|Well, you haven’t seen any blogs in a while because this spring has been so busy. Yang and I have had more than a few excursions, so I have plenty to report. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of pictures because we were too busy enjoying the wonderful scenery or sighting extraordinary critters. So, let’s get started. To get a really good look at the photos, be sure to click on them.
While I was busy educating myself on Medieval and Renaissance literature, history, philosophy, and culture at the Keene State College Medieval and Renaissance forum, Yang was chugging up Mt. Monadnock. This was an extraordinary day with the temperature surging to 85 degrees. Still, you can hear the wind whipping through the trees in this video. Nevertheless, Yang almost made it to the top of the mountain. As you can see from these photos, the view was gorgeous. However, this is my favorite shot.
Later on, we were off on our bicycles and checked out the extension of the Fairhaven trail to Mattapoisett, MA. The day was warm and sunny. We were lucky enough to catch some sightings of neat shore birds. We saw this Greater Yellowlegs. You can’t actually see how yellow his legs are because he’s in pretty deep water. These birds are tall. This spring, we’ve also seen these guys in Connecticut and in western Mass. They love the shore on a lake or the ocean.
We also saw a Great Egret. Sorry, no picture. But his legs and feet are something: long black gams finished with big lumpy bright yellow tootsies! Like clown shoes! We do have several pictures of a particularly gorgeous bird: Green Heron. His colors are gorgeous – green/blue crest and back, chesnut neck, white stripes from his eyes to the back of his head, splashes of white dripping down a beautiful chestnut front.
Bluff Point is near Mystic in Connecticut. So, after a nifty lunch of croissant sandwiches and (for me) coffee latte, we drove over for a new walk. You start out along the shore, on the edge of the woods, then the trail can lead you into the woods where Carolina Wrens call out to you and songbirds tease you. One trail veers back toward the shore where you can walk or swim (not when we went, though!), then along a rise that becomes the point at the end of a peninsula. Lots of water birds like Cormorants sport in the waves, while I saw three Guillemots fly past, which Yang missed because he was looking out to sea with his binoculars. Bluff Point is beautiful place for a hike and even a picnic.
We made it to the trail we call “The Secret Place,” even though it’s not so very secret since we usually see at least one person walking there – and that day we saw a few kayaks on the reservoir. Anyway, I’ve blogged on this spot before: click here. On this Sunday, after bagels at the best bagels I know, Bagel Time, we saw some cool birds. Here’s a shot of a Golden Crowned Kinglet. These guys are so high up, it’s hard to get a really good picture. Last year, we saw Ruby Crowned Kinglets like nobody’s business, but no Golden Crowneds. So, yay! we finally got to see the Golden Crowned. We also saw one of Yang’s favorites, the Eastern Kingbird. Thank goodness these guys LOVE to sit on top of dead trees and stand out against the sky. They are extremely bold and vocal. You can see from his ‘tude, how he got the “King” in his name. Yang also got this great shot of the Kingbord soaring through the blue, below.
And wouldn’t you know, here’s another Yellowlegs. I’m not sure if it’s the Greater of the Lesser, but it’s definitely a Yellowlegs. To get a really good look, be sure to click on the photo.
We also saw a Mamma Mallard with her ducklings. At one point, the kids swam into and around the Yellowlegs. He was all, “What in Sam Hill?!” But he kept on trucking in his direction and the kids kept trucking in their own. We saw Pappa Mallard fly off squawking, leaving Mom alone with the kids – and on Mother’s Day, too!
Finally, we did sight an extraordinary first-ever bird for both of us: a Blue-Winged Warbler. Of course, we were unable to get a good shot of him, so I’ll include a professional photo of one. this guy was a brilliant yellow, almost with a hint of orange; his wings were a blue-grey. His color reminded me of the yellow warbler. It was cool to hear him serenade us whole heartedly from atop a towering Maple. This photo perfectly captures exactly how he looked as he sang. Click here for more info on this bird from the Cornell Lab “All About Birds,” also the source of this image
Finally, here’s a tale of Yang’s heroism. We were walking on the Blackstone River Trail in Worcester, when from our vantage point on a bridge, Yang spotted a Gamera-sized snapping turtle flailing away on its back. Yang’s first thought was to flip the turtle. My first thought was for him not to have any limbs snapped off. He figured on getting a a branch to use as a lever. I figured to tell him to make sure the branch was thick and looong. He managed to get down to the river bank, and it took him three thick long branches (because two of them snapped under 100lbs. of turtle), but he did it. So enjoy the shots of the turtle he rescued.
So, that’s all for now – and I haven’t even reported on everything!