Category Archives: Volume 5

When setting out to make a personal contribution to the community brings concrete results

Hugh and Elizabeth Blackmer

When Hugh and Elizabeth Blackmer moved to Martinsville in 2005 to be near Hugh’s older sister, Alice Skinner, and her husband Wickham, it was natural that the couple should take to the town’s roads.

“I had done some running,” says Elizabeth. “So I did the St. George Days 5K and the Lobster Festival 10K. And we had hiked—we hiked the whole Appalachian Trail in pieces when we were in our 50s [and living in Lexington, Va., while Hugh worked as a science librarian at Washington and Lee University]. It was all day hikes. We would drive to Georgia, to Connecticut for the weekend. We had a sabbatical one year and took a month off just to do it in Maine.”

“For me,” admits Hugh, “walking in St. George was at first mostly a matter of, ‘Okay, it’s necessary to get some exercise if I’m going to eat the way I want to.’ And the roads connect in interesting ways and there is always something nice to look at. So it has been several years that I’ve been doing the seven-mile loops of walking Ridge Road to Glenmere and back along Route 131 or walking Ridge Road and going north.”

When the possibility of doing the Blueberry Cove half marathon as walkers came up in 2013, the Blackmers began doing that as well. The walking made them aware of the trash that gets thrown from cars, so they also began participating in the annual roadside cleanup event sponsored by the town’s Solid Waste and Recycling Committee each May.

Between the walking/hiking and the roadside cleanups, the Blackmers acknowledge that the stage was pretty much set for what came next—an intense combination of the two that has involved the regular clean-up of 15.8 miles of road (and two public parking areas) over the last 11 months and a commitment to continue for the foreseeable future.

“Well, this was my idea,” says Elizabeth as she sets out to explain why the couple began doing this. “After the presidential election last November l decided I wanted to make a contribution to my community and I wanted to make it be something nonpartisan. I also wanted to see the results, I wanted it to be tangible. I thought about it for a while and what I came up with was picking up the trash. I figured I’d be walking by the driveways of all the people, not just one group of people. And I appreciate the beauty of the area and I enjoy walking the roads—we’d been out on the roads all this time, walking, hiking.”

The criteria she set for pickup was anything larger than a cigarette butt and within 10 feet of the pavement.

“So I went out myself and started picking up the trash,” Elizabeth continues. “The first couple of times I could only walk about a tenth of a mile picking up the trash before the bags got too heavy and I had to walk back home. The next day I’d go pick up the next tenth of a mile. There was a lot of trash on the roads at the time. When people pick up in May there never seems to be enough people to pick up all the roads and it’s only once a year. So things had accumulated and some places are never gotten to. Eventually I got more effective at it. I got a grabber stick and I got a vest and I learned to leave the bags by the side of the road and then drive back to pick them up.”

Gradually, Elizabeth covered a larger and larger area that eventually covered most of the roads in the southern portion of the peninsula. And after a while Hugh joined her. From November 4, 2016 to September 19, 2017, one or both of the Blackmers picked up trash on each of 114 days. They filled 70 standard black trash bags with pure trash and 190 grocery bags with recyclables and returnables. They brought in 2,890 returnable cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles valued at $144.50, which they donated to the town.

“I really don’t feel judgmental about people throwing trash out their windows,” Elizabeth says by way of reflecting on how she feels about all that trash. “Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses, they kind of stratify in different ways in different communities.”

But she does note that she and Hugh noticed a shift in the amount of trash they were picking up this past summer. “The first time around these roads was the most. After that it was things we hadn’t seen or things that somebody had thrown since then. We went away for a month in the summer and when we came back I thought, ‘Okay, there’s going to be a lot of trash.’ But there was hardly any trash. Since then there’s been a difference. There are many fewer returnables.”

Accounting for the change is difficult, but Elizabeth is convinced that seeing her out picking up the roadside trash has had an impact on people’s attitudes. “At first when people would see me picking up trash by the side of the road they’d swerve around me like I was a cow or a moose. Then people slowly started to nod or wave. Or if I was at their driveway they’d thank me for picking up the trash.”

