Weekly Notes, August 4, 2013


Atlantis Fritillary Butterfly

The fritillary family of butterflies use only 4 of their 6 legs when walking across a flower.  Look closely in the picture above and you might notice the front pair of legs unused and being held close to the body.  I observed several Atlantis Fritillary butterflies feeding on nector on both thistle and Joe-Pye-weed plants.

In the news recently are the possible sightings of Great White Sharks off the southern Maine coastal waters.  Sharks appreciate warmer water temperatures which have been mid to high 60F in recent weeks as observed from this buoy off of Portland at the National Buoy Data Center…

Conservation work in the protection of Seals has also improved the availability of an important food source for the sharks.  The young harbor seal pup pictured below shows just how serious a shark bite can be.  Fortunately for this little one, it was brought to the University of New England Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center in Biddeford where it will be cared for until it can be released back into the wild.   The reality of a healthy ecosystem isn’t always easy on our human emotions, seals play an important role as both predator and prey.

Seal with shark bite

Seal pup injured from Shark bite.

There hasn’t been a quiet moment in the weather across the state of Maine yet this year.  The month of July was no exception. In Caribou the average temperature was 67.6, Bangor 70.4 and Portland 71.6 degrees, each slightly above normal.  Portland reported a high of 95F on the 19th and on the cool side Estcourt station reported a low of 33F on the 22nd.

The southern and mid portions of the state received less than the average rainfall with Portland reporting 3.36 inches and Bangor 3.74, northern and downeast parts of the state reported significant rainfall with Caribou at 7.27 and Baileyville at 10.14 inches of rainfall.

A tornado was confirmed northwest of Danforth in Washington County on the 18th.

The National Weather Service is not anticipating any unusual weather activity during the month of August but since we are in Maine, we shall wait and see on that prediction.

More good news for Alewives and other anadromous fish with the dismantling of the Veazie Dam on the Penobscot River.  Click here for an article in the NYTimes….

Veazie Dam

Breaching the Veazie Dam

Pictured below is a Piping Plover fledgling on the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge.  These little creatures nest directly on the sand dunes where their first method of defense is to stand perfectly still so that they can camouflage themselves into the landscape.  Please be mindful of any signs indicating nest locations.  Once hatched, the chicks are able to feed themselves and will stay near the protection of their parents while foraging within the tidal zone along the sand beaches.

Piping Plover fledglings

Piping Plover fledglings