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Vineyard Gazette
Edgartown, Massachusetts
September 14, 2012     Vineyard Gazette
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September 14, 2012

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TENA VINEYARD GAZE'II'E, MARTHS VINEYARD, MASS. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 All Outdoors Tale of the Scale ! By SUZAN BELLINCAMPI It's Derby time and all across the Is- land, anglers will be spinning fish tales. Some will have only stories, while oth- ers with more skill (or perhaps greater luck) will be down at the weigh station. All eyes at Derby time are on the scales, the ones used for official weighing, of course, but also the ones that adorn the fish themselves. For protection, coloration and even sensory awareness, most fish have scales. Scales can vary in size, shape and structure, and can even be tiny or absent in some species. Eels have microscopic scales that cannot be seen, while catfish, lamprey, hagfish and sun- fish lack scales completely. Simple is the least likely way to de- scribe the diversity of these complex coverings. There are many different types of scales to consider. Placoid scales, also called dermal denticles, are the variety most analo, gous to vertebrate teeth. Like teeth, placoid scales have a soft central pulpy inside core with a middle layer of den- tine and an outer layer of enamel. Carti- laginous fish, which include sharks and rays, have these types of scales. While placoid scales protrude from the fish's epidermis, they do not cover the skin entirely. Nor do these types of scales grow individually; instead more scales are added as the fish increases in size. By creating vortices as they travel through water, these scales can reduce drag, making for more efficient and quieter swimmers. Sounds about right when you are talking about sharks! Cosmoid scales are hardly worth a mention since they really 0nly exist in extinct species of fish. The ganoid variety is a hard, shiny, diamond-shaped scale that is found on sturgeon, paddle- fish and gars, among a few others. The scales that will be seen at the Derby over the next month are elasmoid scales, the most common variety, which are found on lobe-finned or bony fishes. These scales can be further divided into two types; cycloid and ctenoid. Cycloid scales are found on herrings, minnows, trout and many other variet- ies of fish. Each individual scale has smooth margins and they collectively overlap from the fish's head to tail, thus reducing drag. Ctenoid scales have tiny teeth called cteni on the posterior edge. They also overlap and grow in size by adding to the scale's margins. This growth creates uneven bands called annuli which can be used to determine the age of the fish. Other fish have modified scales that don't easily fit any of the above catego- ries. For example, seahorse and pipefish scales appear as bony plates, and por- cupine fish scales become spines. Clearly there is more than meets the eye when it comes down to the dermis. Those angling for a Derby win care little for those petit pieces on the fish's surface, since they will likely never be enough to tip the scales in their favor. But scientists as well as nature lovers -- among whom I count fishermen and women -- surely refer to the iridescent wonders of scales, not the proverbial pounds of flesh, when they say admir- ingly, "Now that's a beautiful fish!" Suzan Bellincampi is director (g" the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgar- town. Felix Neck Welcome Josey Kirkland has been named the new Education Coordinator and day camp director at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Ms. Kirkland is originally from Carlisle and graduated from Northeast- ern University with a B.S. in environmen- ta! sciences, with a wildlife focus. She is familiar with island-living having spent surmners on a small island in Casco Bay, Me. tbr over 20 years. Ms. Kirkland will be coordinating all aspects of environmental education programs at Felix Neck and overseeing Felix Neck's Fern and Feather Natural History Day camp. The Vineyard's two-legged, tbur- legged, winged, finned, furred, shelled, sticky-tongued and sharp-of-clawed populations are all in agreement in giving her a warm welcome. Josey Kirkland and friend. Please drive cautiously o on the Island s narrow roads. Unique furniture and accessories from Molar & McPhearson, beautiful handmade Turkish rugs, exquisite handblocked linens from India, original art by local Artists and more .... Come see our full collection of furniture and accessories at 7 