With so much less trash to pick up, Hugh says, they decided to change their strategy. “A month ago we started picking up cigarette butts. And the funny thing is that when you pick up the butts it is impossible not to count them. We picked up 8,300 in that time. Of course many had been there for a long time. But in a section of road near here that we had already picked up once, two weeks later there were 358 additional butts on the ground.” Elizabeth adds that she has read that worldwide cigarette butts are the most common litter.

Asked what the strangest things the couple has picked up have been, Elizabeth doesn’t hesitate. “Things that nobody has used! A pencil that has never been sharpened, a shot bottle of vodka that has never been opened, bottles of water that have never been opened.”

Of this picking-up-trash project, Hugh says, “It’s kind of a pleasure at this point. There is a feeling I have now of belonging to something. People wave and I wave back.”

For Elizabeth there’s a satisfaction in the concreteness of the results. “I wanted to make a contribution to the community and I feel happy that it has worked out as well as it has. I look at the roads and they’re clean. I look at the Drift Inn parking lot and the Marshall Point parking lot and they’re clean. And I appreciate the people who have gone out of their way to say thank you. And I feel happy that people have changed their behavior. I don’t think it is an oddity or a coincidence that there are far fewer cans to pick up than there were.” —JW

PHOTO: Julie Wortman

 

A seasonal miracle

This summer I decided to plant an annual flower known as Silky Butterfly Weed  (Asclepias curassavica) in the pots on our pergola deck and in a few places around the gardens. I already had the perennial Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) in our pollinaters’ garden. Both of these are members of the Milkweed family, which is the only type of plant on which the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly like to feed. I’d thought I would help the monarchs out and give us some lovely flowers as well. It worked: We had lovely red and orange flowers most of the summer; the monarchs arrived in late August, and shortly after, we began to observe striped yellow, black and white caterpillars munching on the milkweeds. Then I began to see the largest, fattest of these caterpillars (about the size of a pinky finger) attach itself to a near-by branch or leaf (and in one instance, a daisy petal), hang upside down, and then curve into a“J” formation. And the next day, the “J” had turned itself into a jewel-like chrysalis. These are often so well hidden in foliage that they are difficult to see, but one caterpillar attached itself in plain sight on a vine on a post of our pergola. This we observed closely.

The caterpillar attached itself to a vine and prepared to form a chrysalis.

We knew the butterfly that was forming inside the chrysalis was close to emerging when we saw it darkening, and could clearly see an orange wing.

As the butterfly emerged from the now-transparent chrysalis, it was mostly all thorax with wings and legs folded up tightly. It held onto the empty chrysalis as its wings slowly unfolded and expanded.

The wings unfurled and inflated, and in the process, a clear liquid dripped off and the newly emerged butterfly began to dry.

Finally, after drying for several hours and flexing its wings a bit, it inched away from the chrysalis. Then it spread its wings (revealing that it was a male—notice the black dots on its inner wings) and flew away, heading for Mexico, a trip that will take about six months.

Definitely more of the Silky Butterfly Weed is in the offing for planting next spring.
—Anne Cox

PHOTOS: Anne Cox

Hail to the King!

Nature Bummin’ with Kirk Gentalen

So I’m not one to exaggerate, but the week of September 17 was probably the best week of my life.

Fungally speaking, the woods exploded (figuratively) with an array of colors and shapes, an exceptionally impressive show of mushroom diversity. And it was an impressiveness matched only by the sheer numbers of mushrooms themselves—there were tons! A typical walk that week turned up mushrooms such as Red-mouthed Bolete, Dark-stalked Bolete, Birch Bolete, Orange Bolete, Dark-stalked Bolete, Chrome-footed Bolete, Slippery Jack, Painted Bolete, Dotted Bolete, Chicken-fat Suillus, Poisonous Paxillus, Silvery-violet Cort, Red-gilled Cort, Cinnamon Cort, Banded Cort, Honey Mushroom, Well’s Amanita, Amanita Muscaria, Citron Amanita, Yellow-patches, False Chantrelles,  Funnel Clitocybe, Spotted Collubia, Orange-gill Waxycap, Blewit, Rufus Milky, Emetic Russula, Rosy Russula, and Blackish-red Russula to name a few…a few that have common names! All were in good numbers as well.“Epic” is a fine word to describe this mushroom bloom event.

