Our Eagles Are Nesting ~ 2017

Tami is obsessed. Obsessed, I tell you!

I showed up at the house to talk to her about all this snow, and how it’s piling up, and will it ever melt?!

But she just said, “Uh huh. Uh huh.” She never even looked up from her computer. I peeked over her shoulder and saw her editing photos of eagles on the nest.

That figures!  It must be April. She always does this when the our eagles nest . . . from now until those chicks hatch, it’ll be the eagles did this and the eagles did that . . .

 

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For example, last week she came back from her trek in the woods, all smiling and giddy.  She’d come from the lake and as usual, the eagle was sitting on the nest. She took a few pictures and had turned to head home when she heard a ruckus. When she turned back, she saw a juvenile eagle soar into view, the second adult eagle not far behind . . .

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At first, she thought the juvenile was after the nest, perhaps the eggs, but when she looked more closely at the photos, the adult had something in its talons.

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The juvenile was after the food.

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The second adult came back to the nest and together the two adults warned the juvenile off, as it soared over their heads.

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Eventually, the juvenile moved on and the adults settled down again.

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Once the danger had passed, Tami said the the second adult took to the air, it’s lunch still in its talons.

 

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I’m not sure I’d want to tangle with those eagles!

Then on April 1st, we had a giant April Fool’s snow storm, 13 inches of heavy wet snow. Tami and I trudged to the lake, worried about the eagles . . . and this is what we saw.

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Under all that snow, lies our eagle, with her eggs tucked under her.  I thought she’d be cold, but Tami said she suspected the snow acted like an insulation of sorts, keeping her and the eggs warm.

The next morning, when the sun came out, Tami and I went down again. She took this photo from the shoreline across from site 23, at 1,000 feet away, hoping to see down into the nest. At the time, she didn’t see anything but snow.

But once she cropped it   . . . see? See the white head?

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From our shoreline at 500 feet, this was the image Tami captured. That poor eagle!

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But by 3 o’clock in the afternoon, everything was back to normal!

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Be prepared, Tami’s gonna post a bunch of eagle photos from now until we open. They’ll be no stopping her, I’m afraid.  But as soon as you all get back here to camp, we can distract her with Clean Up Weekend and Spring Special Weekend photos. There’s so many of you camping with us this Spring! We’re going to kick off the season with a bang!

 

Winter Wildlife

Every day over school vacation week, I’ve gone to visit Tami, expecting her to be working hard on the manuscript for Cooper and Packrat’s fourth camping adventure. And every day David tells me she’s put on her snowshoes and trudged through the 35 inches of snow we got, to go down to the lake and visit the otter.  Sheesh!  Who’s the mascot around here anyway??

Max on Playground blog

Buuuuuut, I have to admit, that otter is kinda cute.

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Tami says those little ears, hear really well. And that nose, he can smell well, too. But otters don’t see so well. That’s how she’s able to get some good pictures of this shy guy.

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Today she was down there for two and a half hours!  As long as she stands really, really still, and she uses her adapter to extend her camera lens, she gets some okay pics when the little guy isn’t looking.

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While she was standing there a couple days ago, waiting for the otter to show up, a Common Merganser flew in!

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These duck-like birds act a lot like loons. They dive for fish, and carry their chicks on their backs.

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Loons don’t have that messy hairdo though!

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There wasn’t a lot of open water down there by the beaver hut, but this guy made the most of it.

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Today, the eagles soared as a pair over the house. You should have seen all the squirrels run for cover!

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There are extra sticks on the nest, so it won’t be long now. Nesting will happen sometime in March and I’m sure Tami will get pics for you!

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We’re looking forward to eagle chicks this year . ..

When The Campers Are Away . . .

While all of our campers are away, the wildlife comes out to play!

In early January, a Barred Owl perched on our front lawn for over four hours, hoping for a quick meal!

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He even sat right on top the bird feeder at one point!  The smaller song birds didn’t pay him any mind, but I swear the squirrels didn’t come back for days.

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He was not successful that day, but I can’t walk by a window, or go to the car without looking up to see if he’s returned.

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In mid-January, during an ice storm, the foxes burst into our backyard . . .

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At first we thought they were fighting, a territory thing.

