Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30: End of June

The quality of light, the tone of a sultry summer evening...

Sky still light at 9.
Red Sox on the radio.
Slim new moon rising.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 27-29: Weekend at Claybrook Mountain Lodge

Visited the mountains of western Maine for a three-day birding weekend guided by my friend Derek of Freeport Wild Bird Supply, and based at Claybrook Mountain Lodge. The Lodge, in Highland Plantation, is owned by dear friends Greg and Pat Drummond, and Greg also helped guide us around the area.

We visited quaking bogs, beaver ponds, the shores of Flagstaff Lake, meadows full of wildflowers, and wooded trails throughout the area, often with the dramatic Bigelow Mountains looming in the background. In addition to the Lodge's rustic charm and comfort, Pat's excellent cooking, Greg's storytelling, and the beautiful natural setting on a perfect Maine summer weekend, the group enjoyed many excellent birding adventures.

Our first evening as we sat on the porch of the Lodge, we were serenaded by tree frogs and peepers. We walked down the road at dusk, and Derek tried calling in a Barred Owl. As it grew darker, more and more fireflies flashed in the fields.

Highlights: Swainson's Thrush and Veery singing into dusk, sapsucker couple tending nestlings at a nest hole, night sky teeming with stars.

Last sunlight lingers
up on the mountain ridge.
Tree frogs begin to sing.

While waiting for owls,
I catch fireflies.
Stars too blink on.

Firefly blinking
on my bedroom window sill--
perfect night light.

Saturday we visited several bogs, drove dirt roads, wandered bug- and warbler-filled woods trails to beaver ponds, and ate lunch at a private beach on Flagstaff Lake where I got in my first swim of summer. At dusk, we paused near several fields hoping to hear a Whip-poor-will.

Highlights: Bluebird family at the Lodge, Snowshoe Hares, bog flora, bitterns, whinnying snipe, a single Palm Warbler, White Admiral butterflies everywhere, a very aggressive baby Garter Snake, bird accidentally flushed from a ground nest while I was trying to photograph a patch of Twinflower, several dainty does, more sapsucker nest holes full of whining nestlings, Common Merganser carrying her chicks on her back across the lake, dozens of roadside moose and deer tracks, Hooded Merganser hen with chicks on a glassy pond at sunset, spectacular firefly light show, a single bat.

Patch of pitcher plants--
red-veined cups of rain
offered up to the morning.

Baby garter snake
strikes without hesitation
Greg's much larger hand.

Sorry, mother bird.
I didn't know those flowers
were hiding your nest.

Such a hot day
the underwear I swam in
dries under my clothes.

Instead of Whip-poor-wills--
baying hound dog,
campers' fireworks.

This morning, we visited several regenerating clear cuts in our quest for a Mourning Warbler and explored the ferny, wooded trails around the Lodge. Our birding adventure finished up with a visit to Gilman Pond and some nearby farm fields and wetlands in North New Portland, where we flushed a bittern and a family of snipes.

Highlights: Mourning Warbler at last (warbler species #19 for the trip), telephone pole chewed thin by bears, a sweep of Maine's frog species, vocal baby snipes!

Sun-warmed wild berries
picked along the trail--
sweetness with a little grit.

On the mountainside
patch of clear cut forest
a different shade of green.

Flushed bittern--
we watch it flap out of sight
slowly over the marsh.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26: Awakened by rain

Torrential rain falls all night.
I lie awake, warm
and strangely at peace.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25: Summer rain

Drops of summer rain
falling on my bare arms--
a sensual pleasure.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24: Questionable beetle

Someone brought a beetle by the Land Trust office today to make sure it wasn't an Asian Long-horned Beetle, an introduced invasive tree borer that has been very destructive in states south of here.

Bug trapped in a jar--
not an evil invasive,
so we set it free.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23: Subtle dramas of the evening walk

On our evening walk--
sweet scent of just-mown lawn,
cat toying with prey.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22: Waxwings

While hiking along the Georges River canal path this morning in Warren, amid the ruins of the 19th century canal, close to the rushing water...
Above river's roar
we hear, then see
a happy flock of waxwings.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21: Solstice

We decided to celebrate the first day of summer by driving up to the town of Monson, which the Appalachian Trail passes through (and which is home to the excellent Spring Mountain BBQ). After lunch we hiked a few miles on the AT, to a small beaver pond and back. As we stood in the bog at pond's edge, dragonflies landing on our arms, we spent several minutes trying to figure out what bird was making a loud peeping sound. Turns out it was these ducklings:
We had flushed their mother and they wanted her back. When she returned, we were able to identify them as goldeneyes.
Goldeneye chicks--
those loud cries for their mother
need no translation.

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20: Summer moths

At the local natural foods store, several striking moths were gracing the outside produce bins, including this green Luna Moth, the equally eye-catching if more understated Modest Sphinx, tucked under "WISDOM" and "LOVE" to its left, and several Rosy Maple Moths.

Alive for one day
Luna Moth poses
with early summer peaches.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19: Daisies in the dark

In the dark backyard
a clump of new daisies shining
with their own light.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18: Flare-up

Glowing flare of sunset--
the river's on fire,
my heart's on fire.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17: On the trail

Paul and I birded along the Ducktrap River this morning.
In the streamside mud,
two tiny animal tracks.
We'll never know more.

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16: Fields of gold

Field of buttercups--
for this I slowed my car,
calmed my racing thoughts.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15: Wildcat Mountain

The danger of heights:
I think the wind
whipped my breath away.

June 14: On Mount Washington

In the summit clouds
rocks assume other forms:
owl, fox, mountain gnome.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13: June full moon, hidden

I know it's up there
but sorry we can't see the moon
through all this rain.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12: Fickle cat

When my husband's away,
the cat sleeps
on my side of the bed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 11: Flying right over our heads

We felt its shadow
as it soared low overhead--
eagle, talons out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10: Rescue

A friend related today how she'd rescued an Osprey that had fallen down a smokestack. And my sister got a new hip.

In a dream, cupped bird,
my hands a nest.
How much can we save?

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9: Heat

Rich lilac perfume
hangs in hot afternoon air
humming with bees.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8: Snapping Turtle

In the six hours I was on the road this afternoon driving home from Vermont, the image that lingers longest in my mind is of a big Snapping Turtle walking along the edge of Route 1 outside Wiscasset. She didn't need my help right then, and I hope that she eventually ambled off the road and safely laid her eggs somewhere. But I worried about her for the rest of the way home, so vulnerable, as all creatures are, to our speeding cars...

Miles and hours driving
and all I can think about--
the turtle I passed.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7: Catbird

Back in a dorm room--
catbird's song distracts me
from my memories.

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6: Reunion

I'm at my Middlebury College reunion this weekend, in verdant, summery Vermont, tucked in the Champlain Valley between the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks.
The only thing unchanged
after 25 years--
this mountain view.

June 5: Red-tail on high

Red-tailed hawk--
from up there, rain-wet squirrels
must look like ants.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4: Koi

So beautiful--koi
swimming amid lily pads--
but always hungry.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June 3: In class

Perfect sunny day.
We talk conservation
in a windowless room.

June 3: In class

Perfect sunny day.
We talk conservation
in a windowless room.

June 2: Over the cemetery wall

Walked around New Haven this morning before class...
Stone angel
faces the cemetery,
her back to the street.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June 1: Osprey

Hit the road this morning for a week at the Yale School of Forestry taking an intensive class in conservation finance...
Osprey keens overhead
while we kiss goodbye
before my long drive.