“Normally” that would be enough to satisfy any fungal fan, but the real mushroom story last week was tied to a species not mentioned above—the King Bolete (Boletus edulis).  David Arora, author of the seminal fungal work Mushrooms Demystified, describes King Boletes as “one of the finest of fleshy fungi and certainly the best-loved and most sought-after in Europe, where it has more common names than there are languages. If any mushroom deserves the dubious title of the “king,” this is the one. It is a consummate creation, the peerless epitome of earthbound substance, a bald bulbous pillar of thick white flesh—the one aristocrat the peasantry can eat! The entire fruiting body is exceptionally delicious.” Arora totally nailed it with this description. And, like a dream, King Boletes were everywhere in the woods last week.

There is more to the King story than just being the tastiest thing in the woods these days of course. King Boletes are in the bolete family of mushrooms (Boletaceae), the group of mushrooms that have no gills (except for the gilled bolete but that is another story all together). This family also includes the Porcini, the Cep, the Steinpilz, the Harilik kivipuravik (Estonian). Instead of gills, boletes have pores to release their spores from, and the pores give the cap of the mushroom a spongy feeling when squeezed. This unique feel, in combination with the presence of pores, pretty much make a surefire way to identify any bolete mushroom to family.

Similar to the Destroying Angel described in the last Nature Bummin’ column, Kings and most boletes have a mycorrhizal relationship with trees. Mycorrhizal is the ancient, symbiotic relationship where a fungus exchanges nitrogen and phosphorus for sugars made by the tree during photosynthesis. This exchange takes place under ground on a trees roots, and the relationship will last as long as the tree is alive. We may see the King Bolete mushrooms for a week or two a  year, but the fungus itself is living in the ground and isn’t going anywhere!  In other words, once you find a King Bolete patch you can (somewhat) expect to find them for years to come. We really like this about Kings.

Arora writes about looking for Kings two weeks after a “significant” rain event. So the heavy rain on September 6th could (if Arora’s calculations are correct) result in a King Bolete bloom starting around the 19th. Needless to say the Kings (and many other mushrooms) were right on schedule! A quick explorative walk on the 19th resulted in 10 Kings found and processed. After school my wife, Amy found another 10 by the house and we were off to the races! The next day was a half day at school so my son Leif and I hit the trail and came back with 40 beautiful Kings for the eating (while leaving many older specimens in the woods). What started out as the perfect amount for a side dish had moved quickly beyond a full meal to the point where Leif and I knew we had to share. We took our basket full of boletes to the school and handed out Kings to anyone trusting enough to accept. That ended up being everyone we saw!

It now became a daily venture as Leif would check “Amy’s patch” and then we would work the woods. Kings were to be found everywhere—at the school, by the library, in the town forest, every preserve on Vinalhaven as well. This was an exceptional week to say the least.

PHOTOS: Kirk Gentalen

New French intern hails from Vittel

by Laura Olds and Sophia Vigue

This school year we welcome Nicolas Masson as our new French intern. He is 23 years old and is from Vittel, a town in Lorraine, which is in the northeast of France. This is his first time in the U.S.

Nicolas says he likes it here in America because it is very different from Europe. He says it’s almost like another whole world.

“Where I’m from there are lots of little villages and a church in the middle of every one of them,” he told us. “French school lunches have more courses than here. We also have choices. Every Friday we can choose fish at school because many French people are Catholic. The government regulates the food that can be served in school. Every school works with a dietician to choose the menu. Like here in St. George, we are out in the country, so you have to have a car to get anywhere.”

This is not his first time teaching internationally. He interned in Scotland to help teach a high school class. He told us that Scotland schooling was also different than French, but nowhere near as different is here, because Scotland is also a European country.

Since he has been here, he has experienced many cool things. “I went to the Marshall Point Lighthouse the other day, and before then, I had no idea it was the lighthouse from Forrest Gump!” he said. His host, Steve Lindsay, also took him on his very first sailboat ride. He got to experience a little bit of the coast of Maine with a trip to an island and a sunset sail.

