The Spineless on Monhegan
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ON NORTH WINDS Wednesday morning the songbirds came to Monhegan – and then they left. Our gentle rain of migrants included newly arrived (or newly discovered) Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-winged Warbler (thanks to Tony Vazzano) and Cerulean Warbler, an extraordinary bird for the island (last seen at the Ice Pond and, I believe, discovered by the Audubon Hog Island birding group). Blue Grosbeak, Lark Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow, the usual Monhegan oddballs, entertained the besotted birders. By late morning, many of the birds seemed to have launched back toward the mainland, or “in shore” as islanders put it, to regain their southbound orientation.
Ruth and I spent the afternoon, as usual, walking Monhegan’s perimeter. Along the way we encountered insects – lots of them, including that Wandering Glider above, a dragonfly found on every continent except Antarctica and an animal of immeasurable accomlishment. Wandering Glider can cross oceans. It’s the albatross of insects. I’d report more on Wandering Glider, but you’ll have to read the book about this dragonfly (that’s taking me forever to write). Even now, the birds beckon. I’m out the door. I’ll write more when I can find more time to work (hard to do on Monhegan, except for the hardworking people who live here).
I’ll leave you with two other spineless invertebrates from yesterday. First, one of the Red Admirals darting around the island. Many of you know these butterflies, which also migrate: from above they are bittersweet chocolate with cherry bands. But, oh, the underside. It’s a Monhegan painter’s palette. Yeah, a Cerulean Warbler, not seen by many, is a damned good bird on Monhegan. But a Red Admiral, displaying daily for anyone who cares to look … well, you decide. It’s below.
Next, and the coolest thing we saw yesterday, were these little specks of lint with “tails.” Sally Boynton saw them at Dead Man’s Cove. A few made their way in seawater to a bowl on the counter at the Lupine Gallery (the premire place for art on Monhegan), where Sally’s brother Bill and co-owner Jackie Boegel tended to them for the day – and sleuthed them out as immature jellyfish. Jackie discovered that jellyfish are booming this summer, perhaps a consequence of a warming ocean.
We wondered what to call these young jellyfish. I suggested “smuckers.” Bill had a better name – “pectins.” Gotta run. More later …. Read all my Monhegan Migration posts here.