Wednesday, September 19, 2012

best ever year for number of PIPL pairs

This calls for a celebration:
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge had a record year for number of nesting piping plovers in 2012. 

27 pairs fledged 39 chicks. Not only is that excellent "productivity", but that's also a record number of nesting pairs. The previous high for nesting pairs was 21 in 1995 according to biological staff.  I remember when I thought 19 nesting pairs was awesome. 

This is all the more amazing given the June 3 storm with the enormous high tide that wiped out nests and killed some chicks. 

Another amazing thing is that those extremely late chicks I was worrying about at the north end of the beach actually fledged.

This news definitely calls for a celebratory coffee at PICR.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

rough meadows revisited

Professor Chandler's Long Walk Trail
After my first visit, I couldn't wait to explore more of the trails at Rough Meadows and I couldn't wait to take Nancy there.  So we took a long walk on Professor Chandler's Long Walk a few days later.  When I said the trail was named after Alfred D. Chandler who had bequeathed the land, Nancy immediately said Strategy and Structure. Now there's an AmCiv reference if ever there were one! I checked and confirmed to Nancy that it was indeed the Strategy and Structure Chandler.

Yellow and Pink

The meadows and the marsh were looking even more spectacular than on my first visit.  The glory that is autumn in the Great Marsh was making itself visible all over the place.

The Great Marsh
It's amazing how many colors there are in the meadows. It's not just the flowers. The grasses, glasswort, everything changes color.

Shades of Pink
Shades of Gold and Red Among the Green
More Golds and Reds with Some Pink
It was just a totally stunning day, the kind of day people move here for (thinking that these gorgeous late summer days are more frequent than they really are).

Glasswort Turning Red for Autumn

sometimes Google just cracks me up

Saturday, September 8, 2012

rough meadows

Last Friday's search for shorebirds yielded lots and lots of least sandpipers. It also marked my first visit to the newly opened Mass Audubon Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Trail to Nelson Island Was Mobbed with Least Sandpipers
Coffee of the Day: Tanzania Peaberry
Bird of the Day: Least Sandpiper
Invisi-bird status: Final count on the refuge: 27 pairs, 39 chicks fledged. Number actually seen by me: 2.
Weird wrack item of the week: a Hooksett disc on Patmos Road. It's not weird to find Hooksett discs anymore, but the location so deep into the Great Marsh is weird.

Cabbage White
After checking out the least sandpipers at Nelson Island, I headed over to Rough Meadows and Sawyer's Island. The grasses and autumn wildflowers were waving in a steady breeze. Butterflies were having a hard time hanging onto the flowers. I saw monarchs, cabbage whites, and a mustard yellow within seconds of getting out of the car at the Rough Meadows parking area.

Besides walking along Patmos Road to admire the great egrets in the marsh, I did the Kestrel Trail -- a short loop through meadow and woodlands. Acorns were everywhere.

Great Egret in the Great Marsh
Essex County Greenbelt's Sawyer's Island property preserves yet more of the Great Marsh in the same area of Rowley. Walking the trails there, I came across lots and lots of shed horseshoe crab shells of all sizes, saw many more great egrets, and savored beautiful marsh views.
One of Many Horseshoe Crab Shells at Sawyer's Island

In search of more shorebirds, in case the tons of least sandpipers who surrounded me at Nelson Island weren't enough, I finally headed to the refuge beach. Lots of both greater and lesser yellow-legs were hanging out at the North Pool overlook along with mallards, Canada geese, and blue winged teal.  I found a parking spot at Lot 6  and walked the beach. Immediately, 2 piping plovers landed nearby. They don't seem nearly as invisible on wet sand as they do on dry sand.
Piping Plovers

my review of My Green Manifesto on Goodreads

My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New EnvironmentalismMy Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism by David Gessner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The canoe trip down the Charles River from Hopkinton to Cambridge is basically the backdrop and metaphor for an extended argument with Nordhaus and Shellenberger about the future of environmentalism. Gessner's ideas are inspiring and he does get you to think about our place in nature, what "the wild" means, and what environmentalism means.

Having enjoyed Gessner's previous books, I'd hoped for more description of life in and along the Charles. Also, having grown up along the Charles, I was amazed to find no mention whatsoever of Rita Barron and her lifelong work to clean up the Charles.

View all my reviews