Beach Street in Vineyard Haven (across from the Mansion House) you're sure to find something you can't live without! l I We're open Monday-Friday lOam-2pm 508.693.1955 TH E POLLY HI EL ARBORETUM Come 500or a 00tro!! With a diverse collection of over 1600 different types of plants this unique Vineyard landscape offers beauty , tranquility and abounds with horticultural and botanical rarities! Grounds open every day from sunrise to sunset Visitor Center open from 9:30am to 4:00pm with daily tours at 2pm Plants for sale every da3 with our annual Fall Plant Sale coming up September 15. Visit for more information. Bird News A Sord of Swallows By ROBERT A. CULBERT It is a spectacular feeling to be in the midst of a large flock of thousands of tree swallows! The birds are flying gracefully around you, making aerial acrobatics to snatch bugs out of the air. They can fly so close to you that you can hear their wings beating the air. Such flocks frequently number in the thousands and there may be so many of them that they completely cover the mofofa house when they roost at night. These flocks are a regular September occurrence at Katama or on any of our ocean beaches, from Cape Pogue to Wasque to Aquinnah. They are on their southward migration to their winter- ing grounds in Florida or even Central America. William Waterway found such a swarm of swallows -- thousands of them -- over the field, s of Katama on Sept. 8. Another interesting aspect of tree swallows is that they are one of the few birds that can eat the bayberries that are usually plentiful along the south shore of the Vineyard at this time of the year. They and the yellow-rumped warblers are perhaps the only birds that can digest the waxy layer covering the otherwise edible fruits. Blrd Sightlngs l.ast week was unusual in that there were two sightings of a southern va- grant, the yellow-throated warbler. Penny Uhlendorf and Scott Stephens saw one in the Phillips Preserve on Monday Sept 3. And on Sept. 6 I had two of them pass through nay yard in Vineyard Haven. I was inside working at the computer when I heard a song I did not recognize. Fortunately, it stayed around for a few minutes and I went outside to see what it was. 1 tracked it to the top of a tree in my front yard where there were two of them on one branch. Then they both flew westward out of my yard. Another impressive find was Tim Spahr's five lesser black-backed gulls at Long Point Wildlife Refuge. This unusual species can be difficult to separate from the great black-backed gull. Fortunately" a few of these birds were photographed to confirm their identification. While sightings of this species are becoming more frequent, seeing more than one individual at a time remains unusual. Of course Aquinnah is still a great place to find a wide selection of song- birds, especially early in the morning. It will remain a hotspot tlrough the fall; the birds are easier to find when the winds are calm. Such was not the case on Sept. 3, when there were strong i VINEYARD GAZETTE -k -k * "k * Jr r * -at * r r * CHANGE OF ADDRESS DATE EFFECTIVE: OLD: NEW: PLEASE NOTIFY 2 WEEKS PRIOR TO MOVE SEND TO: VINEYARD GAZETTE P.O. BOX 66, EDGARTOWN, MA 02539 OR CALL 508-627-4311 TOLL-FREE 1-877-850-0409 OR FAX 508-627-7444 OR E-MAIL Danny Mcl)owell Flight of the tree swallows. easterly • winds, but Warren Woessner was able to find one female Lapland longspur feeding on the ground with sparrows near the Homestead. On Sept. 6 winds were light out of the northeast and birders flocked to the western end of the Island. Flip Har- rington, Susan Whiting, Alex Greene, Warren Woessner and Tim Spahr were all there. Their highlights were a least flycatcher, yellow-breasted chat, prai- rie warbler, bobolink, dickcissel and an orchard oriole. At the Land Bank's Gay Head morraine were the follow- ing: a red-breasted nuthatch, red-eyed vireo, eastern phoebe, ovenbird, north- ern waterthrush, black and white war- bier, blackburnian warbler, redstart and a chestnut-sided warbler. On Sept. 10 at the cliffs, with light northerly winds, Matt Pelikan, Alex Greene and Lanny McDowell found a palm warbler, Cape May warbler, Wil- son's warbler, common yellowthroat, lots of blackpolls, lots of red-breasted nuthatches, bobolinks, cedar waxwings and, last but not least, a clay-colored sparrow. The .clay-colored sparrow was still there the next day when Alex Greene added to this list by spotting a palm warbler and a rather early white- throated sparrow. This latter species usually arrives in October. While Aquinnah is a hotspot, birding has been good elsewhere around the Island