Federation, Downeast Maine is a conservation and preservation success story.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wood Frog, Boreal Forest vernal pool reptile

 Wood Frog (Rana sylvaticus) lives in small vernal pools in Maine's north woods.  They are the first to breed in the their homes often dry up in summer and then they vsn only be found under logs and dead leaves.

Sometimes no more than a "puddle" in the forest, vernal pool are an important habitat for many species.

Maine's vernal pools