Saturday, June 27, 2009

Some Good Weather

We have finally had some good weather, that is where it was not raining…constantly…So I have been heading out for hikes just about everyday and then coming home and collapsing. thus my lack of reporting.

So what have I been doing? great question, and one that I ask my self at the end of everyday. Some days I really can’t answer that question; its like ‘what did I do today?’ and others like Friday I had a clearly defined set of goals that were accomplished. Here is the break down of what I have done since I last posted.

Wednesday, was one of those days where I came home and wondered what it was I did  that day. I really don’t remember. It was that uninteresting. plus it was a lot of prep work for Bruce to take some annual leave. He is gone for about a week. So a lot of Wednesday revolved around what Bik and I were going to do while he was gone. So we should actually be able to things for a bit.

Thursday was the final wrap up day with Bruce. I went out and spent two hours on the ‘beach’ at Valley Cove looking for Peregrine Falcons, didn’t see any.  So the decision was mad after 8 hours of watching that we could open up flying mtn. trail.


Went out and removed signs that closed the trail. it runs right along the beige line, the ‘beach’, which is directly below where the falcons have nested in the past.

Friday we, Bik and I, went out to conduct a Beaver survey. we checked about 25 different areas around the Island where beavers have been known to block Culverts. that took most of the day. for that last couple of hours I developed four maps that identify the majority of vernal pools in and around park property. I love GIS, easy to use and easy to impress others with, I can make a map like nobodies business. well that is all for now…

Here are a few random shot I took during the past week.


On the Kurt Dietrich trail, after all the rain.


Some kind of fungus. it was big.


Hermit Thrush, flushed it out while I was out hiking for work.


Hairy Woodpecker, Juvi. Waiting on mom to come feed him


A Frog


A pretty purple iris

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


OMG! If anyone knows a way to get rid of rain, and anti-rain dance perhaps, I would appreciate hearing it. It has been raining since last Thursday, it is supposed to be clear on Thursday this week and rain until the following Thursday. I am going stir crazy here in Maine. I want to go hiking, but a lot of the carriage roads are washed out because of the amount of rain we have had and the other trails have a lot of rock on them (rock = slippery).


Send me some sunshine and sunny thoughts.

Monday, June 22, 2009

HUGE Shout out to my Friend Kristen

Congratulations on passing your Comps!

Yeah! I wish I was there to celebrate with you!

Double D

Now all of you get your minds otta the gutter!

I had Defensive Driving training today! Geez :D

I almost forgot about it. I came in at 0725 this morning to get caught up on the emails and see what Bruce had for me today. I opened my calendar, a paper one, and saw a long line through the entire day. I thought hmm wonder what this...then i read the title and realized, by this time, that I was late for class. Whoops!

They started late so I didn't miss anything. Whew. I don't have any photos of me driving the course but it was a great time. Now I just have to stave off the boredom tonight.

Later all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lackluster Friday followed by Washout Saturday

Well the week is over…Finally. Not much to tell this week. the high points of the week were the baby Bard Owls in the ‘yard’ and I got to spend Wednesday Eagle banding.

The Banding was awesome, how could it not be, and we had to take a boat to the two locations in order to access both nest sites. We did two islands, Placentia and Ringtown:


We banded one Eagle at our first stop, Placentia, and aborted the attempt at the second stop. The tree, a birch of some type, was not a climber friendly tree…it was dead and squishy (a very scientific term, squishy, be careful using it in everyday conversation) here is what that looked like.


Chris, that is the guy in the photo, only made it a little farther before he called it off.

Oh yeah and here is another picture of me and an Eagle, you can tell that this one is a little younger then the last one I held.


Thursday I had orientation for new seasonal employees. It wasn’t bad at all. the best part was the interpreter from St. Croix Island. She was fantastic and told a great story about how St. Croix is connected to MDI through seur de monte and Champlain. We only got a sample of the whole story, but i would like to find out when and where she will do the full story.

That leaves us with Friday… a very rainy dreary Friday. We pretty much spent the entire day inside. which was good for us. We really needed some time to organize our Loon data and prepare for the rest of the season.

