Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lets talk native species...

posing for the photo
Hello wonderful students.  We are about half way through our summer break.  I hope you have been doing a lot of interesting things and are enjoying your summer break.  I just returned from several days vacationing in Western Maine in the area of Rangeley, Maine.  It was beautiful with its tall mountains and evergreens  I had two quest for my vacation, I wanted to see a Loon and a Moose.  Both are native to that area of the Northeast and I was hoping my chances would be good to succeed in seeing them.  We saw our first moose enroute to the cabin in Maine.  We were driving along Hwy 17 in New Hampshire when one stepped out into the road in front of us.  I spotted it ahead and stopped the car in time to avoid hitting it but we were disappointed because it was too late in the evening and dark to get any pictures.  Later we learned that the multiple cars we'd seen pulled off on the shoulders of the roadway with flashlights shining into the trees should have been an indicator that moose were in the area.

 On the second day we were there, we decided we wanted to have lunch by the ocean.  We were on the western side of the state so this meant driving several hours to get to the coast.  We lunched on a peninsula north of Freeport Maine and enjoyed wonderful fresh seafood and views of the Atlantic.  While shopping in Freeport later in the day, we came across a small shop selling moose antlers.  They were not cheap but I immediately envision their use in the Art room and wanted one.  Due to the price, I did not buy them but in regretted that decision as I drove back the several hours to the cabin in Rangeley.  The antlers and photographing a moose remained on my mind.  `

Loon at sunset taken with iPhone
Meanwhile, we spent our time cruising on Rangeley Lake where we spotted two pair of Loons.  These are beautiful birds that are very unique in their markings.  One pair was quite mischievous and dove into the water every time the boat was close enough for us to snap a photo.  We later encounter one of the male Loon who agreed to be photographed.  Unfortunately, my camera battery had gone dead and the photos I took with my iPhone do not show you the magnificence of these birds.
You can learn more about the loon at this page from National Geographic.  You will also be able to view a picture of a loon up close on the page.
We also were able to view a bald eagle with binoculars while out on the lake.  It was magnificent.  We saw the male but there was also a female and babies in the area.
Near our cabin were a number of deer which we enjoyed watching with their babies in the early morning.   One morning I counted three female with five small babies.  We also observed wild turkey with their new flock of little ones.

Our trip was winding down and soon it was time to return home.  We were disappointed that we still had not spotted a moose although we were pleased with all our other sightings.  I also continued to regret that I had not purchased to moose antler to bring into art class.  As we headed down the highway leaving town, I spotted a crudely lettered sign, antlers for sale and quickly turned into the driveway.  I was thrilled to be able to purchased this wonderful moose antler that I will be sharing with you when we return to school.  Maybe you might try adding a drawing of it to your sketchbook this summer.  A simple contour drawing would be fine.  Remember, the contour is a continuous line that shows the outline of an object.  You could also try to add some shading to show value or some texture.  Study the photo closely to examine the texture of the antler.  There a scrapes and groves where he has been in battle with another moose or may have scraped the bark off of a tree.  These antlers are shed as the moose grow in size and the moose are not harmed to take the antlers.
Moose on the side of the road in New Hampshire.
Back in the car we continued on our way home resolving to the fact, we had not seen a moose.  Upon entering Hwy 17 in New Hampshire, I was stuck behind a very old and smelly diesel bus and determined to pass it.  As I picked up speed to pass the bus, I watched another truck ahead of me slow and pull to the side of the road.  It was a moose!!!  We finally had our moose sighting.  I slowed down, pulled to the side of the road and this moose cordially allowed us to photograph him multiple times.  He was within six feet of the open window of the car as he continued to munch grass and allow us our photo shoot.  This was the highlight of our trip home.  To learn more about native Moose, click the link to National Geographic.

So what have you done this summer?  What have you seen?  Pay attention and don't let the world around you slip by unnoticed.  I'm wishing you many exciting sightings!

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