A Letter To Sir Joseph Blaine  LbNA # 38707

Placed DateApr 4 2008
Location???, CT
Found By ???
Last Found Nov 18 2010
Hike Distance?

Sir Joseph Blaine
Member of the Royal Society

My Dearest Joseph,
--- How the time has slipped by since my last correspondence. I hope this letter finds you well.
--- You will be most intrigued by my most recent journey abroad naturalizing. I remembered that you had once requested if I was ever in this part of the world to pay particular attention for several specific beetles, which I'm sure you remember. You also recommended that I should introduce myself to the right Honorable Rufus Lyme Barringer, as he is a particular expert in the local geography and local avians, as well as a distant member of the Royal Society.
---With permission from Captain Aubrey, while HMS Surprise was being repaired and revittled, I went ashore to see the local fauna and flora. I brought Padeen with me as he is always an invaluable asset in all things. He carried my specimen cages and any gear that we might need.
--- Once contact was made with Mr. Barringer, he brought Padeen and myself to a fantastic little spot. The wonders of this spot were just astounding. We left our carriage and entered the woods at the trail's beginning. Quickly we entered and then left a cedar grove. Oddly enough, Mr. Barringer insisted on calling it a forest, even though we walked through the lovely little grotto quickly.
--- As we exited the cedar grotto…ah, sorry, forest, Mr. Barringer brought me to the edge of a wonderful little field edged by old fence posts. This field boundary was his chief spot for observation. He wanted to show me the crown jewel of area.
--- We sat at the Northern most fence post for more than an hour, not moving, afraid that any sudden movement would keep it at bay. However, Padeen, God Bless him, saw it and quietly pointed out a tiny green blur. It was an Archilochus Colubris, live and in the flesh. I was astounded at the size and speed. We watched it raptly for fifteen to twenty minutes, until it zipped behind a moderately sized twin-trunked tree at three hundred and thirty degrees from where we sat. Quietly we snuck up to the tree and were able to just glance it hovering over a flower and then it flitted away over the next ridge and beyond our reach. Oh joy of joys, that little bird was just amazing. What I would have given to acquire a specimen for dissection.
--- After witnessing the Colubris Mr. Barringer continued taking us down the trail to show us the rest of the wonders of this marvelous little area. We left the field where we saw the Colubris and walked through a hemlock forest. The forest gave way to a ravine overlook, drainage trail and stream erosion and deposition. Bedrock was easily visible. Undercuts and bars led to a flood plain and an old stream bed. Stream valley vegetation grew up around glacial boulders and erratics.
--- While we enjoying the view from some sand and gravel terraces, I spied a Cicindela Sexguttata at the base of a tree. Remembering that this is a beetle that you had been in search of, for some time I endeavored to sneak up on it and catch it in my handkerchief. Alas, I was just about on the tiny beast when in the distance Captain Aubrey started a great gun exercise. As you know it is his particular custom to do that every afternoon. And as you can most likely guess, that mass of sound so frightened the tiny creature that it got away before I could nab it. Ah such is life, I am truly sorry, my friend.
--- Mr. Barringer led us back to our carriage through a field of mixed vegetation. Oddly enough, right before we arrived at our carriage we passed an averted development of a homestead. We didn't have the time to stay and ponder such things though, as the great gun exercise indicated it was time to return to the Surprise.
---Barret Bonden was waiting for us at the carriage. Captain Aubrey had sent him due to the tide turning shortly. I could hear Captain Aubrey saying in my mind, "There isn't a moment to be lost!"
---I bid adieu to Mr. Barringer and allowed Barret to lead Padeen and myself to the long boat. I watched the wood and shoreline recede thinking of all the wonders I had missed. But such is life in the Royal Navy.
---As always, I will keep an eye to the ground on our next stop for any and all interesting beetles and creatures.

Your humble servant and good friend.
Stephen Maturin,
Physician Royal Navy,
HMS Surprise

(With the deepest apologies to Mr. Patrick O'Brian.)