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Outdoors: Your Turn reader photos

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    Brian K. Lovering of New Gloucester got a photo of this gull taking off at sunset at Ferry Beach in Saco.

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    It was the one that got away. This barred owl was on its perch in Wilton with an eye on a red squirrel and thoughts of dinner, but as Jim Knox reports, the squirrel escaped.

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    A pair of foxes scampered on the Bridgton property of Bill Pries, and he reports, "they are very healthy looking."

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    The ice is starting to form around the edges of this bog in New Gloucester, where Brian Lovering of New Gloucester got out to enjoy a beautiful fall sunset.

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    What's the buzz? Well, it was happening at Skillins Greenhouse in Cumberland, where the bees were busy on various plants, reports Erik Bartlett of South Casco. He was close enough to see the pollen around its eyes and antennae.

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    Sheri Farthing of South Casco not only has a wonderful view from her dock on Thomas Pond, she also sees an occasional heron, which 'stayed for several minutes looking for prey.'

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    These two black swallowtail caterpillars made themselves at home on a parsley plant in Roger Marchand's backyard in Gorham.

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    The colors and the sound of music coming from this hermit thrush as it forages for some of the fruits and seeds in a burning bush in Wilton were a treat for Jim Knox.

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    Former University of New England athletic director Jack McDonald spotted this red-shouldered hawk on Pool Street in Biddeford.

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    Maybe next time, Pam Carr's husband will join her walking the dog. She got a photo of a wood turtle in Arundel. "My husband was excited … and jealous that he was not there to see it because of the relative rarity of these beautiful turtles," she said.

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    Martha Huestis spied this porcupine at the Kennebunk plains. "They sure look cute from a distance!"

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    Karen Bailey of Freeport reports seeing this five-month old female red fox kit enjoying the summer evening.

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    A caterpillar takes a stretch break on a sunny afternoon on Andrea Cough's deck in Damariscotta. A few moments later, it continued on its travels.

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    Kettle Cove was buzzing in Cape Elizabeth for Brian Lovering of New Gloucester, who found this bee busy at work.

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    "How lucky we are to have these beautiful birds summering in Portland," says Linda Rogoff. And "they dont seem to be in a hurry to leave."

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    This regal-looking toad perches itself on the granite steps of Glenn Parkinson's home in Freeport shortly after sunset.

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    Now that might make you think twice about jumping off the dock. Mary Thorp sent in this photo taken by her vacationing neighbor, Ray Kimball, from Thomas Pond in Raymond. The snapping turtle "basked in the sun on our float after dragging himself out of the water and onto the raft."

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    Erik Bartlett leaves a coffee cup as an impromptu rain gauge at his home in South Casco, but recently found a bright-colored visitor. "These caterpillars are all over the place," Bartlett says.

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    They're not snappers, but these painted turtles found a spot on the Presumpscot River where Bruce Small was able to take this photo. "There are a lot of painted turtles, a variety of birds, and many, many water lilies," says Small.

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    There's quite en ecosystem on display outside the home of Herb Fox in Limerick. From squirrels snagging a meal from the bird feeder in the front yard – "the ones in the back yard do it the old fashioned way and work," said Fox. Then there's the hummingbirds, with their days in Maine numbered. "I'm going to miss my hummingbird visits. One still here yesterday but I didn't see him today."

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    I'm going to miss my hummingbird visits. One still here yesterday but I didn't see him today. Front yard squirrels live out of the bird feeder while the ones in the backyard do it the old fashioned way and work. Not sure what bird this is but we've had them flocking up in the backyard. Hummingbird posed one more time yesterday. Herb Fox, Limerick … sent 091017

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    There's quite an ecosystem on display outside the home of Herb Fox in Limerick. There are squirrels snagging a meal from the bird feeder in the front yard – "the ones in the backyard do it the old fashioned-way and work," said Fox. Then there are the hummingbirds, with their days in Maine numbered. "I'm going to miss my hummingbird visits. One still here yesterday but I didn't see him today."

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    A pair of very curious river otters peek out of the water of Pleasant River in Windham as Bruce Small and his wife pass by in their kayaks.

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    Hummingbirds will soon be going south, but Brian Lovering of New Gloucester captured this one in midflight.

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    Yes, it's apple season for this squirrel. And Erik Bartlett of South Casco was especially impressed with its strength. "I've seen them take small, green, ones from my tree frequently, but this one was quite heavy, at least for a squirrel," reports Bartlett.

