Nature

  • Cottongrass calls to mind cottontails

    Cottongrass calls to mind cottontails

    Tussock cottongrass thrives in one spot alongside my driveway, and its white cottony tops make an interesting scene. It is a perennial herb of wetlands, and you can see it in many places on this island. There is no problem recognizing it, for the white tufts on the end of the stems look just like

  • Yellow garden spider interesting, useful

    Yellow garden spider interesting, useful

    Most birds start their families in the spring, but the colorful yellow-and-black goldfinches we so enjoy sometimes wait even into September to start their families. This is probably because the young are fed largely on semidigested seeds that the parents regurgitate directly into their mouths. Earlier in the season, there would not be enough seeds

  • Painted ladies spied in Bar Harbor

    Painted ladies spied in Bar Harbor

    You just never know when Mother Nature’s going to surprise you with something interesting. In front of one of my favorite small stores in Bar Harbor this week, I saw in their flower garden numerous painted lady butterflies sitting on the flowers. It was a feast for the eyes and would have made photographers very

  • Glasswort a tasty treat

    Glasswort a tasty treat

    We are just about to step over into September, when we start looking for a bit of color to appear in our native trees. The event brings many travelers to New England and especially this island. Now is a good time to walk the shoreline of our island and take note of what is going

  • Spider webs are functional, beautiful

    Spider webs are functional, beautiful

    Early one morning, I discovered numerous spider webs on the dewy grass, making interesting patterns. The webs looked like very fine, lacy handkerchiefs spread out to dry on the grass. It was hard to see the creature that had made this unique “trap,” but I could see the little funnel-shaped portion where it was hiding.

  • Avian chorus sings along

    Avian chorus sings along

    “All God’s critters got a place in the choir, Some sing low, some sing higher, Some sing out loud on the telephone wire, And some just clap their hands, or paws or anything they got now … .” This children’s song came to mind at the traditional sunset service on Somes Sound Sunday. The people

  • Clintonia blue berries are beauts

    Clintonia blue berries are beauts

    Native Americans call August “the month when the berries are ripe,” and a feast it is for both man and beast if you know which ones to eat. Nightshade berries are a brilliant red in August, and although they look tempting, never eat them, for they are very poisonous. I find this plant especially interesting

  • Pileated woodpecker no longer a recluse

    Pileated woodpecker no longer a recluse

    Summer is racing along, flowers are abundant, and wildlife is full of surprises everywhere. I got to see a lovely pileated woodpecker this week just a few steps from my screened porch. Apparently, it has been working away at a dead stump for a while, and I had just never seen it. This woodpecker is

  • Toxic giant hogweed here on MDI

    Toxic giant hogweed here on MDI

    I saw the giant hogweed plant mentioned on Facebook this week. This is a plant that grows on Mount Desert Island. The plant is huge; it can grow to 14 feet high. It is quite attractive even though very toxic. Large clusters of white flowers are at the top of the plant in an umbrella

  • Water lily lures the eye

    Water lily lures the eye

    Pickerel weed is especially beautiful this month on island ponds as spikes of blue-violet flowers surrounded by large green arrow-shaped leaves rise above the water. Clearly visible, too, are the handsome white flowers of white water lily blossoms. Canoeists and kayakers actually get the best views of interesting water plants, for they can glide right