SEASON OPENINGS!Flowers continue to decorate the shoreline and woodland trails these May days. Here is a Strawberry plant that had taken a root-hold alongside a rock where it had a view of Small Point. What interested me was the ant that had climbed abroad for something tasty, I presume. There were ants on other Strawberry flowers so this must not have been an anomaly. The fruits of these plants are small but sweet and tasty. I hope to get back for that treat.

It has been a week of wetness here in Maine. I ventured out several times, but escaped getting drenched. My reward was finding the Dwarf Ginseng in bloom. These small plants take a liking to wet areas, so needless to say I was happy to be wearing boots. There is a larger relative that is used medicinally, but that is rarer.

As for animals, I have had a few interesting encounters. I finally came upon one of the porcupines that has been doing a destructive job on our pines. They are usually nocturnal in their feeding, but I caught one dining on the ground on Western Reach very near where I saw one last year at about this time. These are slow moving animals, with a distinct waddle. I was able to get quite close, and all it did was look me over and raise its spines. I assume that these animals are given their space by most other animals so it doesn't need to run, growl or attack. Climbing trees is their usual escape mode. I have a feeling there will be more such encounters once campers set up their tents. Speaking of which, the campground was invaded by stalwart tenters this weekend. The car has a license plate from Quebec! Though the picture is small, there are campers trying to get a kite into the air on the beach. Also a gull is sitting on a pole by the blue tents waiting to invade the food provisions. In the distance, waves are breaking on Wood Island. The rain had stopped for the moment, but a storm at sea built up the surf.

My final animal encounter was "after the fact". I was on Head Beach when I came upon some unusual tracks that went in and out of wet patches of sand. They headed over toward the east end of the beach, seeming to drag something in a wide trail. I couldn't see where they had left the sand, perhaps suggesting it took to the water. Any ideas? The paw prints were quite large with toenails digging sharp holes. I followed them backwards and came upon more of the same on Sanddune Beach. Later, I found more in Site 59 on Dune Way very near the Lily Pond. Any more thoughts? I am now thoroughly convinced these tracks were made by a beaver. If you have a copy of TRACKING AND THE ART OF SEEING by Paul Rezendes, look up the information on beaver, page 89. Here, however, is my picture of these tracks with the distinctive tail drag!

The apple trees are now in bloom and attracting interesting wildlife including Hummingbirds and Redstarts. Fortunately, the Browntail Moths do not seem to be as numerous. Their caterpillars have done such damage to these trees in previous years.

The sun has finally made an appearance, after a week of clouds and rain. Are you packing up your camping gear? 5/21/07 Ronnie, drying out.