as well. A lot of birds were observed on Sept. 6. Pete Gilmour spotted a merlin in the western end of the state forest near the heath hen sculpture, which can be accessed from gate 19 on the Edgartown- West Tisbury Road (yes, gates at each fire lane are uniquely numbered). Larry Hepler spotted a veery in a bird bath in his Chilmark yard. This small thrush is not seen regularly on the Vineyard, and might have been missed if not for the bit'd bath, ’orming the importance of Using ONLY the Finest Ingredients since 1887 shallow water in a bird bath to attract birds. Ken Magnuson spotted the yel- low-crowned night heron at Eel Pond, along with the more usual black,bellied plovers, greater yellowlegs, American oystercatchers and great egrets. And Susan Whiting had three great blue her- ons at Hariph's Creek, plus a Cooper's hawk and eastern bluebirds at Quansoo. Jeff Bernier spotted and photo- graphed a pectoral sandpiper and black skimmers at Norton Point beach on Sept. 7. That same day Claudia Rogers spotted a great blue heron at Crack- atuxet Cove. On Sept. 8, Penny Uhlendorf reported that birding at Holt Farm and South Duarte's pond produced wood ducks, a blue-winged teal, a green heron, a great blue heron, two solitary sandpip- ers, an eastern wood-pewee, an east- ern phoebe, eastern bluebirds, a ruby- throated hummingbird and a juvenile chipping sparrow (which does not look like an adult). Mat Simoneau spotted a black tern between East and West Chops on Sept. 8, as he was sailing in the Moffett Cup race. On the same day, Pete Cruikshank spotted two species at Mink Meadows pond; a belted kingfisher and greater yellowlegs. Tim Johnson found a juvenile per- egrine falcon at Lobsterville on Sept. 9. Gene Sisco photographed three great egrets perched on wooden sluiceways in downtown Edgartown harbor. Tim and Sheila Baird reported that five great egrets were in the marshes along Sengekontacket Pond last week. And they had a red-breasted nuthatch visit their feeder on Sept. 1; they did not have any of them last winter. In addition to Tim Spahr's lesser black-backed gull reported above and his contributions at Aquinnah, this past week he also found a Philadelphia vireo at Sheriff's Meadow in Edgartown, and a very cooperative Baird's sandpiper at Long Point. And last but not least, not all sounds you hear are birds! There are crickets, cicadas and katydids calling day and night. But listen for the one-note call of the pinkletinks, which can be heard calling from even the tops of trees at any time of the day. When you hear them, note how far they are from the nearest wetland where they chorus in the spring. On the evening of Sept. 8, one was calling very loudly from the outside of my living room picture window, about a quarter mile from the nearest wetland. There are lots of birds around, so please get out and look for them, and then be sure to report your bird sight- ings to the Martha's Vineyard bird ho- tline at 508-645-2913 or email birds@ Robert Culbert leads guided birding tours ( bert.58) and is an ecological consultant living in Vineyard Haven. ................................. +III ............. [r M I OPE AT 6:00riM! The Vineyard Gardener Rainy Days and Saturdays By LYNNE IRONS Because I work outside all week, there's nothing like a rainy Sunday to put things in order for me. I'm sorry for you folks who count on sunny week- ends. I like to wash and prepare produce for the week. This past weekend, 1 made some refrigerator pickles, cooked and sliced beets to add to salads and peeled and chopped garlic. If the food is at the ready my evenings are much smoother. I've often joked that I spend all day mak- ing tomato sauce from scratch but send out for pizza in sheer exhaustion. The Gazette is quirky. For some unknown reason proper names only randomly receive capitalization. For ex- ample, often when I mention a cultivar of a particular plant it is not treated as a first name. I'm just saying. Fennel, especially the bronze one, is a prolific re-seeder. There is a patch of it in a day lily bed on the corner of Spring and William streets across from the First Baptist Church -- one can smell fennel from twenty feet away. I wish I used it more. I love the smell. I finally got around to staking dahl- ias. Don't do as I do. They were sadly sprawled on the ground and on other plants. Hopefully, they will settle into their new positions and give me some nice blooms to cut in the next couple of months. Sometimes we get such a late frost that I've had dahlias decorating the "Ihanksgiving table. Scientists should spend time study- ing weeds. It is fascinating