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    Brian Lovering of New Gloucester traveled to the Southport Island, near Boothbay, and snagged a few images of this dragonfly buzzing around the gardens of the old Lincoln School.

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    This curious weasel kept on darting out to peek at Brad Woodward of Old Orchard Beach during a walk at Timber Point in Biddeford. The cute appearance will change to white in winter – except for the black tip on the tail.

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    Dennis Wyman was having breakfast, and didn't need to go far to find this tiny frog, sitting in a tiny puddle of water on the deck railing.

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    Caught red-handed, this raccoon was in search of an easy snack when Heidi Reed of Waterboro nabbed the thief.

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    This year's gaggle of geese makes its way on Maranacook Lake in Winthrop. George Szadis wondered if they were practicing a V-formation as they prepare for migration. "They still need a little work," observed Szadis.

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    Doug Pride of Falmouth was kayaking in Dennys Bay near Lubec and spotted this heron shagging a quick snack.

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    As Chuck Dinsmore of Damariscotta reports, it was not a good day for this sphinx moth caterpillar, who suffered a fatal infestation of its own. A wasp laid its eggs in the caterpillar, and as the wasp larvae grew it emerged through the caterpillar's skin to forms the white cocoon-like structuress.

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    Carolyn Sloat of Cumberland has a resident under her back porch. "The little critter zipped under the back porch when it saw me, but came out this far."

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    A squirrel on a post, OK, but this brave one is about 20 feet up on the pier at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Exposed to eagles? Maybe. Taking a spot normally occupied by a sea gull? Sure. The best view in town? Definitely.

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    Brian Lovering of New Gloucester spotted this eagle, taking off from its perch and into the sunset, near Gillespie Farms in New Gloucester.

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    Looks like a lovely day for a swim, and that's just what this loon thought on a late-July morning at Highland Lake in Bridgton. The loon had been hanging out around Judy Peters' dock for about an hour before diving in and swimming by to set up this fine shot. "It totally made my summer vacation!" writes Peters.

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    Rise and shine! This barred owl appears to be waking up during a lengthy stay in Carol Fetters' Georgetown backyard.

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    A branch 30 feet up a tree near Estes Lake makes for a cozy napping spot for this porcupine, as captured by Michael Towne of Alfred.

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    Vaughn Davis grows his own black oil sunflowers, and this female cardinal knows to come to his backyard to find something special.

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    A six-legged piping plover? Not really, says Robert Duffey. It's the chicks who know where to hide – in mom's plumage – while on a southern Maine beach.

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    Jim Knox of Wilton spied a deer and her fawns checking out someone's apple tree in Wilton.

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    Linda Rogoff of Portland watched this heron during an evening walk around the Back Cove. While it was on the prowl for a meal, she "didn't see it catch anything."

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    Why plant a garden in the summer in Maine? Just ask Kelly Mull of Scarborough. "To see beauty beyond flowers. The swallowtail is one of my favorites."

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    Heidi Lynch of Hollis was helping move a trailer when this frog made an appearance. She tried to move it out of harm's way, but "he quickly jumped away when we tried to move him."

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    There was beauty on Togus Pond in Augusta, and Kathleen Campbell was there to witness and capture these loons from her dock.

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    Erik Bartlett of South Casco captured a photo of this swallowtail butterfly seeking out nectar.

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    Ospreys are an annual sighting for Chris Fleuriel of Brunswick, but this is the first year he has seen chicks, too.

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    Of course the natives are friendly when you visit Maine, as Matt Degnan of Falls Church, Virginia, found out on his recent vacation trip to Lovejoy Pond in Fayette. "I went for a morning kayak paddle to photograph wood ducks, but was surprised to find a raccoon intently looking for a meal. After a short search he successfully caught – and quickly disappeared with – a large crayfish."

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    A seal of approval came from Brad Woodward of Old Orchard Beach on a visit to Fortune's Rock in Biddeford. "I rarely see more than a head peaking above the water's surface, so didn't realize they grew so large.

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    Mim Thomas of Cushing stumbled upon a group of week-old sparrows, but they were not there long. "They have grown and flew off two weeks later," said Thomas.

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    Laurie de Paolo of Cape Elizabeth got a treat while cycling, catching a glimpse – and a photo – of a great blue heron. There was also a black-crowned heron nearby. "They were both very intent on catching their supper, so I was fortunate, I think, that their concentration was elsewhere."

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    Nancy Posey of Portland could feel the eyes on her. "I looked up while in the garden with my camera and saw this little critter. First time I've ever seen a weasel!"