Nicolas will be staying with Steve and Jo Lindsay until Thanksgiving. But after that, host families are needed! If you are interested in hosting Nicolas, please contact Kit Harrison (k.harrison@stgeorgemsuorg).

(Olds and Vigue are 8th grade students at the St. George School.)
PHOTO: Olds/Vigue

Working to preserve a precious heritage with the help of dedicated volunteers

Soon after Joyce Davies and her husband Don Folkers moved into the parish house at the Ridge Church in Martinsville several years ago, Davies became aware that the Ridge Cemetery, which is owned by the Ridge Association, was in need of some serious attention in terms of maintenance and administration. “When I came up here and retired I needed a project so I volunteered to be in charge after Harold Wilson died. People were knocking at the door asking did I know where their ancestor was buried.”

The oldest section of the cemetery, in particular, had become overgrown, making many of the gravestones inaccessible. “The last three years we’ve cleared out a lot of brush and removed some trees so that now you can walk up to every stone. And now we’re in the process of getting the stones cleaned and repaired.”

This year, under Davies’ leadership, the Association hired Joe Ferrannini of Grave Stone Matters out of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., to perform conservation work on some of the oldest stones. He came in early September and was aided by volunteers from the Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA), a group of more than 700 members founded in 1968 to promote the preservation of Maine’s neglected cemeteries. MOCA billed their work with Ferrannini at the Ridge Cemetery as its annual four-day “Conservator-Led Cemetery Workshop.” A few years ago MOCA also held a similar workshop at the North Parish Cemetery in Wiley’s Corner (the Ridge Cemetery was historically known as the South Parish Cemetery).

According to MOCA president Jessica Couture, working under the tutelage of an experienced conservator like Ferrannini is a valuable opportunity for participants to learn hands-on the skills needed to clean and straighten stones—it is key never to use bleach or to sandblast, for example—along with finding out what’s involved in resetting dies into bases, making new bases, making epoxy repairs and replacing pins. “People will come into a cemetery with no training and do more damage than good,” Couture says. “It’s better if you don’t have any training to not do anything. What happens is that someone finds a grave stone laying unbroken on the ground, picks it up and sets it back into the ground improperly only to have it fall again—this time smashing into pieces.”

The Ridge Cemetery workshop attracted nearly 30 people—some of them, like Peggy Gillespie, Nancy Krusell, Ray Emerson and David Lowell from St. George, but others from around the state and beyond. One man, Joe Furlong, drove all the way from Iowa to get a chance to learn new techniques from Ferrannini.

“With these workshops what we want is for people either to observe or come do the work because it is really important that they take this information on what proper stone care is and bring it back to their towns because if your town is paying for this work to be done, it should be done right,” Couture explains. “We talked about it in our classroom session on the first day of the workshop. There was a town where they were going to power wash the grave stones and somebody who had been to one of these workshops spoke up and said, ‘Please don’t power wash our stones,’ and gave the town information on how destructive that can be. That’s what we want, for people to come to one of these workshops and then take the information elsewhere.”

Another benefit of the MOCA workshops, Couture adds, is that the participants provide free labor for the host cemetery project. She cites the example of the recent DAR project at Tolman Cemetery in Rockland. “The project was funded by a grant from the national DAR and Joe Ferrannini was hired to do the restoration work. But we put the word out that anyone who had done a four-day MOCA workshop could participate. They probably had thousands of dollars of free work done by people who had been trained at one of these workshops.”

An interest in preserving the stones in old cemeteries, Couture says, often stems from an interest in genealogy or local history. That was certainly the case for the Ridge Association’s Joyce Davies, who was a trustee of the cemetery association in Kingston, N.H., before moving to Maine. “My family had been in the Kingston area since the 1600s. It was my interest in genealogy that got me involved with the cemetery there.”

Joyce Davies of the Ridge Association. The grave stone of Artemas Davis shown here had apparently fallen over on its back and become completely buried until MOCA volunteers detected its presence next to the grave of Artemas’ wife during their four-day workshop at the Ridge Cemetery in early September. They cleaned the stone, repaired it and reset it into the ground.

