O, Canada

Update: It seems I won't be able to find the time to go through these images individually as I had intended. Instead, I will just tell you the pictures were taken at Roosevelt Campobello International Park in New Brunswick. Of course we found the nature trails to be of greater interest than the cottage, but the flower beds in front of the cottage were spectacular.
The yard around the visitor center (centre?) afforded us an excellent birding opportunity. We saw Philadelphia vireo, Wilson's warbler, Blackburnian warbler, black-throated green warbler, Tennessee warbler, black & white warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, magnolia warbler, palm warbler, redstart, bay-breasted warbler, eastern wood-pewee, chipping sparrow, cedar waxwing, goldfinch, black-capped chickadee, and raven all within a couple of minutes.
One more note, the bottom right photo is of a hip from Rosa rugosa. The rose hips from these bushes were huge and quite tasty (hope it wasn't against the rules to taste the hips - if it was, we apologize).


We made two day trips into Canada while we were vacationing in Maine. The photo collage below is from our first trip.

Canada, on a foggy day. I promise I'll come back and fill in the details later...just wanted to get the pictures up first.

Things are a trifle hectic right now, both at home and at work. I have had no time to sit and reflect on what I would like to share with you. It's frustrating!


A Maine Quickie

No time for a picture-heavy post today. Just a couple of shots of a northern crop.

Blueberry fields...isn't that crazy? Around here we have high bush blueberries and the season is well past. Apparently, up in Maine they grow theirs a little closer to the ground and have a later harvest.

But high or low, northern or southern, one thing is certain: Blueberries are tasty.


Day One In Maine

(Don't panic, I'm not going to go through each and every day of our vacation...just certain ones.)

Waking up in Maine is a wonderful thing. The air is clean and smells like Christmas. Loons call from out on the lake and little red squirrels chatter from the tree branches. Waking up in Maine holds the promise of adventure...

As it happens, on our first morning we had a little mini-adventure helping our hostess get a couple of little brown bats off her front porch.

Go away, you bother me.

You scared the pee out of me!

I'm gonna rest here a while and then I'm gonna fly away.

While we were taking care of bat removal outside drama was unfolding indoors.

Travis, the 18 pound cat, met Minnie, the 1.6 pound "dog." Travis was not amused. (The "dog" belongs to my sister-in-law who was traveling with us.)

After breakfast Treebeard and I set out for a nice long walk. That's another great thing about Maine, it's full of places to take nice long walks.

A nearby logging road provided a trail for us to explore. It was full of Maine-ish things like moose tracks and raspberry brambles.

We found that if you look closely, you can actually find the occassional reptile in Maine. We had to look really closely to see this little fellow.

A ringneck snake. (Only the second species of snake we've observed in Maine.) My pocket knife is really, really small but it looked huge next to the snake.

We were surprised by the number of amphibians we saw this trip.

Sure, it's just a puddle in the road...

But it had at least a dozen of these frogs in it! They appeared to be bullfrogs.
(Oh, come on. You knew I'd find frogs, didn't you?)


Vacation Redux

For the next several days I will be posting pictures of our trip to Maine and Canada. Aren't you lucky that you have the option of viewing them or not? Just think, if we had invited you over to dinner and then set up the DVD projector you would not have that option -- you would be trapped, forced to watch.

So here we go...(now's your chance to bolt)

The trip up was fairly uneventful. Lots of toll booths and traffic. We made pit stops as necessary.

One such stop was at a New Jersey service area where we saw this Cat with an attitude. If you can't read the little white sign in the background, click the image to enlarge it. The cat was really pretty and really street-wise. He seemed to be making a good living -- hopefully on hand-outs and not native wildlife.

Room with a view? After about 11 hours on the road, we stopped to spend the night in Connecticut. This is the view that greeted us in the morning. I'm sure the rest of West Haven is more attractive. At least the bed was comfortable :)

Our first stop in Maine was at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. We found the Refuge quite by accident - just happened to see the sign while we were looking for something else. We stopped for lunch and a quick walk around a one-mile loop trail.

The trail had some beautiful views.

On our walk we saw familiar things such as this Indian Cucumber-root...

...as well as the unusual - at least for us - such as this chipmunk sitting on a branch in a white pine. Although chipmunks are found pretty much throughout NC, they are rare in our part of the state. I love the little rodents and I get very excited when I see one - much to the amusement of those around me.

More later.


Our Wonderland

If I had made a quarter turn to my right I would have been looking at Canada across the lake. N 45 40, W 067 48. Name the state.

They have some strapping big critters up here...this isn't even a particularly large track for this beast.

And they eat lots of these...

...and these.

Little red squirrels fussed us out from the safety of rocks or tall spruce trees (showering us with cones all the while).



Eleven days and 3072.7 miles later, we're home. Once all the laundry is done and all the pictures are downloaded I'll be back to share some vacation tidbits with you.

But right this minute I'm busy talking to my son and petting the dog and the cat...


Where In The World...

...are Treebeard and Swampy? Far from their home, that's for sure. About 1000 miles away, actually. They are having a grand time and putting many miles on their hiking boots. They'll wander home in about another week (or two). So until then, may the road rise to meet you and the wind be at your back...


Oooooh, Baby, Baby

Late yesterday afternoon Flamebrain (Son #2) and I went for a walk to see how much higher the water had gotten at the pond. It was beautiful out -- puffy white clouds in a nearly blindingly blue sky. Much of the duckweed that has covered almost every inch of the pond's surface lately had made its way over the spillway, leaving behind open expanses of water. I do so love this place...

Water's up.

Anyway, while we were out we happened upon some little ones just starting out in life. I snapped a few pictures and sent them on their separate ways. Good luck, long life!

A brand new turtle for the pond. This is most likely a yellowbelly slider, Chrysemys scripta. They are so cute and so vulnerable at this stage.

In this shot of the plastron you can see the scar from the turtle's yolk sac - sort of a temporary turtle belly button.

A brown water snake neonate enjoys the warmth of the pavement in the parking lot. This particular snake was extremely calm - not typical for a juvenile snake, especially a juvenile water snake. (Nerodia taxispilota)

It took a little gentle persuasion to get the snake into a defensive position. Mostly it was content just to cruise along as we encouraged it to get off the pavement and onto the grass.


After The Storm

Betwixt and between. Transforming from tadpole to frog, this little fellow will be dependent on its fine fat tail for nourishment until its mouth fully forms. Looks a little odd without a big froggy smile.

See that little red-eyed devil in the middle? Yeah, that's the one. I don't know what it is exactly, maybe some sort of water bug, but I know one thing for certain -- it bites!

Post-Ernesto emergence. I have no idea what species of dragonfly this is -- way too young for me to even try to ID.

Can I come out now?


Words For Today

Class, today's first word is deluge.

del-uge n 1 a : an overflowing of the land by water b : a drenching rain

Our second word is saturated.

sat-u-rat-ed adj 1 : full of moisture : made thoroughly wet

(Special thanks to TS Ernesto and Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary for today's words.)