Night Life on Bangs Island

My last day on Bangs Island ends with watching the last ember of light fall below the horizon.  Mid-level stratus clouds form the canopy above me as I sit awhile longer on the old dry log at the top of the “beach.”  I use the quotation marks because at high tide there isn’t much more than a couple of feet above water below the log.  Crushed stone is the prime ingredient worn down by the wind, sea, and weather.  Years upon years of change.  I wonder which ones have been here the longest and in what form.  Our world is utterly amazing.  I find it hard to imagine how the diversity of the world we live on now was a single mass surrounded by the sea so many years ago.  Compare the timeline with outs and we are just infants in the span of the universe.

I elect to settle down inside the tent for the utterly boring dinner.  Darkness has descended.  The air is warm and the night filled with the song and chatting of night critters.  Click on orange arrow in picture to listen.  I believe the bird call is that of an Eider Duck.  There were quite a few in the area today.  Photo cover for the audio is of a flotilla of females from earlier today.

The Maine Island Association (MITA) guidebook asks boaters to report areas where Eider nesting occurs. The Eider’s are not on an endagnered species list. However, nesting areas are greatly diminished due to lack of suitable habitat, meaning safe from human impact.

commen eiderPhoto credit Dendroica cerulea  Foter  CC BY-NC-SA

commen eiderPhoto credit Dendroica cerulea Foter CC BY-NC-SA

My photo of a pair of female Eiders isn’t very good. So here is one I downloaded.









It certainly is a critter night.  The day was so nice that I left the tent doors open rather than leaving them closed with the screens unzipped.  Oh boy, big mistake!  I fell asleep before mediation time.  Nothing new with that as I’m usually tired, even on days that I don’t paddle.  My alarm went off at 9 pm.  I donned my headlamp and turned it on.  The sound of “jumpy things” reverberated through the tent, sounding like rain.  I looked at the floor and these tiny little critters covered it popping up against the sides of the tent where they meet the floor a few inches above on the sides.  There were hundreds underneath the tent jumping too.  The warm day must have heated up the ground beneath the tent to wake up these tiny jumpy things, many of which decided the inside of the tent was even better.  I took my meds and quickly turned off the light.  Now, what?  This things are inside and outside of the tent.  I doubt that sleeping out on the grass will help the situation.  Invitation, “Come and get me!”  I settled for stating several times, “Stay out of my sleeping bag!” and then added a humble, “Please.”  I zipped myself inside as if I were on a winter trek, sealing myself inside as tightly as possible.  I awoke a few times in the night happy that the jumpy things obliged my request.

Morning brought an additional inspection of the state of living critters in my tent.  I cleared everything out to find hundreds of the jumpy things still alive.  I shook out as many as possible but a bit of a slaughter did have to take place to completely rid my “house” of the pesky things.

A little research here at home helped me locate who the tent invasion of jumpy things were.  They are Terrestrial Amphipods or Sand Fleas and sometimes referred to as Lawn Shrimp as they turn orange after death.  (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Talitridae) Click here for detailed inforamation.

Click on Orange Arrow as you did in the first audio clip.  Note that the photo should be credited to to : Sarah Gregg | Italy / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA




About Just Jude

I grew up on a small farm in Michigan but have always felt the urge to wander and began doing so as a teenager. Since that time, I've hiked, biked and paddled in every season; not for sport, but for the journey.

Posted on April 18, 2015, in Bangs island, Casco Bay, Kayaking, Maine, Maine Coast, Nature, Photos, Solo Journeys, Twenty One Days at Sea and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Yes, Jude, it’s amazing how the earth evolved to this point from when it was a covered with ice or water (or molten rock)!
    Sure seems like a lot of nature out there! 🙂 Those lawn shrimp sure look a lot like grammarus shrimp that occur in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds here in Illinois. Some people keep them in aquariums with their fish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My travels and studies continuously reveal how little I know. A wonderful challenge for the rest of my days on this planet.
      aquariums are fine, just not my tent 😀


  2. I think you coped better than I would have with those hundreds of critters in your tent. Not knowing what they actually were would have been disconcerting. I guess if they were not biting you (?) then that’s something. Here, I am quite concerned about paralysis ticks. Other tick species don’t bother me as much. What a very interesting creature it was even though it caused you concern! Thank you for researching it for us and sharing the picture. Thank you also for sharing the lovely night sounds. How soothing to listen to nature instead of traffic, sirens and other city noise. We do live in an amazing world with so much to wonder at. There is always something to discover if only we are open to looking. Great post, Jude. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I coped due to years of bugs druing my travels. I once had an ant crawl inside my ear while sleeping on the ground. The pain near my eardrum woke me and it hurt! Didn’t what to do for a bit and still in pain. The plan that arose was soak my bandana to drip water inside my ear and drown the thing. I didn’t make it to “town” for five more days where I dug it out.
      Ticks are a different ‘animal and something to watch. City noise and lights can go away forever! Glad you liked the recordings. just for fun, I brought my mini-digital recorder with me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think they’re still there; there’s a commune (that I visited many years ago in Tennessee) called “The Farm”; most of the many people who lived there lived in tents.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jude, Your terrestrial amphipods are fascinating little critters, and quite musical in their own way. (No matter how careful I am at securing my tent, something always finds a way in. Last time for me, it was tree frogs!) Enjoyed the eiders too! They are such beautiful birds. Happy Trails!

    Liked by 1 person

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