While Davies doesn’t have the same personal connection with the Ridge Cemetery as she had with the cemetery in Kingston, she says she is keenly aware of how precious the heritage represented in the grave stones here is to this community. That also makes her very practical-minded about how best to ensure there are resources for continuing the preservation efforts she has been pursuing with Ferrannini and MOCA. As she points out, a key source of revenue for any cemetery is the sale of burial plots. “Right now you see about 10 acres of cleared land here being used for burials,” she says. With a note of satisfaction, she adds, “The Ridge Association has another 20 acres of forested land here as well—so there is plenty of room for expansion.”

To find out more about the Maine Old Cemetery Association (MOCA) go to www.moca-me.org. On Saturday, September 30 MOCA will hold its Fall Program hosted by the Thomaston Historical Society at Watts Hall in Thomaston. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. (cost is $3) and the program begins at 9:15 a.m. Peggy McCrea, Historian of the Thomaston Historical Society, will speak about Black Thomaston Marble. Susan Devlin will also speak about the restoration of Major General Henry Knox’s grave site. Guided tours of the oldest parts of the Elm Grove and Thomaston Village cemeteries will follow at 1pm.—JW

PHOTOS: Top, Betsy Welch; below, Julie Wortman

St. George place names

A common question historians get regards the origin of a place name.  In many situations in St. George the name relates to the owner(s) of the property in the area in question, such as Martinsville, Wiley’s Corner, Smalleytown, Harts Neck, Wheeler’s Bay, Clark’s Island, Willardham, Wallston, etc.  Other place names have some interesting—and often not agreed upon—histories.

Tenants Harbor
There are several beliefs concerning the origin of this name.  Trying to stick with the theory that the name is associated with a resident, a common story is that the town was named after Joshua Tennant.  I find this difficult to believe because I find no evidence that Joshua Tennant lived in the Tenants Harbor area.  In fact, his family is associated with the South Thomaston area.  Plus, he was living in Harpswell in 1773 when his daughter was born.  To support this further, Tenants Harbor is identified on several maps prior to the Revolutionary War era with the names Tarance Harbor, Terrence Harbor, Tarrent’s Harbor and Talant’s Harbor.  One of these maps was done as early as 1754.  I’m sure some of the misspelling could be attributed to a scrivener’s error, but it seems safe to say that the area was not named after Joshua Tennant.

Elmore
This is the area also known as Harts Neck.  As you can guess, there was a large family by the name of Hart back in the day.  In 1901, this section of town was eligible for a post office.  It was a short-lived post office, closing in 1923.  George Carey, who I always considered as the historian of Elmore, said that the name Elmore came from the U.S. Postal Service, and that of the three possible names that the community was given to choose from, Elmore was the least offensive.

Port Clyde / Herring Gut
This will probably require some more research, but at this time the usual sources don’t provide a solid story as to the origin of these names.

Albert J. Smalley, in his History of St. George, Maine published in 1976, says that this area was once known as Lobsterfare, plus it was also known as Herring Gut, “supposedly so called because of the great shoals of herring passing through the narrows into the river.” The 1932 “Chronicles–Town of St. George” tells us that the village was once known as Herring Gut but that postal authorities decided that Port Clyde “was a more euphonious name.”  The 1857 Lincoln County map gives us no mention of Port Clyde, but rather has the name “Herring Gut” placed in the harbor area.  Smalley also cites several mentions in the 1830s that the post office in Port Clyde was known as South St George, with its first postmaster being appointed in 1829.

Turkey/Glenmere
Here is another place name without solid background on its origin.  Smalley mentions the names, but offers nothing as to how the area it got its name.  Smalley does mention the acceptance of a road from Turkey Cove to Mosquito Harbor in 1818.  As to when the name seems to have changed from Turkey to Glenmere, the 1932 “Chronicles” says, “to the old timer the name ‘Glenmere’ would mean nothing as he knew of the village as ‘Turkey.’”

Long Cove
This is obviously a descriptive name and can be traced back to an Atlantic Neptune map from the 1770s when it was called Long Creek (see the accompanying picture).
Mosquito Harbor
A 1785 deed from Vickery to Martin mentions the name “Moscheto.”  Smalley seems to offer the best explanation for this place name–a phonetic spelling for the Indian word for muskrat. Then again, it could have been named for that pesky insect. What do you think?

