Saddle-billed Stork Kruger, South Africa.

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Beautiful clouds seen from the Robert Seaman on an invitational sail around Tahiti and Moorea with the Sea Education Association

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Christmas Island – Threatened Paradise Photography Exhibit by Nigella Hillgarth Stetson Gallery, MA January 10-February 28


This exhibit highlights the paradox of the impact ice melting in Greenland and its impact on islands in the South Pacific so far away.

The islands of the South Pacific and their surrounding coral reefs are suffering from effects of climate change.  Warming oceans and atmosphere lead to rising sea levels. Water expands with heat, and land ice in the Arctic and Antarctic melts and adds water to the oceans.  This results in major problems for low lying islands.  Gradually islands have to be abandoned as seawater seeps into soil and freshwater supplies.  Eventually, land is washed away, and people have to leave their homes

Seafood is the main source of protein for the Islanders.  In recent years there has been much over-fishing in many areas.  Also, the coral reefs associated with these Pacific islands have suffered from the recent impacts of prolonged heating events over the summer when the water gets hotter than normal for months.  The coral ‘bleaches’ and may die.  These delicate ecosystems are not only highly biodiverse but also provide much of the food for the local community.

I have included photographs of Ikiribati (people from Kiribati) fishing, having fun on the lagoon and doing laundry in the ocean. This is designed to show how much their lives are entwined with the sea.  Other images show the beauty of the island together with its vulnerability from the ocean that surrounds it.

I have also included three images from Greenland where the ice is melting through several major glaciers down into the ocean.  Disco Bay is a world heritage site off the coast of the town of Ilulissat in West Greenland because of the huge icebergs that wait to go out to sea.  I think of these icebergs as beautiful and yet sad symbols of sea level rise.  The increasing melt in Greenland is part of the season the South Pacific islands are in trouble, however for the people of Greenland life is getter easier.  The harbour and coast no longer freeze all winter so fishing and transportation by boat to isolated communities are easier.  In the summer, there is more land suitable for farming as well.

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Late summer woodland birds in Maine

The last week in August is an interesting time.  Migrants are gorging on insects and seeds before moving south.  Resident birds are also taking advantage of plentiful food before fall comes.  Here are some photographs of residents plus a couple of beautiful warblers that will be leaving soon – A first year male Cape May Warbler and a female Black and White warbler.


Red-breasted NuthatchDSC_0765

White-breasted NuthatchDSC_0670

Hairy WoodpeckerDSC_0842DSC_0753

GoldfinchDSC_1280 (1)

Female Black andWhite Warbler DSC_0991

First year male Cape May Warbler DSC_0995

Chipping SparrowDSC_0828


Possible song sparrowDSC_1277

Black capped Chickadee

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A Redwing in Iceland

I was surprised by a loud, unfamiliar song, and a large thrush landed in the bush in front of me.  At eye level, I was confronted by the vibrant ghost of Irish winter past right in the middle of a bursting Icelandic spring. A redwing sang and preened in front of me.  I should not have been so surprised, but this is a bird from the Thrush family, that I have only known from the shadowy winter flocks of birds that lurked in the fields around my childhood home.


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Details on the Shore, Boothbay Harbor, Maine

The rock formations along the shore of Maine continue to fascinate me.  This spring I looked more closely and found nature details everywhere.  Violets and ground ivy tucked in around the rocks, or on the edge of flower beds nurtured by last year’s acorn husks. The ground ivy is not native to America but was used for food and medicine in Europe, and may have come to Maine with early settlers.  As a result, it has many common names. Field balm makes sense but, gill-over-the-ground still puzzles me.





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A walk in Porter Preserve, Boothbay, Maine

I went to Maine this Spring just before warm weather burst on the scene and buds broke fully open.  The land was green with recent moisture and seemed full of anticipation of real Spring.  Porter Preserve, Boothbay Region, Land Trust is a lovely small reserve on the Sheepscot River.  I took a few photographs with my phone as I walked along the three-quarters of a mile long trail.




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