SMALL, BUT IMPORTANT, CREATURES.......Boy, you should be up here in Maine now! We are having a spell of beautiful and mild weather on top of colorful autumn colors. The Monarchs are still flying, and the bees are busy feasting on the last of the floral display. I actually found two Monarch caterpillars on the still green Milkweed behind the beach at Bounty Cove. Most Milkweed is sending up fuzzy seeds, but not all. The last chrysalises have taken a good three weeks to produce butterflies equipped for flying, so it looks like these last ones will wait it out until Halloween to show their orange and black colors. In the pictures at the top of this page, on the left is a freshly emerged adult on a geranium; to the right is one of those caterpillars I found this week, chewing on the Milkweed

As for other animals, I found a small Pickerel Frog this morning in the wet grass at West Point. Somehow, it escaped my mowing of the day before. I often see these small frogs over there, and I can't help wondering where they started life since there are no permanent pools of water close by. I don't think they are considered vernal pool inhabitants either. I also found a Garter Snake this week when tramping down on the north end of the island. I think it was found as I turned off the blue trail between Spring Beach and that cobblestone cove. It was enjoying the sun on a warm rock, but didn't stay still for a picture. These cold blooded creatures are still out and about!

I retrieved two more whale vertebrae after enjoying an early morning hike out to Small Point. I had to shield my eyes from the sun which seems to rise directly south these days. I only saw one boat out on the water which didn't surprise me. The news is that lobstermen are only getting about $2.75/lb. at the wharf these days. I guess you might say, the prices have bottomed out. People aren't buying due to the economy, and so these fishermen are thinking of staying in port. The cost of bait and fuel barely covers the cost of their catches. I'm wondering if these conditions will favor stocking of the lobster pound. Last year it was left empty because the price of lobsters never came down.

There is some good news, probably due to the good weather we have been having. Totman Cove is now OPEN to clammers at long last! The source of pollution was detected ( an overflow septic system up the creek), and the rains have held off for a while. I think it has been a good two years since this area was open for clamming. It is a favorite spot for me who loves to hunt and chase down all kinds of mollusks and crustaceans. On Sanddollar Beach, I was interested to find a small Asian Shore Crab that had washed up and partially bleached in the sun. The striped legs are an unmistakable characteristic. I am curious as to how large these invasive species grow. I only find very small ones, not more than several inches across, and not too many of those.

To the right, you see that small Pickerel Frog I saw recently. They are fast hoppers, and rarely stay still for a photograph. I wonder where it will spend the winter? The leaves from my Ash tree are now all down, and they make nice hiding places for these frogs.
10/10/08 Ronnie having fun in the natural world........