Silky Fluid Meets Rigid Rocks

Peaks Island, ME (Google Earth photo)

The waves beat against the unyielding rocks. Yet, given enough time, the water wins.

Maine’s coastal rocks are the result of plate tectonics and glaciation. They formed from layers of underground silt subjected to heat and pressure. When the North Atlantic plate rammed the North American plate these rocks were pushed to the surface. Glaciers then added their finishing touches.

Long Island, from Wharf Cove, Peaks Island

Cycling Up the Eastern Promenade


So far this spring the weather hasn’t met my minimum  requirements too often for cycling (wind <25 mph, no rain, and temp 50º F +). However, two days ago I did have an opportunity to begin some hill training. Here’s a shot from the Promenade looking across Casco Bay with Fort Gorgeous; and Little Diamond (left), Peaks (center), and House (right) Islands in the background.

Winter Moths on Peaks Island

The other night while driving to my friends’ on Peaks Island I saw thousands of winter moths in my headlights. When I returned home there were dozens on the outside wall by my lighted front door. I told my friends about this who said that southern Maine is loaded with these pests that became established in the area around 2012.

A little research on my part found that they are native to Europe and the Near East; they were inadvertently introduced into Canada in the 1930s. They have no predators in North America and are now established in New England and the Pacific Northwest.

They are highly destructive of deciduous trees, as they eat the leaves during the caterpillar stage of their life cycle. The tree will die if it is infested with this caterpillar for several years in a row.

Remedies to limit these moths have included spraying plants in the spring before the ambient temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and tying sticky strips around tree trunks so the wingless female cannot climb up to lay her eggs in the tree’s crown. However, a more effective strategy is to release its natural predator, a wasp (Agrypon flaveolatum) and a fly (Cyzenis albicans). The latter has worked particularly well recently in Massachusetts, but not so well in the Portland, Maine area where there have been at least two major fly releases, as reported in the Bangor News and by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry.

The infestation of winter moths does not seem to be related to climate change, but rather global shipping and travel. You can read more about this pest in a Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry document.