THE BIRDS AND BEASTS OF SEPTEMBER.....
The birds are migrating and congregating on Head Beach. Here are a flock of Sanderlings trying to poke for food amid active surf. This picture was taken on the final day of the Waldorf students' stay at the campground. What a beautiful week it has been! So just as these birds are on the move, so too the students will head back home. A new set of students will be arriving on Sunday for another week of sealife exploring and learning. The tides will not be in their favor, and this group will be arising before sunrise to take advantage of the low tides. I was out collecting for them yesterday down in Totman Cove when the tide was at one of its extreme low tides due to the new moon. I had no trouble finding lots of Moon Snails, live Sanddollars, and Hermit Crabs while digging Razor and Surf Clams. I have to say, however, that my wet feet became very cold in those early morning low temperatures. It's been down in the mid forty degree range.

I'm also attending to more garden duties. I still have several rows of potatoes to dig. I won't be buying them for a long time. It was my best crop, though now I am enjoying corn, zucchini and beans. I had an animal encounter while weeding and digging. I lifted a corner of fabric weed blocker and out jumped a sizable Green Frog. Mind you, my garden is several hundred yards from a neighbor's pond, but there it was helping to keep the insects under control among the vegetables. I also come upon Pickerel Frogs upon occasion while gardening, but I think this may be the first Green Frog. It was quite light in color, with white throat and belly. The characteristic dorsal ridge helped me identify this welcome intruder.

Autumn has now hit the calendar and a few signs are signaling a seasonal change. Here and there, tree foliage is more colorful and now a frost warning has been posted. I shall be covering frail plants in the garden, and taking inside more. However, turtles are still emerging! A neighbor who lives by Center Pond called to tell me a small Snapping Turtle had hatched and was found in her garden. Rather than letting it make its way to the pond where a hungry bird might eat it, she chose to deliver it safely to the water. She invited me along to witness its first swim. The turtle had the characteristic long tail and pointed teeth-like edge to the rear of its shell. The shell was only about an inch in diameter. These turtles start as eggs laid by 7 year old females starting in June. It takes about 3-4 months for them to hatch. They may not immediately leave the nest after hatching, I understand. So between migrating birds and resident frogs and turtles, life is interesting up here in Maine.
9/25/09 Ronnie, the animal watcher.