Jennifer Steen Booher

Asticou Dock, January 29, 2019 (Beachcombing series No.92

On January 29, 2019 I drove across the island to the Asticou Landing in Northeast Harbor. If you follow my Coast Walk project, you might remember visiting the Landing back in the fall of 2017. It looks a little different in the winter. It was 18ºF (-8ºC) but there was no wind, so it didn’t feel too cold.

Just left of center, at the edge of the stone terrace, you can just make out a pale grey, leafless tree. It’s a beautiful European Beech (Fagus sylvatica). Check out the gorgeous bark:

I think it was one of the plants that Charles Savage brought over from Beatrix Farrand’s estate when Savage was designing the Azalea Garden and the Asticou Terraces.

Somehow I never seen beech nuts before! The seeds are sort of winged, and they fit into these bristly pods:

Looking across the water to the town marina:

Every time I go exploring I get fascinated by something and take a lot of photos of it. I mentioned that it was 18º out, right? You’re going to see a lot of ice in this post. This is freshwater ice – meltwater and seepage coming under the road through a culvert:

See how clear and crystalline it is?

These lumpy, bubbly shapes formed where water dripped slowly off the icicles in the photos above, like stalagmites in a cave:

Now this is saltwater ice, formed where the high tide lapped at the boulder:

The high tide marks are always really clear in the winter! But see how different the ice is:

Where the freshwater ice was crystal clear, this sea ice is kind of hazy and makes the stone look blurry:

There was a flock of Bufflehead ducks (Bucephala albeola) floating around out in the harbor. I kept waiting for them to come within camera range, but they were taking no chances and stayed well offshore:

More sea ice, but this kind is as clear as the freshwater ice:

I try not to get wet while I’m beachcombing when it’s below freezing, but sometimes I spot something in the water and have to take my gloves off and go for it:

The shore was covered in mussel shells:

Seriously, piles and piles of mussels:

And a ton of periwinkles, too.

If you’re curious, here is everything in the still life photo, top to bottom, left to right:

Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis), driftwood, sardine tin cover, soft shell clam (Mya arenaria), White Pine cone (Pinus strobus), beech seeds (Fagus sylvatica), beech seed capsules, Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum), sea glass, Blue Mussel, periwinkles, Soft Shell Clam, periwinkles, clam shell hinge, Dog Whelk (Nucella lapillus), Blue Mussel, plastic bottle cap with Northern Rock Barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides), Blue Mussel, nacre of Blue Mussel, barnacle, Limpet (Testudinalia testudinalis), Slipper Shell (Crepidula fornicata), clam, beech seed capsules, lobster claw (Homarus americanus), periwinkles stained by iron chains in the water, broken glass, plastic wrapper, beech branch, beech seeds, periwinkles, bottle neck.

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