Nature

  • Butterflies, moths clearly differ

    Butterflies, moths clearly differ

    You never know when nature is going to surprise you with a special treat as you go out and about woods and fields. Just outside a friend’s house on a flowering rhododendron, they discovered abundant tiger swallowtail butterflies. These gorgeous butterflies are very colorful, and their color can vary sometimes, although, locally these lovely butterflies

  • Iris roots contain toxin

    Iris roots contain toxin

    Wild iris is blooming at the edges of my pond. This lovely wildflower looks much like those found in gardens. Its Latin name is Iris versicolor. Watch for patches of this lovely wildflower now growing in wet fields, woods and island ponds. The flowers are purple and marked with white and yellow. They have conspicuous

  • Porcupine flees from bobcat growl

    Porcupine flees from bobcat growl

    A friend of mine was looking out her window this past week and suddenly saw a porcupine running out of the woods at high speed, at least it was high speed for this usually slow-moving creature. Every once in awhile, it would look back and then kept going in a rush across the wide lawn

  • Prime time for plumage

    Prime time for plumage

    The song of a hermit thrush is like none other and very special as the day ends. You hear its lovely song far more often than you see the bird itself. Hermit thrushes are very shy birds living in both deciduous and evergreen forests. They seem to crave privacy. The hermit thrush slightly resembles the

  • Harbor seals should be left alone

    Harbor seals should be left alone

    May moves right along spreading color and beauty and beautiful sounds to the outside world here on our island. The delicate first leaves on our trees are special now and still let us get good views of the returning nesting birds. Later, when the leaves are fully out, it will be hard to see the

  • Goldthread name comes from roots

    Goldthread name comes from roots

    The peeper chorus is at full column theses spring nights. It sounds to me like hundreds of sleigh bells ringing in our wetlands large and small. Each of our amphibians has a different voice, and it’s always fun to pick out a familiar voice in the swampland chorus. There are many electronic aids such as

  • Coltsfoot likes wet ‘feet’

    Coltsfoot likes wet ‘feet’

    New spring migrants arrive every day, and new plants are coming in woods and fields. Spring is moving along and very welcome here on Mount Desert Island. The leaves of Canada mayflower are poking up, and coltsfoot is in bloom, as is leatherleaf. This last mentioned leatherleaf, Chamaedaphne calyculata, is really an evergreen shrub growing

  • Brant geese return

    Brant geese return

    Spring is a wonderful time of year for nature writers; there is so much going on in the natural world. Brant geese recently have been seen at the Trenton Bridge. They appear there each year in March and April, and some linger into May. They are smaller geese than the Canadian geese we see here

  • Marsh hawk may have multiple mates

    Marsh hawk may have multiple mates

    A large bird was flying low over a field at the side of the road and then crossed in front of a friend of mine in Lamoine this past week. She was seeing a beautiful avian glider called the “northern harrier” or “marsh hawk.” This large hawk has a beautiful flight. It glides low over

  • Herons are harbingers of spring

    Herons are harbingers of spring

    Great blue herons have arrived once again into our area of Maine; the sights and pleasures of a new spring season are slowly appearing. These magnificent herons are with us for many months and are seen along the shore areas and in and about island ponds, lakes and streams They are big birds, standing about