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But it quickly became obvious, it was more of a mating thing.

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Love was in the air!

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And just last weekend, while I was hiking (wish it was snowshoeing) the camp trail, I came across an otter catching Sunday dinner down by the beaver hut!

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He lay next to holes in the ice, watching, waiting, then slipping soundlessly into the water.

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Most times he came out with nothing. But one time, he emerged with a fish!

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Holding it in his front paws, he ate it right there on the ice.

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I was quite a ways away and needed an extension on my 500mm lens in order to capture these photos.

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Even after 26 years, I’m still finding new creatures to photograph!

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We’ve seen the eagles, but there’s no signs of mating or nesting quite yet. It’s still early, though. Normally, they begin to nest at the end of March, with the chicks being born around May 1st.

Come back often for updates on them!

Eaglet Twins 2016

Every Spring the campers and I stand lakeside with our binoculars and cameras pointed at the eagle nest. The big question is  . . .

Is there one eaglet in there?

Or two?

I’ve been taking pictures for a little over a week now, and I kept seeing this

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and this . . .

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and this . . .

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and even this!

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And while that was all beautiful and interesting and full of inspiration . . . it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Finally, today, I saw it!

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One!

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And then . . .

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Two!!!

I’m so excited to find we have two eaglets this year!! It’s going to be fun to watch them grow.

Our Little Fox

Wow!  My little fox friend, sure does get around in the winter months.

He crossed by the second trail camera location too!

Still, Tami was hoping to see something different when she collected the pictures this time, so we moved the camera to a new, top secret location where we’d seen tracks in the snow.   David had given her a really big Bio Rock salt lick for Christmas, and she’d saved some veggie peelings and greens to lay out, so we made a cool feeding station.  I can’t wait to see what the camera captures!

While we were out, Tami took some lake photos . . .

and of course a photo of the eagle nest!

Does it look a little different than normal?  Tami took it further up the lakeside trail, almost across (and through the woods from) site 24!   Even at that distance, and cropping it, you get a good view across the top of the nest, don’t you?

Remember last year?  When Tami was freaking out starting to worry because she thought the eagles were late in nesting?   And then she figured out there had been an adult sitting on eggs in the nest all along?  She just wasn’t able to see it because her lens wasn’t strong enough and the eagle was sitting so low.

Well, that won’t happen this year!  She just can’t wait to start taking pictures this spring!  Check back often for updates!

Fiesta Weekend with Pinatas

There was absolutely, positively no time for siestas this weekend . . .

there was too much to do!

We made sombreros . . .

and maracas too . . .

There were games! Sooooooo many games!

Like the one Debbie showed us,  called  the popcorn game . . .

We all liked that one!

The Red Chili Pepper Game was fun too.

Here’s Maggie waiting for the waterballoon slingshot to start . . .

Who wants to catch a water balloon!?

After teen jewelry making, a scavenger hunt, and horseshoes, we all gathered at the store for our traditional Saturday hayride.

Tami and Debbie and Maggie were very, very happy to hand out kazoos to all the good little campers . . .

My little friends loved them soooooooo much, they played happy tunes all over the place! In the store, on the porch, on the hay wagon and in the fire circle.

Tami kept saying, “I can’t hear you! Play louder!”

The Moms and Dads thanked Tami and Debbie and Maggie over and over again.

Especially when the little campers were told they could take the musical kazoos back to their campsites.

On Saturday night, we had a party.

But not just any party.

No. That wouldn’t do at all.

Poland Spring Campground had a

FIESTA

party!

There were four pinatas!

And this is what it looked like every single time the candy poured out . . .

My favorite bouncy house was up too!

With five carnival games to choose from  . . .

The Fiesta Can Stack
Balloon Darts
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Musical Sombreros
Ring the Bottle

I didn’t know which one to play first.  Every one had cool prizes . . .

There was even a tattoo stand.

Who is this beautiful senorita????

I kept running into her and her entourage all over the place.

The longest line though . . .

Longer than the pinata line and the bouncy house line put together . . .

was the line for Debbie’s famous sopapillas.

Mmmmmmm!  Yummy!

Do you know . . .

Even with all the laughing – running – game playing – bouncy house  campers all over the playing field, I still found someone taking a siesta!

