Archive for April, 2014

Cairn Sculpture

 

This simple cairn reminds me of a seal.

This simple cairn reminds me of a seal balancing a ball.

One thing we have come to look forward to on our daily walks along the shore in Maine is the cairn sculpture.  This past weekend someone had been very busy and we came across two dozen or so, of varying complexity.  This got me curious about cairns.  I found that they have been used since pre-history as directional markers, a use they still have today.  I noted them on the summit of Mount Washington when we were up there watching the White Mountain Arctic butterfly studies.  [See this post]  The summit is a maze of rocks and closely spaced cairns marked the trail, as it was easy to go astray, even in the clear weather we had that day.

You could easily get lost in the fog, were it not for these closely spaced cairns.

You could easily get lost in the fog, were it not for these closely spaced cairns.

When we were on the shores of Hudson Bay in November, 2012, [See this post] we saw a cairn known as an Inuksuit, erected as a location marker for the town of Churchill by the First Nations people living there.   This striking cairn was anthropomorphic in design.  One afternoon I saw a Polar Bear walk right by it, giving it a glance, but didn’t have my camera handy.

Churchill, Manitoba's Inuksuit.

Churchill, Manitoba’s Inuksuit.

Here are a few of the cairn sculptures we saw last weekend in Maine.

Many like this "peopled" our walk.

Many like this “peopled” our walk.

A simpler design.

A simpler design.

This conveys a message of love with it's heart.

This conveys a message of love with it’s heart.

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Spring is Coming to Maine

Only a few shaded spots still have snow.

Only a few shaded spots still have snow.

We were in Maine for a few days and I saw several signs of spring.  The snow has receded to a few earth smeared drifts in shaded spots and the Skunk Cabbage is in bloom.

Skunk Cabbage is in bloom (that red spathe hides the flowering spike.)

Skunk Cabbage is in bloom (that red spathe hides the flowering spike.)

The Eider Ducks are pairing up for the mating season.

I hope these two are successful this year.

I hope these two are successful this year.

Workmen were opening up cottages and repairing winter damage and soon the Inn will open again.

The Ocean Point Inn, all boarded up, but not for long.

The Ocean Point Inn, all boarded up, but not for long.

Danger of frost must be minimal now because they were flushing out the water pipes that only provide water in the summertime.

They are flushing out the "summer water" pipe that provides water to Negro Island.

They are flushing out the “summer water” pipe that provides water to Negro Island.

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Trip to See a Snowy Owl

This photo, taken by A. J. Hand, a terrific bird photographer friend on ours, show the young owl, just after eating.

This photo, taken by A. J. Hand, a terrific bird photographer friend on ours, show the young owl, just after eating.

Snowy Owls have had one their largest irruptions in recent memory this past winter.  All my birding friends had seen them, but for one (ridiculous) reason or another, I had not gotten out there at the right time, and I knew time was running out.  Soon they’ll be returning to their breeding grounds in the Arctic and we may not have another chance to see them for several years.  I’ve heard varied opinions as to why they are so plentiful here in the U.S. this year.   The most prevalent seems to be that there was an abundance of Lemmings (their normal prey) and that led to a very successful nesting season.  It is thought that all these juvenile birds were forced to come south to find winter territories and so have populated open “tundra like” spaces such as airports and beaches.

A week ago I saw an eBird report that a Snowy had been seen in a location about 50 miles away and a friend and I drove up there.  Success!  Not close views but good scope views, despite the light rain.

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl (My pathetic picture!)

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