IT'S STILL OCTOBER..
No sooner have the leaves reached their brilliance than they start to fall. But here you see leaves from a small shrub that caught my eye on a recent walk at Center Pond - with leaves still on display. There, under a canopy of White Pines were these beautiful leaves that bordered on a pink, purple scale. The foliage suggests Maple, and like those leaves, they are opposite in position on the branches. But, this shrub is a Viburnum, Maple Leaf Viburnum to be exact. If it were mature enough to flower and fruit, it would produce a berry, not the two winged raceme of Maples. Another test of a Viburnum if you find the fruit, is to look inside. The seed should be flattened.

As a followup to the spider abdomen excerpt, here is another one whose picture was taken in my perennial garden in late summer. Talk about designs! This one should take a prize! The orb web is distinctive with the supporting, thicker, cross pieces. It is an Argiope spider, and quite common. What you may not have seen is its egg sac which I found as I was cleaning up the garden a few days ago. The spiderlings will spend the winter in this papery sac. Some will emerge first, and eat the others. Only the survivors will climb out on those eight legs come warmer weather. So, when you are cleaning up your garden, don't be too ambitious. It's good to leave a few of these egg sacs there, to brighten up the garden with dramatic spider abdomens next year! Maybe you can make a Halloween mask out of this design!

Here is the egg sac. I wish I had been more attentive to see this being constructed.

I walked the length of the island yesterday, primarily to check out the lobster pound which I understand is being stocked this year. Sure enough, though it was high tide, I could see the crustaceans walking around in the shallows. The yellow rubber bands on their claws were a give-away to their camouflaged presence. I witnessed a feeding. Donny and Chris motored around the dammed up cove, throwing pellets of food in the water. At this early time of their captivity in the pound, precautions are taken to assure the lobsters remain viable for capture when the prices rise in early spring. The pellets contain antibiotics. They will be replaced shortly by the fish normally used to feed the animals until they become inactive due to cold water. They dig down into the sand and mud and remain in a comatose state, I am told.

Another interesting activity involving the lobster pound was the prevention of predators eating up the lobsters. Two raccoons have been trapped, and gulls have been witnessed dining on lobsters in the shallows! We aren't the only ones to enjoy the taste of these sea creatures!
10/24/06 Octobery Ronnie.