Awwwwww!  How cute is that?  It looks like we wore this little one out.

We hope everyone had a wonderful time last weekend .  . .

I know I sure did!

I love hanging out with my camping buddies!

Come again soon!

Peaks Island

Maxx here again

Let me tell you about a hiking trip that I didn’t get to go on last summer.

Dave & Tami took Ben down to Portland where they hopped on the ferry.

Peak's Island Ferry
Peak's Island Ferry

It is only a few dollars for a round trip ticket and a 20 minute ride over to Peaks Island. Peaks Island is great for Day trips, you can rent a bike and enjoy the views as you pedal around the perimeter of the island (an easy four miles) or you can buy an extra ticket and bring your bike with you. You’ll find shops, art galleries, restaurants and a couple small museums. You can rent a kayak or take a golf cart sightseeing trip. The ferry makes 14 trips a day in July and August so you don’t have to worry about schedules.

Peak's Island
Peak's Island

On this day though they decided to hike into the center of the island to visit Battery Steele a world war II gun emplacement. They searched high and low but didn’t find the geocache at the fort.

Battery Steele on Peaks Island, Maine

View from on top of Battery Steele
View from on top of Battery Steele

After that they continued to the other side of the island and followed the coastal road back around to the ferry.

View toward Cushing Island
View toward Cushing Island

In case you are wondering, the reason I didn’t get to go — No Moose allowed on the ferry!

Hiking and Geocaching at Preservation Park!

Hey! Maax here!

Last Year, the weather was so super, duper, amazing on Easter Day, Tami and David took Ben and I geocaching with a picnic lunch up at the Poland Spring Preservation Park.

They have five miles of well kept, awesome trails!  And you know what?

They’re only two miles from the campground!  Two miles!

We decided to start on the trail behind the original Poland Spring Water Spring House.

That trail, followed the edge of the golf course for a little while, and we were able to step onto the edge to look at Lower Range Pond

See the first jut of land, just over the tree line?  That’s our campground picnic and swimming area! It’s pretty cool to see it from this side of the lake.

If you like to hike, we have lots and lots of trails within half an hour of the campground!  Just click on the hiking link to the right to see some more!  Or when you check  in, ask Tami.  She’ll give you directions and talk your ear off about all her favorites.

As for the geocaching, we were able to make four finds!

Fort Williams and the Portland Headlight

Last summer, Tami, David and the kids escaped for the day to one of their very favorite places, the Portland Headlight in Fort Williams Park.  There’s so much room to run around there with wide open fields made just to play catch or fly a kite.  Tami says the views of the ocean really help her to relax.

There’s a hiking path winding along the rocky coastline. There are several geocaches including the first in the state of Maine. They had a lot of fun doing a multi-stage cache that took them all around the park looking for clues.

right to the Portland Headlight – the most photographed lighthouse in Maine

You can take tours of the Lighthouse for a fee . . .  climb on the abandoned fort on the other side of the park or stick your feet in the ocean.

And you know what?  After they hung out there, they went to the Old Port and took a ferry ride around Portland Harbor and THEEEEEEN, they went to dinner after that!

Do you think they asked me??  Nooooooo.

Oh well.  I suppose my antlers would have taken up the whole back seat anyway!

Mt. Apatite

Hey!  Maxx here!!

A couple summers ago, Tami, Dave and Ben discovered another awesome hiking trail.  It’s only 15 minutes away, you can look for gemstones and it has many geocaches. You think they would have found it sooner . . .

I am talking about Mt Apatite in Auburn Maine, just off of Route 11.

Mt. Apatite was an important part of Maine’s mining history.  They mined commercial feldspar, and found (among other precious minerals and crystals) green and pink tourmaline. So if you like rock hounding, this is a great spot!

Tami said she saw lots of quartz and mica on the trails, and she brought me a couple pieces.

Dave said he and Ben got to play with their new hiking GPS a little bit . . . this photo makes me think of the commercial for UP



“With my handy dandy GPS, we’ll NEVER get lost!

Not only didn’t they get lost, but they found two geo-caches with it!

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Ben was pretty excited to have found these humongous polywogs sunning just below the surface of the water, too.

He said it was the best hike ever!

But he says that about aaaaaaallll the hikes.