BUTTERFLIES, CLAMS & GOOSEBERRIES, tra la.....My week started with swimming in a meet down in New Hampshire where I set 4 Connecticut records! On my way back to Phippsburg, I stopped at the Clam Festival in Yarmouth, touted as the most heavily attended gathering in Maine! I didn't stop for clams, but to see the butterfly tent set up as part of the weekend activities. It was fun to walk in the tent where Monarchs, Painted Ladies and Swallowtails were flying, feeding, or waiting to be set free. Lots of people were taking pictures and stayed for the opening of the tent flaps to see the insects fly away. Maybe now we shall start seeing the monarchs on our Milkweed plants! My Milkweed are starting to flower, but I've yet to see my first Monarch butterfly.

The camping week began with our first clamming and fishing expedition. The clams are very plentiful if you don't mind getting muddy. We went over to see how the professional clammers use their rakes to excavate the clams in good numbers. They are getting $100 for a bushel and they must have had 4 or 5 bushels to take to the market. They come well equipped with sturdy backs and long rubber boots. From the mud flats we tried our luck at fishing off the Yankee Dock. We know there is one big flounder to be caught since it took two hooks and once jerked off just as it was about to be pulled on the dock! Otherwise, only the mosquitoes were biting.

Our beach hunts turned up two important "finds". The surf was rough, so we weren't able to climb the rocks too easily. However, one astute observer spotted a Starfish that turned out to have 6 "legs"! That is how many too many?! We also turned over a rock to find two mating Nudibranchs and a mass of eggs. These are Sea Slugs, and cling to rocks where they ply their sea trade activities. See more about them by clicking on the link: Stars and Sea Slugs.

In the woods, we are finding the emerging Indian Pipe plants - white and ghostlike. Also, the Gooseberries are now ripe! There is a bush of them growing near the Kelp Shed. They are sweet, but the seeds stick in my teeth which is not to my liking. After exploring Starfish Cave in the fog, we headed back to the Kelp Shed by way of the Lily Pond. While walking along the edge of the fresh water, we found a small turtle no more than two inches in diameter. It was a beautiful Painted Turtle with all the markings of the adults we see sunning. We admired it, and placed it in the water where hopefully it can join other turtles among the blooming White and Yellow Lilies. Next week we shall do a serious study of the pond life. I wonder if it is time for the toads and frogs, who leave the pond for an air breathing existence, to be caught making that big, life changing step. We'll see, and report back next week.

7/23/04 Ronnie, the nature dude.