It is May already! Wow, but it feels like it.....warm, sunny, with plants and animals responding! As for the animals, I spotted the first turtle trying to cross Route 1, presumably to lay eggs. It was just starting across that busy highway, but I was able to stop, grab a net and prevent the animal from being hit by a car. It turned out to be a rather large Snapping Turtle that just barely fit into my butterfly net. I was afraid it might chew a hole in the net and double bagged the creature to take it to a safe place, hopefully without its ambling in my car! All went well, and I was able to release it in Center Pond where I know there are others of the same specie. These are dangerous animals to handle. Though they may pull their head inside the shell, they can extend it to give a vicious bite. Let's hope that the animal had laid its eggs and won't head over roads again.
The toads are continuing to sing their shrill songs, but there is concern that eggs that have been laid in puddles may not hatch since with no rain in recent days, those puddles are shrinking. I transferred quite a few eggs to deeper pools yesterday with another warm, sunny day on tap.
After releasing the turtle and watching it swim vigorously away, I headed into the trails at Center Pond to see what was emerging plantwise. I wasn't disappointed, but more surprised at all the activity! There were emerging leaves of Canada Mayflower, Starflower, Wood Anemone, Bellwort and even Ladyslippers! Ferns were unrolling, and engaging in fanciful shapes. I love finding the Bracken Fern which sends up stalk that looks like the leg and foot of an bird! (See this to the right). Of course the more common fern phenomena of fiddleheads were ever present. I found Trailing Arbutus in bloom, including large patches of that early bloomer. What a great time of the year!
I also took a hike into Totman Cove to see what was blooming there. It seemed there were carpets of Fawn Lily....just all over the place, all of the sudden! Unfortunately, it was a drizzly day so the blossoms were hanging low with petals unfurled. There were also Wood Anemones in blooms, but they too were awaiting the sun to blossom forth. I always enjoy watching the Sarsaparilla emerge, looking a bit like a spike of Poison Ivy. As for birds, the Snowy Egret are back finding food in wet areas at low tide. I watched one walking through water, and jiggling its feet to scare out and capture animals. These birds have yellow feet at the base of their black legs.
To the left you see the underside of the snapper pictured above. It has a very scaley body and much reduced plastron. Note how far it has retracted its head. That head can be thrust out a good 4-5 inches. The tail is also decidedly long; notice also the long toenails!
So you can see, there is a lot going on up here in Maine. 5/5/11 Ronnie on the move.