Weekly Notes January 27, 2013

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl in Kennebunk Dma&g map 3

Maine plays host to many winter species of birds that are residents of the far north such as this Snowy Owl.  These owls are active during the day and are often found in open fields and beaches along the coast.  This owl was seen in Kennebunk Dma&g Map 3

Whaleback Light

Whaleback light with seasmoke rising at sunrise. Kittery Dma&g map 1

This week’s frigid arctic blast brought temperature readings across the entire state below zero with dangerous wind chill values deep into the negative thirties in the north.  While hardy Maine folk were dealing with the coldest days of the year, residents in Barrow, Alaska celebrated the sunrise for the first time since November 18, 2012.  They had 43 minutes of daylight, that’s approximately 9 hours less than we had in Maine.

The snow cover has dropped in the past two weeks.  See the NOAA map here…..

During the coldest weather, deer in the north stay tucked into their wintering yards.  Their objective is to conserve energy rather than to venture far from the Spruce/Fir cover where they would risk calorie loss and predation.  The north woods are cold and quiet as Forest Ranger J. Blackstone can attest from a winter’s night in a woods camp.  This picture is from Chesuncook Dam looking west toward Spencer Mt. over one lonely ice shack.

Chesuncook Lake

Chesuncook Dam west to Spencer Mt Dma&g map 50

A report from Munsungan Lake Dma&g map 56 that 2/3rds of the ice cut last weekend  was poor quality for long-term storage.  Some of the Camps in the remote areas still cut winter ice for the summer ice house.  Good quality ice is thick with strong layers of frozen lake water that has a clear black color, however this year’s freeze had slush mixed in creating a porous quality that won’t hold it’s frozen form into the summer even when packed in sawdust.

The Surf Scooters pictured above don’t mind the winter saltwater temperatures in the 40’s.  A day trip along the coast with a pair of binoculars might reward you with an observation of these and other sea ducks diving for fish in close to the rocks.  These were observed in Kittery, Dma&g Map 1.  Below is a winter picture of Matinicus with 15 degree afternoon temps at the beach.  Actually quite balmy when compared to the rest of the state due in part to the island being surrounded by water approx. 25 degrees warmer than the air.

This week is a Waning Gibbous moon that moves the high tides from approximately 12 a.m./p.m. at the Full Moon to 6 a.m/p.m. at the Quarter Moon.  When the moon rises at the horizon, the tide is low.  As the moon rises to it’s highest point in the sky, the tide follows and then wanes again as the moon sets in the west.  The same is true on the opposite 12 hour cycle.  Gives you something to ponder on a winter day.


Matinicus at 15F Dma&g map 9