Post Offices, year opened and year closed
Clark Island, 1884-1961
Elmore, 1901-1923
Glenmere, 1892-1942
Long Cove, 1901-1940
Martinsville, 1878-1918
Port Clyde, 1880-current
St. George (at Wiley’s Corner), 1828-1993
South St. George, 1829-1880
Spruce Head, 1880-current
Tenants Harbor, 1853-current
Turkey, 1892-1892

—John M. Falla

A watercolorist who approaches his art with a ‘diligent, disciplined process in four phases’

The year 2017 is significant to Spruce Head artist Robert Steinmetz because it marks the time when his twenty-seven years as a full-time painter equals the previous twenty-seven years that he worked as a professional architect. Reflecting upon this pivotal year, Steinmetz also recognizes that both careers relied upon his drawing and painting skills, which began in his childhood. Therefore, his singular life-long passion for creating art has been satisfied in two ways.

Born and raised on the north shore of Long Island, N.Y., Steinmetz faced many serious challenges in his youth. He contracted a form of polio (from which he eventually recovered), and that same year his brother died.  The family struggled to regain their footing—and Bob found a measure of stability in drawing and painting.

As a young man, Steinmetz needed to select a course of study to forge a career. It was his father, a graduate of Cornell University, who set Steinmetz on the path that “opened doors for me that I knew nothing about.” Realizing that his young son was a gifted artist, but also that a career in the fine arts might lead to financial instability, Steinmetz’ father decided that he would only pay for architectural schooling for his son at Cornell. At that time, Cornell’s program was design-oriented in the Beaux-Arts tradition, which emphasized sketching, highly finished presentation drawings, close attention to details, and also the use of watercolor paints.

Upon completion of his B.Arch degree from the College of Art, Architecture and Planning at Cornell in 1961, Steinmetz was hired by the architectural firm SMS Architects, PC, in New Canaan, Conn. Over time, he rose to the rank of Vice President and part owner of the firm. There, he was responsible for the design of 140 corporate, institutional, commercial, educational and residential buildings and planning projects. And, all during that time he continued to design, draw and paint. He also learned an important lesson that would govern his future career as an artist: “If you don’t satisfy yourself that you’ve achieved everything you possibly can, then you have to live with whatever you didn’t explore.” Therefore, Steinmetz always seeks the best resolution for whatever challenges he encounters.

By 1990, Steinmetz and his wife made the joint decision to radically change their lives. So, he retired from SMS and they bought a condominium in Bermuda as well as a home in Spruce Head. It was then that Steinmetz decided to become a full-time artist. Rendering watercolor interpretations of colorful Bermuda scenes, it was only one year before his paintings were accepted by the Windjammer Gallery, which sold them nearly as quickly as Steinmetz could paint them. This early success in his career as an artist acted as the catalyst to his present career.

“McLoon’s Wharf”

In 1996, Steinmetz’s wife passed away after a long illness. It was three years later that he had the good fortune to meet and marry Pat Ashton, who is very active in the St. George and regional communities. Now, residing in Spruce Head during the summers and South Carolina in the winter, Steinmetz works from two studios. His process for creating a painting is very similar to the disciplined process he used to render architectural drawings, which required thinking through every detail from beginning to end. He explains, “My approach to painting is a diligent, disciplined process in four phases.” During the first phase, Steinmetz finds a subject that appeals to him and photographs it, carefully composing the frame to capture the interplay of structure, shadows and values. Once he is satisfied with the composition of the photograph, he begins the second phase where he projects the image onto watercolor paper and establishes the forms and values in pencil. Moving to the third phase, Steinmetz creates a monochromatic value painting with thinned acrylic paints, which serves as an underpainting. It is in this phase that the artist establishes a strong image that kindles his interest to keep going. The fourth, and final, phase is the application of watercolor paint over the underpainting. At this point, Steinmetz departs from photorealism by imposing his own color sense that often ignores local color in favor of a more dynamic interpretation of the scene.