I also got to break out my awe inspiring  GIS skills. We are working on a project to convince the powers that be that we should have ‘beaver free’ zones in specific areas. The beavers cause a lot of damage when the streams that they dam flood the upstream area. sometimes it is not obvious right away, the water seeps into the ground and weakens the roads, trails and carriage roads. and then when it rains the roads collapse.

The maps were really crappy, not my best work. Bruce just wanted something on paper to look at and get some dialogue started on the best way to present this data to those powers that be. Did I mention that it rained all day? It did!

And all night. several Inches worth, there were road closures all of MDI because of flooding and road washouts. it has finally stopped raining but we are due some more tomorrow and it is supposed to be very bad and several more inches. The five day forecast is just as bleak. Hopefully we don’t get washed away.


Well that is all for now. talk to you all later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The day just got better!

So I have to say my night just got better. I was sitting in my room and heard something that sounded raptor-ish. not really sure what it was. I kept looking out side my window listening to the sounds i heard and then saw something flash past my window.

I ran down stairs with binocs in hand and saw…


an adult Bard Owl… But the sound was coming from behind me I looked around and see



We had three fledgling Bard Owls flying around the trees. Screeching at each other. Here are a few more:



And the other thing that was Awesome was that while I was putting this together i was listening to WeirdAl on Ustream. It was really funny.

Hawk surveying

Hey everyone. Not much to update you on today. for the past two days I have been driving on the carriage roads conducting a call back survey for raptors. so basically i have been listening to the same six calls over and over again until it drives me a little loopy. I think i am going back out to band eagles tomorrow I will find out for sure when i get to work.

that is all i have for now. will chat with you later.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Yes I am not above begging. So if you have read my posts there has been a none too subtle pleading for a Canon 100-400mm L Lens for my camera. Well in an effort to fulfill this dream of mine I have placed a donate button on the side bar. Please don't feel obligated to donate I am just hoping that some anonymous benefactor helps me out. Just to show you what i am talking about here is an image of the lens with some information about it.


L-series super telephoto zoom lens equipped with an Image Stabilizer. The fluorite and Super UD-glass elements largely eliminate secondary spectrum. The floating system also ensures high picture quality at all focal lengths. The Image Stabilizer has two modes and it is compatible with Extenders 1.4x II and 2x II.

So this is the baby that I want.

On something similar I am shopping now form my PAS (Point-and-Shoot) I am looking at a Nikon Coolpix S60, It seems like the best value for the money.

that is all for now

Where the Heck do I Live? You May Ask…

Good question!

I thought since it was raining today I should get on to some ‘house keeping’ blogging like telling you all where I live. Here is an overview map with bar harbor to the north:

My House

I live in George Dorr’s house, the ‘Father of Acadia’. Actually it is his summer cottage that survived the fire of 1947. It was built in the mid 1800’s and is a HUGE house. so here are the photos of the house


The Outside of the house:




Our little yard, the sun screen is my roommate’s Adam; there is also a fire pit on the other side of the big boulder.


this what you see when you walk in to the front door.


to the immediate right is the kitchen:


and to the left are the stairs:


Up the stairs


the rooms up stairs



the empty bedroom


The ladder up to the attic and the way back to my room. to the left of the ladder is Adam’s room and to the right is a sitting room right out side of my room


My sitting room…or the room where the internet and phone sits.


My Room


these stairs are just outside my room and lead down to the kitchen


So there you have it, Storm Beach House My domicile of the next four months. Well I am off for now.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Week of HELL!

Hellishly busy that is!!!


It has been a long time since I needed to put forth as much physical effort as I had to do this past week. I knew I was out of shape but this week really proved it to me.  Lets start with with a day by day run down:


The week started off as many do with Monday, the only difference was that today i needed to be at work by 0530. Why, you might ask your self. a very good question. The answer – Raptor surveys! My boss is following a protocol from last year that was established by a group that was trying to get a quick baseline of what can be found on park land. After discussing it with Bruce it came to light that the surveyors from last year used a big truck to conduct the surveys. hmmm…big truck very few raptors found….wonder if there is a connection. I suggested a bike as the method of transport and  a way of limiting disturbance. I know I have written most of this before but just thought i should refresh everyone (including myself).

