MARCH MADNESS?
We have had an uncanny amount of melting and finally we are able to see vast patches of grass. Yesterday, I was out in the sun waiting to see a destroyer move up the Kennebec River past our house enroute to the Bath Iron Works for a checkup. Those ships are huge and almost fill the waterway. Planes fly overhead while this is happening to spot any hazards or boats obstructing the passage at high tide. This time of year there isn't much boat traffic anyway, but you never know. It was very windy, but quite springlike. My only problem in watching this activity is the name of the ship, a destroyer. Why not build a peace maker? The ship is in the middle of the picture to the left. Notice how much of the snow is gone, but the grass has yet to be green!

As for signs of spring......they are there if you keep your eyes open. Under the bird feeder this morning, though snow flakes were falling, was my first sighting of a Red Winged Blackbird! It was on the ground fighting with a Blue Jay over some seeds. I keep watching for the first Osprey to arrive, but that is a waiting game. Right now we are experiencing very low tides thanks to the pull of the full moon. At its lowest, the tide will be -2! So you know where I will be during that time. The longer daylight hours help in these observations. Often in winter, the tides are lowest after dark!

My first low tide outing was to Head Beach at about 7AM. The birds were out looking for a clam breakfast, though paying attention to each other. It is mating season for the gulls and they are pairing up. We dug a few clams, but the rocks and sand were a bit hazardous due to ice! The seaweed was frozen! The big find of the morning was a Skate Egg Case that had washed in and was tangled in seaweed on the sand. I picked it up and realized this was a freshly laid egg. Later, I actually sliced open the egg case to see the development but it was just a pink yolk. I will keep looking for these choice specimens in the days to come. In the picture to the left, you can see the egg case with the yolk inside. The case itself, when viable, is not black like those that wash in empty, but browner and more flexible. Can you imagine a fish laying an egg shaped like this? I would think it would get caught on the way out! Oh, for the excitement of nature without a midwife.
3/21/11 Ronnie at low tides.......