Weekly Notes – September 1, 2013

Lobster calico

Calico lobster

Have you ever seen a calico lobster?  Lobsters can occasionally have different patterns of red/brown or sometimes even blue!  This lobster was caught off of Kittery by James Lawrence and because it is pretty enough to keep has gone to live at The Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, just across the waters of the Piscataqua River.

Monarch butterflyIs anyone seeing Monarch butterflies?  I have seen two and hear reports of folks seeing a few.  The next two weeks are the height of their migration south from Maine.

In researching the reasons for their decline, concerns seem to center on loss of habitat, primarily the Milkweed plant, the use of pesticides and unfavorable weather.

Click here for a link to an article published this week in Toronto’s The Globe and Mail with Donald Davis who has been tagging butterflies since 1967…..

Click here for a link to an article published this week by North Country Public Radio with Chip Taylor one of America’s leading monarch experts.

Click here for a link to report your sightings on the Monarch Butterfly migration page at Journey North…..


The Appledore Island Bird Banding Station at the Isles of Shoals is reporting migration activity of “Hundreds of swallows and…New birds for the season were a Black-billed Cuckoo and a Yellow-breasted Chat, and Blue-winged Warblers (always a pleasure).”  The Shoals, as they are affectionately known, are a group of islands located about six miles off the coast where the state line between Maine/New Hampshire runs between them.

Joan in Skowhegan Dma&g map 21 writes:     Here is a brief report of activity in my yard…….A few days ago I surprised a short-tail shrew farther out in the mowed area of the yard than usual. As a rule they make very quick trips away from the cover of long grass and shrubs. So I got a good look this time before it noticed me.

A female Baltimore Oriole was around yesterday showing at least 3 youngsters the ropes—where to get a drink [birdbath] and where to look for insects.

Dragonflies are back in significant number after being very scarce earlier.

A week ago I put 2 Tomato Hornworms in a terrarium and today they seem to be thinking about pupating as they are trying to burrow into the dirt. I may need to add more dirt.

Only 1 Monarch butterfly has been in the yard and it really only passed on its way somewhere else, Very few sightings of other butterflies here.

I had an opportunity to watch a pair of House Finches raise their family in a hanging fern under a porch roof.  Once the nest was built on July 11th, the three eggs were laid one each day July 12-13-14th.  Once hatched, the nestlings grew fast, on August 8th they still seemed rather feeble except to tip their heads back to be fed.  Only 8 days later they were fledged and too big for them all to fit into the nest, on August 17th they had flown away.


House Finches are found in the southern and coastal regions of Maine, they prefer suburban habitats and often nest near people.  They are native to the western US and were introduced in NYC as recently as the 1940s.

National Weather Service in Caribou is reporting the 2nd wettest summer on record with 18.9 inches of rain, second only behind 2011.  The southern portions of the state did not receive as much precipitation and in many places is very dry.   The past week’s unsettled weather and humidity generated rainfall inland however the coast remained only fogged in.

Have you noticed the days are getting shorter?  Since August 1st we have lost over an hour of daylight!  The New moon is on September 5th, making conditions for excellent star gazing this week.    Click here for Bernie Riem’s September Astronomy Report in the Portland Press Herald


Click here to view Volunteer and Events column for new  items posted this week ……. If your non-profit organization has an event or volunteer opportunity please send it along for posting.

Pam Wells submitted this photo titled “The Million Dollar View.” It is on Morrison Ridge Road somewhere between… well somewhere between. No town names available.

Morrison Ridge Road