Weekly Notes – April 21, 2013

honey bee in flightD’Arcy Ames captured this honeybee collecting pollen from the crocus’ in her yard in Auburn. Dma&g map 5.

The ice is out in West Grand Lake, Dma&g map 35.  The smelt are running on the Lower West Branch of the Penobscot Dma&g map 43.  There is still snow cover and ice on ponds and lakes in the higher elevations along the western boundaries of the state.

The Maine Wildlife Park in Gray opened last weekend.  I visited this past week with a young friend and was rewarded with the opportunity to see the animals in the park up close and personal.  If you haven’t been to the park, or its been a while, do make the time to visit.  The chance to see these wild creatures up close is truly amazing.  My favorites are always the wildcats, of which they have cougar, lynx and bobcat, but all of the animals have something to teach in their habits.  The foxes were lounging in the sun, the moose were in the cool shade of the trees, the coyote was trotting along in his well-worn paths and the bears, well one was flopped under a log like a lazy teen still wanting for the comfort of deep sleep while the other nibbled at the handouts being tossed over the fence.  Click here for the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray…..

Black Bear MWP

Black Bear at Maine Wildlife Park

Maine Nature News is introducing Volunteer and Events found in the top menu.  This week there are two items listed, one from Maine Audubon looking for volunteers to “Lend an Ear” to listen for frogs while the Stanton Bird Club has posted their April/May Schedule and Newsletter.  Click here to learn more....

Sharp-Shinned Hawks are the smallest member of the Accipiter Family found in Maine.  Commonly known as Bird Hawks, members of this family prey primarily on birds and some small mammals.  They are adapted for navigating around trees in the woods.  Overhead a Sharp-Shinned can be identified by its small head with no neck, rounded wings and a long tail with a narrow white tip.  They fly with quick wing beats and a glide.  Only slightly larger than a Blue-jay, these birds can be confused in flight with Kestrels which are in the Falcon family, Kestrels have pointed wings and a dark band on a rufous tail and fly with continuous wing beats.  The picture below is courtesy of Paul Cyr Photography...

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Sharp-Shinned Hawk in Presque Isle Courtesy of Paul Cyr Dma&g map 65

This week we celebrate Earth Day.  It is a great opportunity to make an ‘Earth Day Resolution’ to get outside and observe nature first hand.

You can start with the Lyrid Meteor Shower as it peaks in the dark morning hours of the 22nd. Make a journal entry of your observation and you will have a start on the nature journal you always intended to keep.  Although I keep several writing journals detailing family events and travel experiences, my nature journals are the most fun to reflect on year after year.  An entry may only describe the brief moments of an observation but the words hold a complete memoir of my time spent in nature year after year that are always a joy to revisit.

This week’s Waxing Gibbous Moon will be Full on the 25th.

This past week I observed this fern in its beginning stages of growth.  Looking back at my nature journal and pictures from one year ago, these ferns were at a similar observation point, but many of the small shrubs in the area had also begun to leaf out which, as can be seen in the picture has not happened this past week. I will continue to make regular observations to identify this species as it unfurls using A Field Guide to the Ferns of New England and Adjacent New York by Michael Burgess found here...



  1. Great sharpie picture.