Weekly Notes – May 26, 2013

Common Yellowthroat

Witchety Witchety Witchey The Common Yellowthroat is a warbler found throughout the state in shrubs along moist field edges and other open wetlands.  The male boosts a black mask and bright yellow throat making him easy to identify.  The female is much duller in color and does not have the mask.  Click here to learn more about them at Cornell All About Birds.com

Have you ever seen Cedar Apple Rust in bloom?  This fungus (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae), also known as CAR affects apple trees east of the Rockies by blemishing the fruit and defoliating the trees.  In the winter months, it needs to be hosted by a cedar tree where during spring rains the galls ‘bloom’, releasing spores that find their way back to nearby apple trees.  The blooms resemble jelly-like horns that are called Telia.  I have observed the fungus on this tree for about 8 years and it doesn’t seem to be causing significant damage.  The galls are barely noticeable during the remainder of the year.  This tree is in Kittery, Dma&g map 1.   Click here for a life-cycle diagram of Cedar Apple Rust

Over the next few weeks I will highlight Non-native species of concern.  Whether you call them pests, aliens, invasive, introduced or simply unwanted species, they can be a plant, animal or fungus that has been introduced in some way to the ecosystem where it is now found.  These organisms are of concern when they out compete with native species within the ecosystem threatening the diversity and health of the entire system in its natural state.

Species have been introduced intentionally and accidentally since the arrival of the European settlers to early America in the seventeenth century.  Today, an unfortunate side effect of Globalization in the twenty first century is the ability of organisms to hitch a ride to new places undetected.  Some of the newer arrivals are insects that have no predators and are thus able to cause significant damage if left unchecked.

This week’s unwanted species is Garlic Mustard.  This is a plant that most likely would have been introduced intentionally into gardens as an herb.  However it has escaped and under the right conditions found in damp open areas beneath deciduous trees, this plant becomes prolific in taking over habitat therefore out competing with native herbaceous plants.  If you find Garlic Mustard in bloom, now is the time to pull the entire plant from the ground and dispose of it.  Click here to learn more about Garlic Mustard ....

The weather has been unseasonably cold and wet this past week with thunderstorms in the southern portions of the state and warnings of localized flooding in Washington and Aroostook Counties along smaller streams.

The amphibian species suffer during dry springs but the ground nesting bird species suffer during wet springs.  I guess that is part of nature’s balance but nonetheless, we are fortunate to live where water is plentiful.

The rain, wind and cool temperatures do keep the Black Flies down but as soon as things clear we’ll all be doing the black fly dance again.  I was outside on Friday, at Dma&g map 50 , T3R11 and Dma&g map 44, Molunkus where they were not noticeable although I received one bite.  Most likely I disturbed its shelter in the leaf litter while hiking.  I’ve got my bottle of Bye Bye Black Fly repellant at the ready for when the weather clears up, they are sure to be intense.

Keep your eye on the report link and do send us your Black Fly observations.  We receive weekly questions about these tiny infamous creatures of the woods from folks from away and want to give them an account of the rugged wilds this state is known for.  Click here for the Black Fly Report

Fawn IF&S‘If You Care Leave them There’ is the motto to remember if you happen upon baby animals in the wild.  Unless you know that the parent has been injured or killed don’t assume baby animals have been abandoned.  This is the message from IF&W in a recent press release that you can read here.….  Some species such as Seals are protected from human contact by federal law that states you must stay 150 feet away from seals that are on land.  If you have any concerns about wildlife that appears abandoned please contact local authorities.

Turtle SignTurtles are often seen crossing roadways this time of year and in more popular areas of southern Maine signs have been erected to warn drivers when they are in an area turtles may be seen.  If safe to do so, The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick (York) recommends picking the turtle up and moving it to the side of the road in the same direction it was traveling in.  Of course if it is a snapping turtle do stay away from it as these creatures can inflict serious bites.  CFW does take in injured turtles for rehabilitation.  If a turtle is found that has been hit, contact them directly at this link.

Pictured below are Greater Yellowlegs with Herring Gull observed in Kittery Dma&g map1

Greater Yellowlegs with Herring Gull

Greater Yellowlegs with Herring Gull