THE GREAT AWAKENING......
We have a week under our belts in Maine, with way too much unpacking. The days have been beautiful and full of spring awakenings. The openings are later up here; for example, our daughter brought up a bouquet of lilacs from Rhode Island last weekend. Here, they are still in tight buds. The wildflowers, however, are making a strong showing with changes almost daily. Yesterday there were anemones along the roadside providing a sparkle of color as if stars had fallen from the sky. The flower you see to the left is gracing our property and is the cultivated star of the show.

There are other interesting things going on. Snakes are out, as frog eggs develop tails and are swimming. Porcupines are chewing some of our Austrian and Pitch Pines which is alarming. Chipping Sparrows are regular customers at our feeder. I haven't yet been over to the campground, but mostly make the circuit between West Point, the transfer station and our home on Parker Head Road. I try to keep my eyes on the road, but it is difficult with so much to catch my attention on the roadsides.

On a recent trip to Brunswick via the old Route 1, I had to stop when I saw huge fish nets spread out in a paved area. Fishermen were sewing floats and weights to the nets which will be used to trap Herring. The nets were almost the length of a football field. One side had round floats, and the other side had a tougher strip of netting and small weights. Here again, is another spring time activity. Lobster buoys are being painted, and traps set up for hauling in those tasty crustaceans. Of course, some lobstermen continue to check traps year around, but many are waiting for the lobsters to come closer to shore. The bait they are using are trapped Alewives, and that is another interesting activity that I want to know more about. Alewives migrate to fresh water, so there are traps in various places such as Center Pond and at the causeway coming over from Bath to Phippsburg.

Yesterday provided one of those puzzling discoveries related to nature. I was busy going in and out of what we call the summer kitchen, carrying boxes of stuff to be taken to West Point when I saw a butterfly flittering away between the window and the storm window. How in the world did it get in there? Was I guilty of leaving a chrysalis that I had been observing inside? This was a Black Swallowtail and it was fighting to get outside, banging against the confining glass. As I opened the window, I discovered a chrysalis case hanging on the inner window frame. It was trapped when we had storm windows installed last fall. But think about this for a moment.......a chrysalis is formed by a caterpillar and in this case, is an overwintering form. The window was yards away from any plants that the caterpillar may have fed upon, and why would it climb the side of a house to attach? It still baffles me, but that is what happened. These caterpillars feed on parsley and carrot foliage. I did find and enjoy watching these larval forms last fall, but to my knowledge did not leave one around to crawl up my house. Here is the beauty that came out inside my window. I moved it outside to rest on some potted flowers. The wind caught it shortly after, and it is flying now somewhere in Phippsburg. You never know........
5/14/08 A butterfly admirer......Ronnie