FOR MUD? OR BONES?
Things have quieted down weatherwise and Waldorf-wise. The Waldorf students had a great week with skies highlighted by the sun and full moon. The temperatures did dip into the 40's but otherwise it was absolutely beautiful. I helped with some gigs on Joe's Head and took in a painting outing and a mudflat exploration. The tides were quite low, and if that was a positive in finding animals, they came in early morning or after dark! I went hunting for a live Sanddollar for their study and nearly froze my legs while walking in knee deep water at Totman Cove. The seasons they are changing! The water wasn't too cold, however, for washing off the mud at Head Beach. And speaking of that mud, these students have traditionally made a highlight of digging deep for worms and clams. Some prepared for the outing by covering their feet with duct tape! Remember how easy it is to lose shoes when stuck in the mud! Notice the Yankee is still at its dock watching the proceedings. I believe John Gardiner is now sailing up the coastline, so maybe the Yankee awaits his return.
Now that things are pretty much wrapped up for the season, I took some time for a solo out to Small Point......that tip of land we only see from a distance, which is the southern-most point on our shoreline. My lure was the Minke Whale that has been lying on the rocks since last winter. When I got out there, I found the bones were just starting to stick out of the carcass. I pulled out a long rib, and even extracted a large scapula. The vertebrae are still stuck in the sticky skin. I bagged up the two bones and started back, quickly learning how heavy these large bones can be, not to mention the stench and general stickiness. They are now lying out in the sun - you see them here with bones from a deer for comparison - and I hope the neighbors will not complain of the stench, as they did of the skunk. Incidentally, the skunk bones are now retrievable, but unfortunately, the skull was fractured when the animal was hit by a car. There is no way I will be able to get the whale skull. It is just too large and heavy, unfortunately. On my way out to the whale, I followed a trail and found a Spring Peeper hopping out of my way! Those tree frogs are still on the prowl for insects. I also found a dead shrew on the rocks that must have been dropped by a hawk....what else? I understand these animals taste bad, so maybe that is why it was dropped. Notice the sharp pointed nose and soft fur. I read where the teeth of this animal are purple, though I did not check. I did bring it home, again, with hopes of having its skull for comparison. These animals are only about 3 inches long......and that whale? It was over 20 feet long. Remember how big are the peepers? They take the prize for small size. The one I found was no more than an inch in length. So from the sublime to the ridiculous, these creatures have a lure for me........9/24/08 Ronnie in the mud and bone hunting.