IRENE ON THE WAY !

I am writing as Irene is coming into our area with high winds and rain. We'll see if the computer keeps on track! Last week was another one full of wonders and really great campers with a knack for finding things. We started at Sunset Lagoon where we had some energetic snorkelers who came up with all sorts of sea life. We even found a large Moonsnail there, though they are usually found on the north end of the island. In the next days, we hit the waters again at low tide, first at Bounty Cove and then at Sanddollar Beach. We found several lobsters at Bounty Cove and some good sized Sea Urchins. It blew hard over night, so the waters were murky for finding things at Sanddollar. Our final outing was to Starfish Cave, and we actually found something new! We climbed down to a small tide pool where campers had found Asian Shore Crabs the previous week. We didn't find that invasive specie, though we did discover a group of Anemones tucked into a crevice. They aren't likely to move, so it will be interesting to look for them again. I was disappointed to find most of the Inuksuks were knocked down, probably by tidal waters. With the surf on our doorstep, most will need to be rebuilt in that area.

I was pleased that a camper found a large caterpillar and left it in a container at the front desk. It was a Cecropia Moth caterpillar and looked very ready to form its cocoon. We took it to a Cherry Shrub, where we released it, after campers had had a chance to view and admire this elaborate larva. It is green, but has bumps projecting out of different colors - some red, yellow and blue! They even have black hairs coming out of those bumps! I went back the next day and, sure enough, it had made a fibrous protective cocoon. That is the form in which it will spend the winter, but at least we got a chance to see it before it made its pupa.

I guess it is a good time to look for caterpillars since I must have seen a dozen Monarch caterpillars on a Milkweed patch near Sanddollar Beach. Equally exciting, was finding two Swallowtail caterpillars over in West Point. The latter are hard to find since they are green, like the leaves on which they feed. They also have fake eyes to scare away predators, with the number 10 inscribed in each eye! I didn't make this up!

So now, we are battening down the hatches and hoping for the best as Irene whirls up the coast. It looks like Vermonters will be more affected than we, which is amazing. I will let you know how we survive in the days ahead.
8/28/11 Ronnie, being blown away!