Weekly Notes, May 5, 2013


Bluets on the lawn, it surely must be spring! Also known as Quaker Ladies or Innocence they do remind of me of childhood days when I’d find them in the lower part of the field where the cows always kept the grass short.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck with female mallard in background courtesy of Paul Cyr

The male Wood Duck pictured above is in the Dabbling Duck Family.  These ducks, like the female mallard that is also in the picture, feed  by dabbling and upending to reach small aquatic animals, plants and insects.  They are usually found on ponds and in marshes and like the name suggests, fly up and perch in trees!  They are very shy and will quickly fly when approached.

Alewife fish ladder

Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder

Very exciting news this week is the Alewife run.  Once thought a thing of the past, the term brings up images of spring festivals where women compete in a running event for a fermented beverage.  Not so.  As Alewives are making a comeback we are learning more about this anadromous fish.  Like Salmon, smelt, shad and sturgeon, alewives are born in fresh water, spend most of their lives in salt water and return to fresh water to spawn.  The picture above shows the new Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder at the headwaters of the Damariscotta River  Dma&g map 7.

As 18th century civilization pushed forward into the countryside, waterways were used as a power resource.  The building of dams blocked the path for once abundant species to reach their spawning grounds.  The picture above shows the beautiful new ladder where the fish can travel from the river up through the pools into Damariscotta Lake.  This years fish run began on April 21st and is ‘full on’ as shown by the picture below.  Click here to learn more about the success of the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Project.

Alewives fill the fish ladder

Alewives fill the fish ladder.

To learn more about the Alewife in Maine read Tom Walsh’s article in the Bangor Daily  Restoration efforts put spotlight on once plentiful alewives

Speaking of Anadromous fish, this Shortnose Sturgeon was found washed up on the beach in Wells. Dma&g map 3  Click here to learn more about this Endangered Species.

Shortnose Sturgeon

Endangered Shortnose Sturgeon

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has reported an illegal introduction of Smallmouth Bass in Kimball Pond in Vienna Dma&g map 20.  The significance of this is the threat to the native Brook Trout population.  The Press Release and other information can be found under Public Policy or click here....

The fire danger is high across the state as a period of dry weather continues into next week.  The North Maine Woods has a ban on all campfires at this time.  I am glad not to be out on a canoe trip, makes it hard to cook the biscuits without a campfire.

The moon will be New on the 9th.  Watch as the Waning Crescent gradually disappears each morning into the eastern sky and the tides become high midday.

Ice is reported out across the state and the amphibians are calling in the northwest elevations. This Spotted Salamander was observed crawling over the moss in T3R11 Dma&g map 50.

Spotted Salamander on Mos

Spotted Salamander on Moss

This Pickerel Frog was seen in Kittery Dma&g map 1  An easy rhyme to identify ~ the voice of the Pickerel Frog creaks like a rusty door hinge with square spots and the underside of its hind legs painted orange.

Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog

Last but not least the Coltsfoot is in bloom across Maine.  Found along the edges of dirt roads and other damp waste places, this is one of the earliest wildflowers to blossom.  Flowers are similar to dandelions but have a scaly stalk and flower before the leaves appear.  Coltsfoot