As a self-taught artist, Steinmetz found inspiration in the works of others such as Henry Roderick Newman, John Singer Sargent, Charles Demuth, and Charles Sheeler. These four renowned artists have in common the use of precision to create strong designs. This masterful style of painting has earned Steinmetz prestigious signature membership in the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society and the North East Watercolor Society. Additionally, his work has earned the top award in notable national and international juried exhibitions, and has been included in publications such as “Splash”, “American Artist” and “Watercolor Magazine.” Additionally, his work has been included in juried biennial exhibitions at the Portland Museum of Art, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and the 2013 Shenzhen International Watercolor Biennial in Shenzhen City, China. Steinmetz’ paintings are included in the corporate collections of Ace Insurance, Ltd., the Bank of Bermuda, Duracell USA, MBNA America, and Volvo America to name a few. Presently, he is represented by the Charles Street Gallery in Beaufort, South Carolina. You may view his works at www.thecharlesstreetgallery.com.
 —Katharine A. Cartwright

“Rockland Lobstermen”

 

PHOTO: Katharine Cartwright

Peregrine falcon sighted on Tenants Harbor dock in began life in Cambridge, Mass.

On September 2 Molly Haley noticed an unusual falcon-like bird on her Water Street dock in Tenants Harbor, reached for her camera and snapped several shots of it. The next day she sent an email to Charles Todd, coordinator of Endangered and Threatened Species in the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Haley wrote: “This falcon landed on our dock in Tenants Harbor yesterday. After enlarging the photo I noticed that it is banded. As far as I can make out the black band has a 04 and green band has what looks like 9 and a V. Can you tell more about this bird and where and when it was banded?”

Todd realized the 9 was a B and passed on Haley’s inquiry to Thomas W. French of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife in Westborough, Mass. French’s response was as follows:

“Thanks for this report and photo.  This young female falcon has a small following of people who will be very happy to learn of her travels to Maine.  She was raised in a very urban setting in Cambridge, just a very short distance from MIT.  Her parents actually nested on two different buildings on the MIT campus in previous years, but her father came from the mountains of New Hampshire.  Here is her original banding information:

“Band numbers:  1947-35706, and 04/BV black over green

“Banding date and location:  May 22, 2017 – MA, Middlesex Co., Cambridge, Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse, 40 Thorndike Street, nest box on 18th floor balcony.

“Sex:  Female

“Siblings:  Two males (02/BU, 03/BU)

“Previous reports of 04/BV:  August 19, 2017 – MA, Norfolk Co., Quincy, Squantum pans by Moswetusset Hummock–photographed perched on power lines by William Loughlin.  Was observed coursing the salt marsh harassing a Northern Harrier and scaring up the shorebirds.”

French also noted this information about the young falcon’s parents:
“Mother–80/AD (1947-02321)–First seen unbanded in 2009 when the pair first formed.  Finally captured and banded at the nest site May 18, 2012.

“Father–2/1 (2206-70215) – Banded as a chick May 13 2005 – NH, Grafton Co., Rumney, Rattlesnake Mountain.  This male is very unusual in being just as aggressive as the female.  Both aggressively, and repeatedly, hit anyone who comes near the nest.”

Haley received a Certificate of Appreciation from the North American Bird Banding Program thanking her for reporting the falcon’s band. The program is under the general direction of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service, which notes that, “Data from banded birds are used in monitoring populations, setting hunting regulations, restoring endangered species, studying effects of environmental contaminants, and addressing such issues as Avian Influenza, bird hazards at airports, and crop depredations. Results from banding studies support national and international bird conservation programs such as Partners in Flight, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and Wetlands for the Americas.”

Bands can be reported at www.reportband.gov or by calling 1-800-327-BAND.

PHOTO: Molly Haley

Letters

To the editor:
The St. George Volunteer Firefighters & Ambulance Association recently held their annual Lobster Stew Supper. The event was a great success and raised over $6,000! We would like to thank all of the local businesses for their donations of milk, butter and ice. Special thanks to the lobster wharves and lobstermen, who generously donated over 700 pounds of lobster, making it possible to feed an extra-large crowd this year. We would also like to thank the dedicated volunteers that are always willing to help with our events. From making pies and coleslaw to volunteering countless hours making sure our events run smoothly, we couldn’t do it without you.  Thank you all for your contributions and continued support, it is greatly appreciated!

The St. George Volunteer Firefighter & Ambulance Association