HALLOWEEN ALREADY!

Let's see if I can start in a happier mood......with this pumpkin! I found the orange fruit on the beach, partially broken and decided to celebrate Halloween by decorating it with a few beach facial features! The urchins had been washed ashore, devoid of their spines. So I just went on from there, having fun.

Hikers are now wearing orange hats since the hunting season is on our doorstep and that attire is mandatory. Here you see a serious birder trying to focus on birds at sea. there was a whole group of ornithologists equipped with scopes to identify and count the birds on a rather windy day. They started on Head Beach, moving up to Joe's Head (where this picture was taken), and then on to Sanddune Beach and the Lily Pond before following the trails along the harbor. This birder saw Loons, Gannets, Eiders, Scoters, Mergansers and our resident gulls. Every October these birders connected with a local Audubon group come to the campground to check our birds. A complete list of their findings is attached.

I was delighted to go down into Totman Cove at low tide and find some clammers busy digging once again. The clams were plentiful. They didn't pay attention to holes, they just worked with their forks in a line as the clams were exposed, squirting for all they were worth. I wonder if those clams will grace someone's Halloween table? Yumyum. I also noticed that when they left after filling multiple buckets that they inserted a wooden pole so they will move on and dig where they haven't dug before. There is a method to this clamming.

Alas, there will be no porpoise skull to share with you. I went over to check on the decomposition of that animal and was disappointed to find missing bones. I did gather some, and a skull fragment was found near by. My guess is that this time another animal went digging. I should have kept a closer look. The waves were wild again and the tide had come all the way up to the dune grass. Blown foam coated the shoreline.

I did want to alert TV watchers that the Subaru commercial that was filmed on Joe's Head last winter is now being aired. My daughter saw it on ABC around 9PM. I still haven't seen it, but will be paying more attention to the commercials these days. If you recall, the filming was done with snow on the ground and highlighted a New Year's celebration by three brothers.

Maybe it is appropriate to close this Halloweeny entry with some of the porpoise bones to get you in a creepy mood. I'll hold on to those, and in its place, show an animal that was found behind the Historical Museum here in Phippsburg. This was probably someone's pet that got too big to handle. How sad to find it dead - all 3-4 feet of it. I believe it to be an Iguana. Believe me when I say that is not I, in disguise. Have good, safe fun. 10/30/08 Ronnie, into bones and scales.

Here's the bird list........
Merrymeeting Audubon held a field trip to Hermit Island in Phippsburg on October 25, 9-12:30.
30 birders came and had a pleasant walk on the beach and up on the rock bluffs, on the roads through the woods and by the tidal cove. Weather was the " calm before the storm." A SW wind off the ocean had started up but it was mild and sunny in the woods.
Bird species seen:
C. goose
Black duck
Mallard
C. eider (many)
Surf scoters
White-winged scoters (many)
Long-tailed duck
Red-breasted merganser
Red-throated loon
C. loon
Loon species--a possible Pacific that swam out of sight behind an island
Red-necked grebe (Friday on the scouting- out trip by 3 members)
N. Gannet--10 out off Head Beach
DC cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned night-heron (seen by Mike Fahay who scouted- out the far end of Hermit Is. early on Sat.)
Bald eagle--2 mature out over the ocean
Sharp-shinned hawk (Friday)
Cooper's Hawk
Peregrine falcon (probable, flying over fast)
Gulls--Herring & Great black-backed
Woodpeckers--Hairy and Downy
Blue-headed vireo
Blue Jay
Am. Crow
Raven (Friday)
Bl-capped Chickadee
Nuthatches-White & Red breasted
Kinglets--Golden and Ruby- crowned
Robin
Yellow-rumped warblers (good numbers)
Sparrows- Song & White-throated
Junco (Friday)
Cardinal
Red-winged blackbird
Of interest:
Butterflies--Red Admiral and Mourning Cloak
Thousands of Sap-sucker holes on the trunk & every branch of an old apple tree