So there I was at HQ loading a bike into the back of our pick-em-up truck at 0530. I arrived at the Eagle Lake Carriage road entrance about 5 minutes later and with helmet on and backpack loaded I set off.  I must mention that i am riding a really sweet mountain bike with great suspension and 21 gears of go-go power. However, I think I have failed to mention that the last time I road a bike any distance was probably 15+ years ago. Oh yeah and the 22 years of smoking under my belt and I am carrying a lot of extra weight. Let me tell you three hours and six miles later i was starting to realize that I may want to rethink the whole ‘bike is less disturbance’ thing.

The procedure is to ride half mile play a series of raptor calls to elicit a response. you play the call for 20 seconds and pause for 30 seconds. there are six calls in all that are required to be played. the calls are also played from smallest to largest species. The thought behind this is so that we don’t scare off the smaller species by immediately playing a large hawk call.

The carriage road that I- end up taking is called Witch Hole because it ends up going around Witch Hole Pond. This is the route.



The Route is approximately 6 –6.5 miles, depends on what source you are using.

After I was done with that I work around the office, I had to complete my computer security training. Bruce had me start working on GIS for the rest of the day, which was about an hour. Not much time considering I had not actually been able to delve into the file structure that had been set up. It also didn’t help that the data the I was supposed to be working with was not completely correct. I tried to start piecing together some things but It was slow going and my hour was up.

I got home and was a bit bored so I decided to hit another trail on the east side. the East side becomes VERY busy when the season starts so i want to attempt to finish most of the trails on this side.

the trail for the day was Great Head…Don’t  Laugh, I already have.

It was an easy walk with some great views. this area is located right at sand beach.

Great Head Path


Me with Sand beach below



Old soaker



the ‘summit’ of Great Head



and Finally Bunchberry, it is all over the place:


Well that was pretty much my Monday…here comes Tuesday


If you read Monday then this is a carbon copy day, with just a couple of exceptions. Today I had company, his name is Bik and he is my partner in crime at work. He was here last year but it took for ever for his clearance to come through. At least today I had company during the survey. Bik just graduated from College of the Atlantic and has a science background. as we conducted our survey today we started asking questions about the methodology and and determined that there were some assumptions made during the first year that didn’t appear to be true. the biggest one was the distance that the game caller sound would carry. It was originally stated that the sound would cover 750m we found that it might make it 60. When we finished our surveys for the day ( my hiney was aching) we went to Bruce and presented our findings and offered some resolutions to the apparent obstacles. after a lot of discussion we decided to make our survey stations a quarter mile apart the the originally stated half mile. this would in crease our coverage and allow for a better collection method.

that was pretty much Tuesday. I was too tired to do anything else and it was the day that I got my internet so I stayed in.


this was a a weird day…I really didn’t do anything. I waited on Bruce a lot…and then some more. He is an incredibly busy guy. especially this week. He coordinating the Eagle banding that is to be going on in and around ANP. There is a State specialist, Charlie, who overflies Eagle nests on a weekly basis to determine whether or not they are active. then we get GIS data layers showing us where the active nests are located. We then have a research group that is studying contaminants and how they relate to Bald Eagles. they provide the climbers and we provide all the support that they might require.

so the majority of to day was spent sitting around the office and doing the ‘lets do this … oh wait no lets do that… nope lets go back and do this’ dance. I left at a decent hour today went home and just bummed around. For tomorrow we are meeting Chris and Rick, the climbers (they just don’t climb, Chris is one of the lead researchers) and go out eagle banding.



Eagle banding day! Bruce said that they would be there around 1100 and we should be ready to leave quickly. this meant that Bik and I were out moving our equipment around until it was time to go. This amorphous start time was supposed to be around 1100 but was slowly moving back to 1200, then to 1300 and finally around 1410 they arrived and we were able to start. We met them at a local land owner’s home, from which we were given permission to launch our boat from there property.  This is where we launched from and the island we went to:

Bar Island path

I realize that you see that bar between Bar Island and the mainland, however this photo is shot at low tide.