how fast and well they grow. I've mentioned before the pigweed and lady finger growing in my never greenhouse. I never water them and you can't believe how hot it gets in there. Fortunately, when times get tough, these weeds are edible. Pigs, especially love both of them. I have a stand of false bamboo, AKA Japanese knotweed. I've spent almost 40 years trying to eliminate it, but I have managed to keep it somewhat contained. Recently my son Reuben went at it with a Bobcat. In just two weeks time, though, the entire area is covered with re-emerging babies, now over two inches tall. Supposedly the British brought it home from their far eastern travels and our ancestors brought it here. I guess if you didn't know any better you could call it pretty. I've noticed they've removed it from along the Tashmoo Overlook. Believe me, it's only temporary' Take my advice, although I rarely do, get rid of it at first sight. Cousin Mark has arrived for his an- nual visit, tte is laboring in the garden for me, a perfect houseguest. He has the hoophouse ready to receive seedlings. I started quite a few thll and winter greens which will be ready to trans- plant soon. Hopefully, I can keep them over the winter in the hoophouse with the sides down. It should keep things several degrees warmer and out of the driving wind. For decades I have received the Na- tional Geographic magazine -- I wish I could claim that I read it. There is never enough time. However, the photographs cannot be beat. The September issue has a huge article entitled "What's up with the weather?" You global warming deniers should take a look. There is a photo of a mile high dust storm hitting Phoenix that is downright astonishing. Once more, I must express my gratitude for living on the Vineyard. I would hate to depend on an earthen levee to keep a river out of the house. My memory fails to serve me. I do • not recall the nice roses along the fence of the Congregational Church in Were Tisbury' Have they always been there? Have I lost all my observational skills? If you have the loathsome hornworm on your tomato plants, don't kill it if it has white eggs on its back. They are the eggs of a parasitic wasp. As they hatch they will eat and destroy the worm and then go on to another worm and lay more eggs. I love Bill Clinton. What's not to love? Bubba rocked The Democratic National Convention. I have a fun experience to share about him. When he first came to the Vineyard as sitting president, I waited on him at The Black Dog. It was quite the night. I had my own Secret Service agent following me around. President Clinton could not have been more personable and kind. Several days later the motorcade stopped across the street from my house. My friend Sharlee and I managed our best Lucy and Ethel impersonations and were jumping up and down wav- ing at the car. Hillary rolled down the window and said, "Oh! Look! It's our waitress." Bill acknowledged us with a flashing grin. We were impressed that I was memorable given the crowds he encountered daily. Back to his speech. He speaks directly to, not at, each person. His genuine love of people shows. Next week I need to take on Paul Ryan in earnest! Carry In Carry Out Remember to keep Island beaches clean. Leave only footprints behind. Roses are P, ed * Violets are Blue We've Got Lots of Savin9 for You! Val & Al's Island Made Gelato Specialty Foods 0' Sweet and Savory Snacks Fine Cheeses and Cured Meats Books  Candy  Toys Hve you heard the newsl We are of(ering a ThanksgMng Catering Menu Frui00 Pies, 5avorf 5ide Pishes And... 5cones! Sunday  Mon-Thur 7AJ[-5PM ' /dI/'* I hNx Fri-Sat gAM-6PM GENERAL STORE' MornmgGlory | Farm I I ()-m-L, P'+ I Mile from Edgartown Main St { ._7  '" on the West Tisbuy Road 'SUMMER VEGETABLES Prepare and eat them the same day they re • picked for a memorable summer meal! Field-ripened • Green Beans • Leeks Tomatoes • Eggplant • Broccoli • Sweet Corn • Sweet Peppers • Swiss Chard Hot Peppers • Squashes • New Beets, yum! Fresh Lettuces • Fresh Herbs • Carrots • Kale • Bok Chol Pumpkin and Winter Squash Harvest is Under Way! Grown on our 55 acres on Martla's Vineyard FROM OUR KITCHEN SALAD BAR FRESH BREAD DAILY Apple, Peach @ Blueberry Pies all made from scratch. I Delicious Zucchini Bread, Big Fruit Muffins, The Freshest Salad Bar on Martha's Vineyard CHEESE. MILK. EGGS. BUTTER. HONEY• MAPLE SYRUP Our own Pork. Grass-fed Beef. and Pasture-ralsed ehieken. OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Monday-Saturday 9:00 to 6:00 • Sunday 9:00 to 5:00 . 508-627-9003 • The Athearn Family • www.morninggloryfarm.eom t 't .