Weekly Notes – April 28, 2013


Cowslip or Marsh Marigold

Each spring I love to see the bright yellow blossoms of the Cowslips (Caltha palustris).  Also known as the Marsh Marigold, flowers have 5 regular parts, with alternating heartshaped leaves that are toothed.  One of the earliest and most showy of the spring flowers, this member of the Buttercup Family are found in swamps and wet meadows.

hummingbird ruby-throated maleThe Journey North maps show Hummingbirds arriving in Maine.  I haven’t observed one yet but the feeders are filled in anticipation of their return.  In years when I have been late in putting the feeders out the little creatures will look in through the window at me as if to say ‘Hey, we’re here, did you forget about us’?  Click here to look at the maps…..

Spotted salamanders are laying their eggs.

Joan in Skowhegan Dma&g map 21 writes, Today I have been cleaning up my flower gardens and interrupted the snakes pictured below.  I observed the snakes for about an hour. The party broke up and the snakes spread all through the garden and swam around the little pond and appeared to be having a great time!

Garter Snakes

Garter Snakes basking in the April Sun

Jed in Kittery, Dma&g map 1 found this Brown Snake under the leaves near the compost pile.

Brown Snake

Brown Snake

We turn the calendars once again this week.  Higher elevations report that the snow is disappearing quickly and the last of Maine’s lakes and ponds will soon report ice-out.  The last quarter moon is on the 2nd.  Click here for Bernie Reim’s May Astronomy Report in the Portland Press Herald....

Public Policy is a new category found on our menu.  Throughout the history of human culture our relationship with the natural world has been deeply entwined with our moral and ethical values.  Society is continually faced with the question of how to balance the needs of humans with the sustainability of natural resources.  Our new Public Policy category focuses on human actions that impact the health of organisms and ecosystems in the State of Maine from the point of view of Nature in hopes that we can make informed decisions regarding issues of concern.  The first topic is a link from Maine Audubon covering information and a hearing on Open Pit Mining.

We have a link on the menu for Volunteer & Events.  Hover over the link to access the drop down list of organizations.  If you have a favorite organization that you would like to see listed here, please connect us via email listed on the LEFT side of our news page.

?Question: What animal does this tail belong to?

The picture on the left is the top of the mystery tail.   Fred says, “I found this on 25 April, after the rain.  I assume it was there less than a day, and probably harvested by a Barred owl.  I’ve seen these owls around.  I’ve never seen mink tracks around, but I have seen weasel, but this looks too big and doesn’t fit with color, as I assume it was a youngster of something”.  The picture on the right is of the bottom of the tail.