Weekly Notes March 31, 2013

Turkey Tom

Turkey in display, note the bronze iridescent feathers and the beard on the chest. Kittery Dma&g map 1

Notice how quickly things change once the vernal full moon has passed.  The lengthening days and warm rays from the sun beckon life to renew itself once again.  Although there is snow in most places across the state, the birds are as anxious as us humans for the new season.  Along with the Turkey pictured above, there are reports of Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs and a Painted Turtle pictured below all in Kittery, Dma&g map 1.  Woodcock have made their way to northern Washington County, Dma&g map 45.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle basking in Kittery, Dma&g map 1

It is not unusual for turtles to be active below the ice as they wait for the edges of the pond to melt.  After a winter spent sleeping in the muddy bottom of a swamp, a sunbath warms their bodies allowing these cold-blooded reptiles to become more active.  It is a time when the delicate balance of energy conservation is challenged by its need to find food.  Turtles feed on invertebrates and vegetation below the surface where the water temps can hover below 40F degrees throughout the cold months.

The pussy willows pictured above were out last week in Morrill, Dma&g map 14.  The bud of the male catkin is a sure sign of spring in Maine.  These were found along a damp edge of an open field.  Looking closer I realized there was a bird nest built into the crook of the shrub.  The last picture shows the inside of the nest, perfectly round, but notice how the nest is attached to the branches.  The bird used a very strong white material that binds the woven cup securely tight.

It is illegal to disturb or collect bird nests but they are very interesting to look at.  Below are three more nest that I observed this past week.  It is interesting to note where the nests are located, what materials they are made of and how they are attached.

We gained one hour and twenty-seven minutes of daylight during March.  The last quarter moon is on the 3rd then watch for the waning crescent toward the east before daylight.  A 1.7M Earthquake was reported on March 30th in No Windham, for more information from the USGS website on earthquakes click here...

Send along your observations as the signs of spring move across the state.

This last picture is of a Red-Shouldered hawk observed in Skowhegan, Dma&g map 21.  The RSH is a member of the Buteo family, when flying overhead, the body and wing lining show rusty and the tail has white bands that are narrower than the dark bands.

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawk Skowhegan Dma&g map 21