MARVELOUS MAINE..............Hello from beautiful, sunny and hot Maine! I will give my final Earthlink report to convey what is happening up here. Yes, the Rhodora is blooming, and a few Beach Peas are coming up pink. The Apple trees are in full bloom, but the Rugosa Roses are waiting in the wings to bud. I've heard the amphibians are noisy and the happy campers are trying to sleep despite their love songs. I heard from Fred that there are 120 campsites in use, and only a few even heard the buzz of a mosquito! I saw campers in bathing suits (not many in the water) and some with their first sunburn - all had red noses.

My first trip over to the island had an amphibian passenger. Earlier, I had found a Green Frog on the West Point road, and stopped to capture it. Identification of this frog is not so much by color as the position of the dorsal ridge that extends from the eye down its back. Notice also the bulging eyes, nostrils and round ear drum. I decided after a photographic session to return it to the Lily Pond. It survived the capture and release, and provided a nice swimming demonstration as a Herring Gull took a bath in the fresh water. I walked over to try and catch a closer look at the beaver lodge, but campers were set up in my destination. I alerted them to the presence of the large rodent and they promised to keep an eye out for it. They also told me stories of seeing a turkey near their site, and losing a bag of Chocolate Chip cookies to some hungry animal. I was surprised to hear stories of being raided by a Red Squirrel who climbed up on their dinner table while the family was eating a meal!

We came back to our home at West Point and fed our "pet" Herring Gull, Lippy. This bird has been around for a long time. Each new season it announces his presence with a squawk and demand for food. It has learned to walk down the roof of our lobster shed and grab a saltine in its beak without so much as a howdeedo. We have learned to hold the cracker steady and not to flinch when that big beak snatches the food. Usually, a spattering of mouth juices have to be dealt with, but this is the way with Lippy. How it keeps our site in his memory over the winter months is amazing. By the way, we also feed him fish skins, crabs and other more natural foods, but he has taught us a lot about his habits and natural beauty with these eyeball to eyeball encounters. Incidentally, its eyes are yellow and its feet are pink! Our feeding venture ended when he was invaded by other gulls all seeking to share the booty. Note the lobster boat anchored on the water below.

Here is what the beaches looked like on this Memorial Day weekend. The picture to lead off this report is a closeup of Joe's Head seen in the left background of this picture. Gooseberry Island stands off shore, and beyond that the expansive Atlantic ocean. By the way, I picked up a tick when later crossing over through the beach grass from Head Beach. I can't seem to get away from those pesky creatures. Be forewarned: maybe the mild winter has resulted in their increased presence.

So I return to a greening Maine: leaves still unfolding; milkweed pushing up their spikes; herons flying overhead; osprey feeding in shallow waters; beaches inviting bare feet; and waves gently and rhythmically supplying their music.
5/29/06 Barefoot Ronnie