Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nauset Marsh Art and Nature Boat Trip

I did this trip through Wellfleet Audubon and several more are scheduled throughout the summer. It was the first time we combined the art with the nature part of this trip on the Queen of Orleans and everyone loved it. Of course it didn't hurt that it was a perfect summer day.
These young people are keeping watch over the flooding marsh.We always pull up an eel pot but usually we just find lots of crabs. This time we also got a really big eel! Don't worry, everyone was released safely and alive.This is Captain Dave Bessom of the Queen of Orleans. An old Cape Codder by birth and inclination he'll tell you all sorts of wonderful stories. He'll pull your leg a bit, too.These young men are busy putting finishing touches on their crab pictures.
We got out and walked on the end of Coast Guard Beach and looked for more things to draw. Everyone was asked to find something that crawls, something that flies, something that attaches, something that buries and something else of their choice.

It was an awesome day and the families all seemed to have a really great day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Painting in Chatham

Part of what I do is teach watercolor painting and this week, after being rained out for about 4 weeks, we finally got a class out and painting in Chatham! The skies were spectacular and made for a challenging day of sketching and painting.
Some pretty idyllic moments for painting......
We saw quite a few seals swimming around and of course all the fishing boats reminded us of the ways people have traditionally survived and made their livings here for hundreds of years.
A storm had moved out early in the morning but the clouds were not done with the Cape quite yet. It made for some spectacular views and light.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Turtles, Turtles Everywhere!

The turtles are a bit late laying their eggs this year but those that waited may have more successful nests than those that answered nature's call and laid eggs during the horrid cold, wet weather. Turtle eggs can rot and attract parasites, especially in the damp....
I saw several painted turtles last week while they were laying eggs. Painted turtles are very common on Cape Cod and can be found in almost every pond and bog in every town. All turtles lay their eggs on land, whether they are sea turtles, pond turtles or land turtles like box turtles. Usually they lay their eggs in June but this has been an unusual year here.

This lovely lady was none too pleased about being picked up. She was done laying her eggs and heading back to the pond she came from. Even if you don't see them laying eggs female turtles generally have short tails, long claws on their back feet for digging and a flat bottom. The males have longer tails and have a concave spot on the bottom, both of which are handy for mating.
This is a different female across the Cape but similarly occupied on the same day. She is filling up the hole she has deposited her eggs in and was more or less oblivious to me as I took her picture. I didn't touch her or pick her up and left very quickly after taking these shots so I didn't interrupt her.
This is another shot of her pushing that dirt back in the hole.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Fungus Among Us

Although we can always find a little mold and fungus somewhere on Cape Cod in any season pretty much we tend to think of late summer and early fall as the months to really go mushroom hunting. A recent walk at Ashumet Holly Reservation in Hatchville (Falmouth) off Rte. 151 late last week proved to be full of all sorts of amazing fungus finds. Forgive me for not knowing their names....

This nice little round bulbous fungus was all over this pitch pine tree and several others like it. It's hard to see in this picture but they were like little hard balls of mushroom-ness.
This is sort of fuzzy but gives you an idea about the roundness....These fuzzy little guys were also everywhere. They were about 2-3" across and very low to the ground.This was my absolute favorite, found next to one of the ponds there. Doesn't it look like someone spilled some yellow paint? It was definitely a fungus or mold of some sort. I plan to look it up...
Please feel free to let me know what these are if you are so inclined!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Sun is Finally Shining!

I think we are all a bit in shock. Even the birds and bees! The milkweed is blooming and the Monarch butterflies are beginning to lay their tiny eggs!
Ponds are full of lily pads which in turn are home to frogs, turtles and dragonflies. Can you find the green frog in this picture?
There's a painted turtle on a lily pad in this picture below. Look for its black back.
This cheerful yellow flower is St. John's Wort. It got pretty beat up by the weeks of rain but is still in bloom in some areas of the Cape.
We only have one cactus on the Cape and that is this prickly pear. It has these lovely yellow flowers at this time of year.
With the return of the sun should come a whole parade of flowers so come back soon! I'll be much better about posting now that the rain has finally ended.