Monday, June 29, 2015

View from the coast #4: Triumph, tragedy, more travel, and even a drawing or two.

Unbelievable. Four weeks gone, just like that. We said goodbye to our fourth session of campers on Friday afternoon and have slowly been transitioning to two weeks without the flat-out pace we've been accustomed to.

I even took time to join the bees in admiration of the rose bush in the middle of camp.

Before our campers left we celebrated International Guillemot Appreciation Day. I bet you didn't even know that such a day existed. It does! And you should definitely celebrate it next year, because after all... it's not ALL about puffins. Mark your calendars now: June 27.

FOHI (Friends of Hog Island) volunteer Betsy adorns boots with red guillemot
feet for the IGAD celebration.
At breakfast our festively decorated (white, black, and red, of course) dining hall
was the site of a dramatic reading of "A Visit from the Guillemots."
That's me in recitation mode.
It's always hard to say goodbye at the end of a session, but our own Eastern Egg Rock-ettes help to ease the separation anxiety as campers get on the boat for departure.

All this silliness was unfortunately followed by solemnity and disappointment. Right in the middle of camp is an active osprey nest, the residents of which are internet superstars. (Hog Island osprey cam) Two osprey chicks hatched during the second camp session, but even here in paradise life can be dangerous. Last week a bald eagle started rushing the nest, but was driven off each time by the osprey parents. Unfortunately, on Friday afternoon the eagle succeeded in snatching both nestlings, to the shock and dismay of online nest-watchers worldwide. If you think you're up for watching the clip of the raid, you can find it here, with commentary by Dr. Steve Kress.

But now I turn my attention from seabirds and Maine, because tomorrow I'll be headed to the other side of the Atlantic. For the next two weeks I'll be visiting friends and colleagues in the Netherlands and France, returning to Maine midway through July. In preparation for that different mindset I took a little time to make a couple of sketchbook drawings of specimens in our camp bio lab. I felt a little rusty, but it was good to move pencil across paper for while.

Snowy owl skull.

Woody, twisted stick collected from the Bahamas.
Not sure if I'll be able to post anything from Europe while I'm away. Last time I was able to do a bit via my phone, but no promises! In the meantime... try to imagine either of these sketches as part of a future linocut and let me know what you come up with. ;-)


  1. Sadly we only had two hats available, so I had to settle for white patches on my sleeves and red laces on my shoes. :-)