At this time of year, I'm glad that I live on the coast. We have lost a lot of our snow, and rain is now more often the form of precipitation than that frozen white stuff (for better or worse). It is better for the early migrants that need soft soil to probe for their dinners. Last week, I saw my first Woodcock over at the campground as I was trying to avoid sticky mud. This bird took off but its size and long beak were unmistakable. I shall continue to look and listen for this amazing creature.

Other avian signs of spring came early on Saturday morning after overnight rain. I looked out my kitchen window and there must have been 15 Robins probing for worms in the lawn. Most of the snow is gone, except in protected places. As the Robins kept busy, in flew about a dozen Red Winged Blackbirds! I even heard one of their raucous calls, and rejoiced! The contrast of snow cover was brought home over the weekend when I drove up to Augusta to swim in a meet. As you go north, the snow remains on fields and in woodlands. Many areas are flooded and iced over. Maine has a whole has had a very snowy winter, but in some places schools are being closed due to heavy snow on roofs. So we are relatively lucky, we've only lost our mailboxes due to the snow plows.

The new moon in recent days has meant extra low tides again. I wasn't able to take advantage of the increased shoreline exposure until after the weekend, but wasn't disappointed. I headed over to Head Beach (pun) hoping to find some uncovered critters. Two clammers had beaten me to the punch and were raking in the Surf Clams. One used a long handled rake in the water to scrape out these huge clams, while the other read the clues in the sand to dig them out. The latter also had a rake and used it to poke holes in the sand to find them with a clunk as a clue. One guy was shucking them to decrease the weight of carrying them home! I picked their brains for how they used the clams, mainly for chowder. One fellow told me he discards the muscular foot, tip end of the siphon, and "stomach", and then chops up the rest of the meat before cooking. One of these days, I will get into chowder making. The clammer to the left also raked in a huge Moon Snail that we seldom find alive on Head Beach, though we know they are there. I was told by this fellow who also goes after lobsters that in the fall, oddly enough, the Moon Snails go into his traps for the bait.

I left the clammers to their business and checked out the campground. I was glad I had on my cleats since recent rain had collected and frozen making access to other beaches hazardous. The rain has also chiseled out cavities as it makes its way to the ocean. Iris Downs was "ice skate-able" as shown here. How would you like to use that stone fire pit, or the iced in picnic table? There isn't much green color on the shoreline, but I did discover an interesting patch of green on rocks where the runoff kept the rocks wet and must promote algal growth. Need I say that these rocks were very slippery? These were found near Sunset Lagoon in that canyon where we have used these rocks to make Inuksuks.

I visited with Chris this week figuring it must be time for tapping the Maple trees he has marked. He is in the process of sterilizing the spiles and will be installing them shortly. Though we still have cold days, that sun radiates a warmth that both the trees and I are feeling! Chris plans to boil the sap outdoors in a loose rock fireplace on the north end of the island for his own personal production of syrup. I'll try to get pictures........
3/14/08 Still exploring Ronnie