We will take a break, this winter Sunday, from our ongoing converge of the birds and nature of Costa Rica to bring you this special report from snowy southern Maine. We have not had all that much snow yet this winter and, to be honest, a nice gentle 8 inch fall is just what we needed to make the cold and damp feel worth it all. (It won’t last. A wintery mix is predicted for today, without much accumulation.) Still, I got out yesterday as far as Laudholm Farms to find a nice snowy scene. Sony Rx10iv at 24mm equivalent. Program mode with auto HDR. Processed in Pixomator Photo and Apple Photos. Equivalent exposure: ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th.
Canada Geese: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Wells, Maine, USA — I know Canada Geese are reaching “vermin” status in some parts of the country, but I still like to see them as they gather in Southern Maine in late fall. They are still mostly in the marshes, not on folks lawns here yet. (My attitude might be different if I were a golfer, but I am not.) This group was in the marsh beside the Merriland River where it flows through Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, below the bluff where the headquarters buildings are and the Well’s National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms on the other side of the river. Sony Rx10iv at ~580 equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 400 and 640 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
This might be another story about Japanese Barberry, which provides the red understory here, but the photo is really about the birch tree…which I have photographed in every season. The ultra-wide lens makes it look less substantial than it is in person. It is s a big birch tree, and standing alone in the middle of a mostly maple forest at Laudholm Farms as it does, it is very impressive. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
This is looking across from the Little River Marsh overlook at Laudholm Farms toward the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, on a late fall day. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
You know, changing the clocks, dark until well after coffee time, frost every night…and, in the fields and forest, the Bittersweet fruiting out. You have to suspect that anything that gaudy that grows so prolifically and saps the life out of native trees and overwhelms native bushes is invasive…and indeed, this is Asiatic Bittersweet, and pure bitter for our natural habits…nothing sweet about it. I photographed this plant climbing all over the fence lines at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine. iPhone SE with Sirui 10x macro lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
The leaves are all pretty much off the maples and birches, leaving the understory to carry on autumn alone. This is a mass of Barberry…Japanese Barberry, and unfortunately invasive and well established along the trails at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms. Or maybe not so unfortunately, as it turns out. Tom’s of Maine is currently studying the plant to see if they can make an old herbal recipe for throat care from it, as our ancestors did from the once native Common Barberry. We still have isolated clumps of Common Barberry, but after a concerted effort by the CCC to eradicate it as a “wheat rust” host, and the success of the Japanese Barberry invasion, there is not much left…certainly not enough to harvest for a throat spray. It is Barberry root that contains the active ingredient, so maybe Tom’s will solve the Barberry problem at Laudholm over the coming years. They have already funded the removal of thousands of plants and their replacement with Mountain Laurel and Red Cedar (depending on how wet the soil is). Maybe in 10 years this autumn understory color will be no more. We can hope. And untold thousands of throats will thank us (or Tom’s at any rate). iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
The sun was already behind this bank of oncoming clouds by the time I was on my way back to the car on my last hike at Laudholm Farms. I have never known exactly if those farm buildings just down the hill from the big yellow house and barns that is now home of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve were part of the original Laudholm Farms, or just a neighbor. When looking at the photo this morning the word that came to mind was “bucolic”…so of course I had to look bucolic up to make sure I was using it right…and because that is just me. (I used to have difficulty looking up the spelling of words in a dictionary, which, as a hopeless speller, I spent a lot of time doing before spell-check was a thing, because I would get literally lost in the words. I would get caught on a definition (often not the definition I was looking for) and have to trace back all its associations and roots…and that of course would lead me to the discovery of new words, which I would have to explore, etc. I could loose a half hour between “thistle” and its spelling. Any day.) So bucolic. “Ox keeper” or “ox herd”…by extension “shepherds” and “herdsmen” of all sorts. And by further association, the countryside in an idealized fashion. The way we would see it in a painting or in this photo. The beauty, the quaintness, the charm, without the awkward barnyard smells and the stinging wind in our face and the chapped lips…if you know what I mean. The sanitized version of country life. So yes, the farm seen from the hill under the racing clouds over the cleared fields and against the backdrop of the forest with its fall colors is bucolic. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
As I have mentioned several times now, we don‘t seem to have had as much red in our foliage this autumn as I remember in the past. That does not mean, however, that we had had no red at all 🙂 And, what red there is, really stands out! This is at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
If you stand on the bench at the Webhannet Marsh overlook at Laudholm Farms, in the fall, you can see over the reeds to the border of trees in their full autumn splendor. Add a spectacular October sky and there you go! iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
What a day! The best that fall 2021 has to offer. Great sky, some color in the trees, and the open expanse of the remnant bog at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine, USA. This is a “sweep panorama” with the iPhone SE and the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. A lotta pixels in there! Apple Camera app. Processed in Apple Photos.