Seasonal Signs
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Dennis Curtin's journal of natural events in and around Marblehead, Massachusetts

Saturday, September 18, 2004
The Path
There are so many interesting things happening along The Path that I made a special trip to photograph a few of them. The most interesting is the Skunk Cabbage pushing itself up through the ground in preparation for spring. I have long considered this to be the very first sign of spring, an optimistic view given the long, hard winter ahead. At one point I thought my view was unique until I read that Thoreau saw it the same way.

Turtlehead in profile showing how it got its name

Skunk Cabbage getting ready for spring

A colorful fungi along the path

posted by Dennis 5:57 AM
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Tuesday, September 14, 2004
The Path
The day opened cold, bright, and windy; not my favorite weather to photograph in. I walked the 5 mile path without a camera, but gathered a few things, and photographed them in a light tent on my back porch. There free from the wind and more in control of the light I took the pictures below.


Jack in the pulpit seedhead

Cicada, one of the last of the year

posted by Dennis 11:02 AM
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Sunday, September 12, 2004
The Path
I walked The Path both Saturday and Sunday, taking three hours for each trip. Since I normally can walk it in an hour and a quarter, you can tell how much time is spent taking pictures. But the weather was clear, bright, and a little chilly as I left at about 7AM each morning. It was also humid so there was dew on many of the plants. The biggest surprise was the Squirrel Corn, last seen flowering in May. I also promise that this fall I will learn to tell the Asters apart.

Tall White Lettuce


Wild Cucumber seedpod holds two large slippery seeds

Bur Cucumber has different seed pods

Mallard Ducks at Hawthorn Pond

Tear Thumb



Bull Thistle

Squirrel Corn


Nodding Bur Marigold

jerusalem Artichoke



posted by Dennis 2:21 PM
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Wednesday, September 08, 2004
At Home
I found this butterfly in the garden and it was patient enough to wait while I went to get a camera.

posted by Dennis 3:53 AM
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Monday, September 06, 2004
Salem Woods
Labor day was cool and still, a perfect time for a walk in the woods. It turned out that there was lots to see and the walk ended up being over three hours.

Downy Goldenrod

Jack in the pulpit seedhead

Sharp-leaved Aster

Red-tailed Hawk

Lady Slipper seed pod

Ladies Tresses (orchids)

posted by Dennis 1:23 PM
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Audubon Sanctuary
With summer coming to a close Peggy and I took Conner and Quinlan for an sleepover in the Innermost House at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. As always, it was a great way to spend the night with no one on the 2800 acre property but Fred Goodwin, the caretaker, and us.

Leopard Frog

Lily pad in the gray light of dawn

Conner sweeping the cabin's porch

A truly rare picture; me (and the boys)

Bald or white-faced hornet nest right aside the trail

A Beaver's work

The marsh at dawn

posted by Dennis 1:05 PM
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Ware Pond
Ware Pond is its usual beautiful self during this late summer season. Life abounds for all to enjoy.

Bur Cucumber

Swamp Milkweed seed pods along the edge of the pond

White lettuce, also known as rattlesnake root

Cheeses, also known as common mallow

Arrowhead Arum

posted by Dennis 11:46 AM
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Asa Gray
One of the people I've learned much about since getting into wildflowers is
Asa Gray, considered to be America's first botanist. He was a good friend of Darwin and during the debates over "Origin of Species" tried hard to retain a place for God. He was born in a small town of Paris, NY just south of Utica in 1810. On a recent trip we drove through the town looking for signs of his presence. They still remember him and were even having a weekend event devoted to him. The site of the house where he was born is marked by a sign even though the house is no longer there.

posted by Dennis 11:04 AM
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