Wednesday, April 25, 2012

a quiet day at the great blue heron rookery

I like to check out the progress of spring at some of the local spots and with all the warm weather, it's especially interesting.

In the 95 degree heat on  April 16  (95 in April?!?!?!) the great blue heron rookery in North Andover was very quiet. The herons were on the nests and not moving around much. A lone Canada goose hung out in the reeds. A single tree swallow swooped down after bugs. The fastest moving creature I saw was a northern water snake swimming past. I heard downy and hairy woodpeckers, redwinged blackbirds, and chickadees, but they all remained invisible.

All Quiet at the Heron Rookery
Triple Decker with All Families at Home
Since I took these photos, the heron rookery has gotten some love in the local press. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune had a great article in the April 22 edition about how protecting the beavers has been good for the great blue herons.  The slideshow is spectacular.  The other inhabitants of the Carter Fields area are a pair of great-horned owls. I managed to miss them the last couple of times, but the Eagle Tribune article has a nice photo of them too.

There are tons of eastern painted turtles there too, and with the warm, sunny, days they have been sunning on logs. It's kind of hard to photograph them through all the reeds, but this one is actually kind of visible.


 As with any wetland, there's plenty of skunk cabbage there too.

Skunk Cabbage Unfurled
The rookery is on the North Andover Boxford line. I always think of it as North Andover and then suddenly realize I'm in Boxford on the way home. Boxford, for those not familiar with its unique charms, is the home of Benson's Ice Cream. As luck would have it, due to the holiday and the extreme heat, they were open! I had a nice view of the shadows changing on the barn while I ate my ginger ice cream.

Barn at Benson's in Boxford

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