Friday, March 29, 2013

Muskrats, beaver, herons and deer

Northwest of Boston lies a large wildlife refuge area called Great Meadows, including Concord and Assabet rivers and large wetland areas along both of them. Many birders carrying binoculars were there, and we did see many different birds. I'm no expert on water fowl, but I think we saw ringbilled ducks, goldeneye ducks, bufflehead ducks, mallards, geese, and a grebe. A heron and a turkey vulture also flew by. The blackbirds were singing and swallows were flying low over the water.

 This couple seemed to be looking for a proper nesting site.

Dogwoods among the cat tails were redder than ever. The boys had lots of fun dismantling cat tails in the wind and made passersby happy with their playing, and all our clothes full of fluff.

 The sun kept struggling to come out, and we saw dramatic changes in the sky - faraway rain, heavy clouds, rays of sun.

The calm Concord river. The sign told us to watch out for river otters.

This goldfinch greeted us from a maple - almost all molted by now!

This female mallard blends in so well with the ground. She is not yet nesting, but she will hopefully find a safe place soon.
Behind and to the left of her are lotus seed pods. Obviously someone introduced them to this area, I don't know if they stay put or tend to be more invasive. We took some of the dried out pods home to decorate.

We also saw muskrats! They were quite funny, like this one trying to climb on top of the bottom one, give him a rub and then splash back into the water. We saw others pursuing mates and a few just taking it easy and washing their faces very much like a cat does it.

On the way we passed a large rather messy wetland with obvious beaver impact, and in the middle we saw heron nests. We drove in to the cemetery right by and walked down to the water. From there we could count about 10 inhabited nests, and 13 herons, a few sharing a nest. My camera was not cooperating very well, but it was still an amazing sight. We might try to go back, on a sunny morning in about two weeks, and try to get a better look.

On the way out: ripples in the water, and a beaver swam by, but dived before I could take a picture.

We stopped briefly by Assabet river. The sun was coming out, it was close to 7 and it was a gorgeous night. Just a few days ago, my friend saw another beaver swimming by, and doing the characteristic tail splash before diving underwater.
And before we finally had to hit the road home again, we saw six deer on a field. I will soon visit this great place again.

1 comment: