Saturday, July 30, 2011

Home Sweet Home

We received this wonderful care package from Mark's mother. This area of Maine isn't big on Mexican food!

Thanks Keith!

Schoodic Peninsula - Day 2

Lynn and Jane picked us up for breakfast this morning then it was on to Acadia National Park. We drove the Schoodic Peninsula.

We drove the 6-mile, one-way loop road. It's a two lane road with lots of turnouts. The views were amazing.

We went on a short hike on the Anvil Trail then drove on to Schoodic point.

Mark, Lynn, and Jane

At the Point we spent a while taking pictures and watching the waves.

Herring Gulls

Immature Bald Eagle

Common Eider

[Geologist call the bands of black rock “dikes.” Magma (molten rock) from deep below the Earth’s crust pushed up and intruded into the granite bedrock, then cooled to form these dark vertical planes of diabase. Some dikes on the peninsula measure over 150 feet wide.]

We were lucky enough to see a few Bottlenose Dolphins!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Green Lake and Craig Brook National Fish Hatcheries - Day 1

We've been so busy lately I've gotten behind on the blog! I'm going to post about our last couple of days off and then go back to our vacation.

We just got back from visiting our friends Lynn and Jane. They are volunteers at the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery that is located in Ellsworth, Maine (Lynn and Jane had the RV site next to us when we were volunteering at Santa Ana NWR in Texas).

We arrived at their RV early Tuesday morning and, after spending a couple of hours catching up and visiting, they took us on a fascinating tour of the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery. This blog post would be a lot more interesting if I had taken my camera with me on the tour!

Green Lake Hatchery rears approximately 1,000,000 fish annually. These annual releases currently account for 70% of the USA home water returns of adult Atlantic salmon.

Each winter, eggs, received from Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery’s brood stock facility, are disinfected and placed in trays in the incubation room at Green Lake.

As the eggs begin to hatch (March), they’re moved to tanks in the fry nursery area. The hatched eggs are now “fry” and remain in the nursery until they are about three months old. Fry are routinely moved from the nursery area to larger outdoor tanks to prevent over-crowding.

After this wonderful tour, we went back to their RV where Jane made a fabulous lunch. I also discovered I had my camera with me all along-good grief!

After lunch we drove over to the Craig Brook Fish Hatchery in East Orland, Maine.

Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery was established in 1889 to raise and stock juvenile Atlantic salmon for Maine waters. The Hatchery raises one species of salmon - sea-run Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

Since Lynn and Jane know the employees and volunteer couple at this fish hatchery, we were given a personal, behind-the-scene, tour with one of the employees. He was very informative and we had a great time.

Employee only area


There is also a wonderful Atlantic Salmon Flyfishing Museum at the hatchery.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacation - Day 4 - Petit Manan NWR

We went on a wonderful hike today in the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge.

The Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuges span over 200 miles of Maine coastline and contain 49 offshore islands and four coastal parcels, totaling more than 8,000 acres.

The Birch Point Trail (four miles round trip) begins in a blueberry field and leads to the saltmarshes of Dyer Bay, passing through a mixed-wood forest. At the end of the trail someone had thoughtfully set Adirondack chairs.

Each little dot you see in the water is a lobster buoy.

White-faced Meadowhawk

Common Yellowthroat

American Goldfinch

View from the chairs.

End of the trail.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacation - Day 3 - Bar Harbor

Maine is well known for its lobster fishing industry. In fact, almost 90% of all American lobsters are trapped in Maine.

On the third day of our vacation, we explored the area around Bar Harbor, Maine. The waters around Bar Harbor are prime lobster areas, and we saw thousands of buoys out in the bays. Each buoy is attached to a lobster pot, and each lobster fisherman has a unique color scheme for his buoys.

We watched this lobster boat "Jane" as it worked the waters of Frenchman Bay.