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    Robert E. Duffey of Scarborough watched this pileated woodpecker drop down from the treetops to join a horde of ants breakfasting on a decaying tree trunk.

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    Wayne Gelston of Raymond had this little guy fly into the French doors. "I picked him up and he was out cold. After a couple of minutes he woke up and perched on my little finger. He sat there for a couple of minutes, took flight and flew around my head a couple of times and headed into the woods."

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    Roger Marchand of Gorham made a recent trip to the Coastal Botanical Garden in Boothbay, and there was plenty of blooming to attract plenty of bees.

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    Vicki Chick of Waterboro got quite a show while sitting on her deck. "I saw this bald eagle fly in and land in a tree across the lake from our place on Square Pond. He sat there watching the fish in the lake below for quite some time and when he spotted the right one, he swooped down and caught it."

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    This raccoon was caught red-handed. Paul Wells of West Kennebunk enjoys feeding the birds in his yard in, but sometimes the feeders were empty in the morning. "One afternoon last week we came home and caught this young bandit in the middle of a proverbial 'daring daylight robbery,'" said Wells. The critter went straight up the tree and maintained a lookout for quite some time.

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    Robert E. Duffey of Scarborough reports that the wood warblers are moving through southern Maine. "These colorful little bundles of energy are truly a sight to behold as they move from limb to limb devouring the insects they need to fuel their journey north." Duffy was able to get photos of this yellow-throated warble.

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    Robert E. Duffey of Scarborough reports that the wood warblers are moving through southern Maine. “These colorful little bundles of energy are truly a sight to behold as they move from limb to limb devouring the insects they need to fuel their journey north.” Duffy was able to get a photo of a chestnut-sided warbler, barely 5 inches long.

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    A stop at Panther Run along Route 302 in Raymond was the place for Erik Bartlett of South Casco to find this family of mallards, "first swimming across the water, then at the edge of the peninsula."

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    Bob Pratt saw a duck around his pond in Owls Head, but he also spied this eagle, who might have been searching for dinner.

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    This oriole might have a look of fear – Kelly Mull of Scarborough said it's actually warming up to her – but the orange prize was well worth any risk.

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    It was a rainy and quiet day at Parsons Beach when a great egret and Martha Heustis of Kennebunkport had a meeting. "I don't like that we startled each other, but I'm glad I had my camera," wrote Huestis.

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    This family of geese was able to enjoy the Saturday sunshine at Reid State Park in Georgetown, and so did Jill Ventry.

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    They missed a Mother's Day hatching, but this Canada goose and her gander have been walking the goslings around in South Portland, where Brian Lovering of New Gloucester was there to capture it.

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    They missed a Mother's Day hatching, but this Canada goose and her gander have been walking the goslings around in South Portland, where Brian Lovering of New Gloucester was there to capture it.

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    Ethan Smith of Cumberland spied a fox mom and her kits in a field while riding with his dad to karate practice. The 10-year-old went back the next few nights with his mom and got a few striking photos, including this one with one kit above ground and the other poking its head out of the den. "Ethan is a nature lover and recently became interested in photography. He was thrilled to find the foxes and capture them at play!" reports his dad, Wiley Smith.

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    For Ilene Knight of South Portland, "I always know spring has arrived with the arrival of the grackle!" Well Ilene, happy spring to you!

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    After its meal at the feeding station in George and Barbara Wyman's back yard in Brunswick, it was time for a rest for this white-throated sparrow.

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    Jim Knox was walking in Wilton, when "I walked up onto a fox den; Had to act very fast! (although it does not look like it) ...." If it was picture day for these kits, then they were dressed for the occasion, and the photographer was in top form.

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    Mark Brown of Phippsburg ran across this northern brown snake, but fortunately did not run it over. It "was taking advantage of one of the few recent sunny stretches to warm itself on my driveway at home. Fortunately I discovered him before he accidentally got run over and moved him over to the safety of my garden."

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    Let's give Erik Bartlett some credit for getting yet another stunning shot at his home in South Casco. "I was finally able to get a photo of a male cardinal feeding his mate a sunflower seed," he wrote. "I haven't often seen this, but it's very striking when it happens."

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    So Kelly Mull is watching the cardinals and bluebirds in Scarborough, "and then comes the turkey. He wants in on the birdseed, too!"

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    OK, we've all heard of having your head in th clouds .... but your boat? For Chris Coburn, the reflection off China Lake created an interesting illusion.

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