I will start this report with a picture of a flower that just opened and stopped me in my tracks! This is what is known as Sheep Laurel. Its blossoms bloom under a crown of leaves. It is found in somewhat wet areas, and is related to Mountain Laurel that has a white flower. What is interesting about these flowers is that the petals are fused together into a shallow dish. In each of the five petals, there are two small indentations. Ten stamens project from the center of the flower, their anthers lodged into the indentations of the petals and their filaments bent and under tension. They operate like tiny catapults, all set to spring on the first insect visitor. It is worth looking at closely, and pretending you are an insect to cause this action!

As you can see, we are finding lots of Sea Stars. Here are three that we found on our first snorkeling outing at Bounty Cove. We also found lots of Hermit Crabs, some in rather large snail shells which showed how large they can get. We even found some Sea Urchins fairly close to shore.

Recently, I was able to pick up a Painted Turtle that was crossing the road near Center Pond. I am not sure if it had laid eggs and was returning to the pond, or not, but I had a chance to see it up close and personal. I finally gave it to a friend who is writing a book and wanted the turtle for an illustration. I took several pictures of this turtle, most of which is "painted" on the under "skirts" of the shell. I was fascinated with this picture of its foot, with various sized toe nails one of which was growing anew! There is even a design on the underside of the foot!

We also had a great outing to the Sprague Pond preserve and I have never seen so many frogs. There were excellent catchers who had the touch for using a net, quickly, to catch these amphibians. Most were Green Frogs, but we did see one Pickerel Frog up by the pond itself. The one you see below is a Green Frog. So there are some of the things we are marveling at as these last days of June slip through our fingers. 6/29/11 Ronnie, daughter of June!