We were done with island around 1800; that is we had the boat on the trailer and everything packed and ready to go at 1800. Chris, an ever ambitious fellow, said we should go to the next island Twinnie. Bik and I looked at each other and thought ‘no way we are going out there’…Wrong! Bruce was like if we can make it why not. so we headed up to the north end of MDI (Mount Desert Island) and launched from Hadley’s point. not too far away but I don’t think we actually launched until 1830-1845. By the time we finished with Twinnie Island with a return trip because we forgot some gear, it was 2230. We had rangers waiting on us on the beach because Bruce’s wife was worried. She also works for the parks. She called the rangers who couldn’t find the float plan (a plan that is given to the dispatchers to let them know where and approximately when we would be where on the water) and then called in rangers who were off duty to find us. apparently they were close to calling the Coast Guard. What a day, 16 hours after i started my day I was finally headed home, it was 2300.

Hear are some shots of the Bar Island banding:

this is Rick Climbing the nest tree

The banding site, not far from the tree

Bruce & Chris taking the Eagle off the rope


Chris weighing the eaglet, heavy buggers.


The star of the show, he is about 5.5 weeks


Gettin' some blang!


Blood letting time. This is for the contaminant testing

Yes I am in waders. never thought that would happen in my life.


We, Bik and I, started work at 0830, we thought we were leaving then but we didn’t start until 1000. Today Rick went me, Bruce and Bik as one banding team. and Chris took some others to different islands. We hit Sheep Porcupine and Long Porcupine both islands in Frenchman’s Bay. It was raining when we first went out. it was predicted to be a soaker, and I am here to tell that it was a big one. When we reached the firs site on Sheep Porcupine it was only sprinkling and slowly tapered off while at this site. After Sheep it was off to Long. at both locations the hike in was…ummm…not easy. for some reason the silly eagles don’t make it easy for us researchers. We finally got back to HQ around 1900. talk about two very long days. I had the option to work today (Saturday) but I needed a day of rest. So I will be working on Sunday and hitting two more islands Duck and Schoodic. I am told they both have large sea bird colonies. Should be interesting. No pictures for Friday since it was wet as all get out for most of the day. I do have a map of the islands that we went to today.


If you were wondering why I am not telling you exactly where these nest are, well they are protected and as such it is sensitive information.


That is the week. I will hopefully be a little more consistent in updating the blog this week, it all depends on how much work we have going on. I am apparently getting older and am starting to feel those effects, sad…very sad. Until next time.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just a quickie

Hello to the masses, or to you who follow this blog. because according to the followers section i only have seven. not to bad for a guy like me….

Anyway , i am just writing to let you know that I have been working my ass off this past week and am exhausted. I plan on writing all day tomorrow to give you all an update, with photos. see you all tomorrow.



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Making the Summit

So the big mountain on the island is called Cadillac Mountain. it is 1,530 feet in height, right i know not too much more then a hill but it is the tallest on the Eastern seaboard. It is the second place that the sunlight hits in the US. Anyhow I decided that I wanted to make it to the summit using the North Ridge Trail. apparently when tourist season starts it is a very busy trail. I thought it best to avoid these crowds so I went this morning. There where four trails that I planned on hiking today, the North Ridge Trail, the Cadillac Loop, the Notch Trail and the Gorge Path. the majority of the trails I traveled were rated as Moderate, one was difficult and the loop was just an easy pathway. When I finished the Gorge Path I was half a mile from the car and hiked that so all told I hiked 5.1 miles. Pretty impressive for a fat old guy! Now for the photos of the travels.

Trail head, This is where I started

This about 200 yards in from the trail head.

From a little further up; Bar Harbor


I finally made it!


Really bad panorama from the summit



Trailhead for the Gorge Path.

After Hiking all morning I went to Hannaford’s, the local market, got food for the next week and headed home. Around six people started showing up for a party my roommate and his boss set up. It was really fun got to meet people from other departments which I would normally not have gotten to do.  Met a woman from Interpretation who is as big a bird geek as I am. She gave me some pointers on where to go to see the birds I wanted to see. I have an inside line now on the puffins so if I can pull it off expect some up close and personal photos with me and the puffins. I met a lot of the Trail Crew what a bunch of fun guys and gals. The work hard everyday. Met some fee collectors as well, I don’t have an opinion formed of them yet, we shall see.

That’s all for now.