Archive for September, 2010

Sep 03 2010

Red Sky at Morn, Sailors Forewarn

Published by under Travel,Weather & Sky

The sky was red-pink at sunrise this morning.

After five days of absolutely clear, hot weather the clouds are here in advance of Hurricane Earl.  By the time Earl gets here he'll be downgraded to a tropical storm.  The wind out there in the Gulf of Maine will be 50-65 knots (57-74 mph) with waves 18-28 feet.

Sailors forewarn.

(p.s.  Here on land it will rain from midnight Fri to noon Sat with wind gusting to 50 mph.  Not bad.)

One response so far

Sep 03 2010

Anatomy: Eyestripe

Published by under Bird Anatomy

Marcy's chipping sparrow has agreed to be a model again this week.  Today's he's showing off his eyestripe, indicated by the yellow arrow.

The eyestripe is a line of feathers, usually dark, that appears to pass through the eye.  It's a good field mark for sparrows.

If you've been following these anatomy lessons, you now know all the field marks that describe this chipping sparrow's head:  rusty crown, white supercilium (or eyebrow), black eyestripe, and gray auriculars (or cheeks).

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

One response so far

Sep 02 2010

Weather Is News

Published by under Travel,Weather & Sky

Today in coastal Maine we have a Heat Advisory and a Tropical Storm Warning.  Heat today will feel like 100 degrees and then tomorrow, wind, waves and rain.  So far all is calm.

3 responses so far

Sep 02 2010

Fall Beauty: Asters

Published by under Plants

Asters are blooming everywhere now and they're notoriously difficult to identify.  So many look alike!

Is this one a New England aster?  Dianne Machesney photographed it at Cape May which is well within its range.

What do you think? 

(photo by Dianne Machesney)

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Sep 01 2010


Published by under Travel,Weather & Sky

We're on Day Three of four days in a row of incredibly hot weather for Maine.  At this time of year the normal high we're used to is 75. Today it will be 90 and the air quality will be bad because the air is moving up from PA, NYC, and the east coast.  It's too hot to hike.

Some of you asked if Hurricane Earl will affect us. Yes, but my husband and I are looking forward to the rain & cooler temperatures.  We might regret that attitude at dawn on Saturday when Earl will have been here for 6 hours, but for now Earl is welcome to arrive ASAP!

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Sep 01 2010

Nocturnal Swimming Rodents

Published by under Mammals

There's a place on the Park Loop Road at Acadia National Park where people often stop to look at Bear Brook Pond.  When a tour bus stops it attracts attention and many cars stop too.  People wonder, "What are they looking at?"  It isn't a bear.

Bear Brook Pond, nestled against the flank of Champlain Mountain, is also called Beaver Dam Pond for good reason.  Near its far edge is a huge mound of sun-bleached sticks that's an unusual sight for most of Acadia's visitors.  It's even unusual to me.

In southwestern Pennsylvania we have beavers but we don't have many ponds.  Our beavers tend to make their homes in creek and river banks, usually around the roots of overhanging trees.   One such place is at the big bend in Raccoon Creek at the Raccoon Creek Wildflower Reserve.  Over the years the beavers have felled the trees on the floodplain and dragged them into a pile in the creek below an overhanging tree.  It's not a lodge in the classic sense but it serves their purpose.

Every time I visit the Wildflower Reserve I'm amazed at the changes to the beavers' home.  During floods the creek piles more debris against their structure or it sweeps part of their home away.  This undoubtedly keeps them busy all the time but I never see them.  They work at night.

Which brings me back to Acadia.  Though beavers are nocturnal, there are always a few cars stopped at the pond and people standing by the road hoping to see them.  I have never seen a beaver there -- I always show up at the wrong time -- but I stop too.  Maybe some day I'll see one as close as in this photo.

(photo from Wikimedia Commons of a beaver in Canada.  Click the photo to see the original)

7 responses so far

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