Winged creatures

While boating this weekend my husband and I eagerly scanned the lake for the domestic goose on the loose.  (It’s probably a Toulouse.)  My husband spotted an inflatable swan and declared that we’d found my friend.  Moments later I saw that my goose had indeed found his friend.  With apologies to the stranger in the photo.  His belly and beer can shall remain anonymous for all time.

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Four phoebes have hatched out in the nest under the deck.  So excited to see them.

Annabessacook in July

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Osprey nest on eastern shore of lake.  This season is the first time I’ve seen ospreys nesting in this tree.  There are juveniles in the nest.
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Adult feeding juveniles, although I’m not clear on what I’m seeing in front of the adult’s chest.  Note the abundant crop of pine cones. 
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Mid-afternoon yesterday we smelled skunk in the woods.  Shortly thereafter two playful fawns emerged from the same area.  Our youngest dog was fixated on the same section of woods before the skunk sprayed.  The horse (deer?) flies were driving these fawns insane. 

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Note flies on “shoulder blade.”

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My husband and I were twenty feet from these deer, as they were just off the edge of the driveway.  My dog watched through the window and finally started whining, which caused the fawns to run back to the woods.

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Tadpole that neighbor’s child found at lake edge.
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A victim of wind and inattention.
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This white duck/goose (what is it?) stands out along the shoreline.  It has been in the same location for a few weeks.  Note the female and chick in the background.  There are two ducklings but you can only see one in this photo.  Duckling is at base of mother’s chest.

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Osprey catching lunch.

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Herpetology

For reasons I cannot fathom, my husband does not find countless turtle pictures nearly as interesting as I do.  So, here you go:

This gal came up onto the lawn (sand pile) as my second big turtle (snapper, rather than red-eared) sighting for the season.  Note the bit of shell (a “scute”) that is peeling at the rear of her shell.

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She wasted no time in circling, laying and heading back to the lake.

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Much to my surprise I can remain motionless for a long time propped up on my elbows on a paint-peeled porch to capture film of insanely slow (deliberate? patient?) mama turtles.  I do not envy them even a tiny bit.

I believe that the very next day I had my third snapper sighting in a week.

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I think she’s lovely.  Clearly I missed my calling about thirty years ago.

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I especially like how these ladies come to handle their business without regard for the slugs and leaves they are dragging with them.  But then again I’ve spent only limited time with jelly-and-snot strewn children and so probably should not be surprised at all that this mama hasn’t got time to fix herself up.

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Unfortunately their eggs do not survive the night.  Ever. A track left in the sand matched near the eggs left by this turtle matched up with a weasel print.  We also have a skunk that does nightly rounds at about the time my old lady dog needs to go out.  Not sure who to blame.  The first night (maybe after my first turtle, posted a few days ago) I put a milk crate over the eggs (or over the hole in which she’d hidden the eggs about six inches down under hard-packed dirt) and put three pieces of slate on top to anchor it down.  A critter climbed into the crate and dug out the eggs.

So….

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Being heavy on ambition and light on talent, I rigged up a milk crate that was not only anchored with slate but surrounded by it too.  Of course I have never played that video game (Tetrus?) where you make shapes fit together and I nearly failed tenth grade geometry, so I had to include some sticks into the bargain…

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Honestly, if you don’t love me yet there must be something wrong with you.  I kill me.  I think my husband may want to kill me…

Despite my undeniable cleverness, the eggs were eaten.  A weasel (I matched a print) dug a lovely hole under this Hunger-Games like apparatus.

Here is what I’ve learned: my dogs like to eat turtle egg shells and the little kids around the corner are young enough to believe me when I tell them the egg shell remains belong to already-hatched turtles.  Oh – and half a turtle shell fits on child’s fingertips as nicely as do black Thanksgiving olives.

And just when you think the turtles and weasels couldn’t be anymore entertaining, along comes a door toad:

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Now I need to sleep.  And then (alas!!) I need to earn some income.  Had to get these photos out to you so I can focus on much less exciting things.

A Turtle in the Field and A Rainbow in Someone’s Cloud

Late last week I was so pleased to glance up and see the clouds had given way to a sunset that threw orange light on the lake, an apology for seven weeks of clouds and rain.

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Several nights later, after a rain that fell briefly from angry clouds, I looked out toward the fields and saw a double rainbow.   I do not recall what I thought about rainbows when I was a little girl, although today these multicolored arcs made by light striking water droplets inspire joy and sorrow.  I always feel like I’ve won a prize at the fair when I am treated to the sight of a rainbow (single or double).  But I am also reminded of two particular individuals who’ve departed too soon from earth, at separate times and compliments of distinct cancer diagnoses.  What do rainbows mean to you?

In Maya Angelou’s Letter to My Daughter (Random House, 2008) she urges the reader to “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”  I think she was on to something.  I notice she didn’t say, “But only if they look like you or vote like you or smile at you first.”

Today’s weather would have required that we be a fan in somebody’s window.  Today was hot.  I mean HOT.  For Maine, anyhow.  Ozone levels were dangerously high, which should be no surprise since Maine’s geographic location makes us the “tail pipe” of the nation.  That is, pollution from other states blows in on the Gulf Stream and dirties up our air and lungs.

So it seems like maybe today was too hot for this snapper to climb two hundred feet up the slope of our yard to lay eggs.

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I feel like this old gal is plain tired and grouchy, but I’m probably reading her all wrong.

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Eventually she headed for the rock wall that separates lawn from forest.

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Hiding in the leaves – or resting in the shade?

turtle hide and seekHer handy work below.  May not look like much to us, but it means the world to her (even if she wouldn’t quite put it that way.)

turtle egg siteI’d rather have a backyard that creates breeding habitat for wildlife than a manicured lawn that grows lush with chemical assistance.