These classic wooden lobster boats are around 35' long, and are typically handled by a single fisherman. The buoy is snagged, and the connecting rope is used to haul the pot to the surface. Lobsters of the proper size are kept, and the other catch (small lobsters, crabs, fish) are thrown back into the water. The boats are closely attended by gulls who are eager to grab the smaller morsels as they are returned to the sea.

Once the lobster pot is emptied, it is re-baited and returned to the water.

There are hundreds of different color patterns on the buoys, and we got pictures of several. Can you match the buoy picture below to the buoys being used on the Jane??

(Hint: you may need to enlarge the first lobster boat picture)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vacation - Day 2 (Part 1)

We got an early start and headed to Quoddy Head State Park. When Mark and I were here last month it was raining so we didn’t spend any time hiking the area. It wasn’t raining this day but the fog was very thick.

[In 1808, West Quoddy Head Light became the easternmost lighthouse in the United States. Its light and fog cannon warned mariners of Quoddy's dangerous cliffs, ledges, and Sail Rock. Among the first to use a fog bell and later a steam-powered foghorn, this lighthouse greatly reduced shipwrecks in this foggy area, even as shipping increased. In 1858, the present red-and-white tower replaced the original. Monitored and serviced by the U. S. Coast Guard, its light still shines through its original third-order Fresnel lens. After automation in 1988, the light station became part of adjacent Quoddy Head State Park.]

Click on video to hear the Quoddy Head Foghorn
(Make sure your speakers are turned on!)

Through the fog we were able to see a few birds.

Herring Gull
Bald Eagle

Quoddy Head Lighthouse

Foggy shoreline

Vacation - Day 2 (Part 2)

There are some really nice hiking trails in Quoddy Head State Park. We walked the Arctic Bog Trail.

West Quoddy Head Bog covers approximately seven acres and is the easternmost open peatland in the US.

Peat, in its natural state, is about 90% moisture and 10% organic matter and is the first stage in the formation of coal. It is the partially decayed remains of plants that accumulated in moist places, such as marshes and swamps. It forms at a rate of 4-15 inches every 1,000 years.

Although we have seen several beautiful Pitcher Plants, this is the first time we have seen the flowers too.

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher Plant flowers

[Pitcher plants eat insects to obtain essential nitrogen and proteins they cannot find any other way. Their leaves have nectar glands that attract insects. The cone-shaped leaves, lined with downward-pointing hairs, form a natural insect trap. When an insect climbs inside the plant, the hairs prevent its escape. Eventually it falls into water, which has accumulated in the base of the leaf, and is digested.]

We also saw quite a lot of Spatulate-leaved Sundew.

Spatulate-leaved Sundew

[Sundews thrive in nutrient-poor bog soils by trapping insects for food. The leaves are covered with reddish hairs. Each hair is tipped with a sticky fluid that sparkles in the sun like dewdrops and attracts insects. Insects caught in the hairs seldom escape and are held tightly against the leaf surface and digested.]

After leaving Quoddy Head we drove about 25 miles to Cutler Coast Public Reserve and went on a wonderful hike on the Bold Coast Trail.

More foggy coastline.

The fog finally lifted a little.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vacation - Day 1

Our friends Sharon and Rick flew in for a quick, one week visit. Our first day of vacation started after lunch and was spent birding and hiking at Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Josephine.

At Aroostook we came across about 1000 European Skippers puddling in the middle of the road.

We munched on raspberries while hiking on the trail around the visitor center.

Rick got a glimpse at a black bear but the rest of us missed it.
We saw quite a few birds, butterflies, and wildflowers.

Silvery Checkerspot

Yellow Warbler

Dark-eyed Junco

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-capped Chickadee

Ox-Eye Daisy

Daisy Fleabane

At Lake Josephine we came across two foxes running through the adjacent wood yard. Looked like good hunting among the logs!

Unknown snake

We ended the day at our favorite restaurant for lobster rolls and other good eats.