Monday, May 25, 2009

The (Un)Observant Hiker

So I am at the beach for the weekend, and went out about 7AM Saturday to hike in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It was a nice start to a beautiful day. Unlike the last time I was here, there were no tundra swans - they have flown north to the arctic for nesting. But I did see some wildlife during the hike, including decent numbers of mosquitos and deer flies. The latter sound like some type of deranged light saber from Star Wars as they buzz around looking for a spot to punch a hole in your skin. My trusty Tilly Hat was good protection for my head, but the flies found other opportunities to attempt to dine. A few of them paid for this privilege with their lives.

I knew that I didn't want to hike all the way to False Cape, but planned to hiking a few miles down the dike trail to an impoundment where I often see wildlife. The dike trails had been closed from November through March, so this was my first opportunity to hike on them since the fall. I barely noticed an official car heading down a dike trail that is always closed, figuring that they were on official business and could go anywhere they want to. I passed nice views of the marsh where they had burned back invasive vegetation:When I reached the start of the east dike trail, it was closed! Why have they closed the trails this time of year?
I watched a great blue heron in the distance for a while, and looked at the noses of turtles sticking out of the impoundment like periscopes. Then I hiked back towards the visitor center, noticing several rabbits and a deer.I walked along the short trail through the marsh to an overlook of Back Bay, watching for wildlife along the way. A pretty spider web on the Hodge Memorial was back-lit by the sun:On the hike back to the parking lot, I happened upon this little fellow and right after seeing the toad, spied a pretty morning glory:

As I left the refuge, I asked the ranger why the dike trail was closed. He said "The west dike trail is open right now. The east dike trail is closed until June." I had noticed the car driving down the west dike trail, but had never even noted that there was a sign saying it was open. I had noticed all kinds of wildlife but not this single human sign telling me that I could have gone that way! How observant! I resolved to come back tomorrow and hike the west dike trail, having never been on it before. In all my times hiking in Back Bay, this was the first time that this trail was open.

On the drive out, I came upon this very old and battered box turtle, and moved her off the road. I have never seen a box turtle in BBNWR before.

1 comment:

  1. I have noticed a LOT more rabbits this year than I have ever seen before.
    I lose count of the ones I see around the lake where I walk!!