Sunday, April 10, 2011

What Happened to Spring?

Saturday, April 9. I was down at the coast and walked six and two-thirds miles in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It was a raw and gray day, and as you will see from my photos, the colors of spring were not to be found, especially when contrasted with my walk to Hollywood Cemetery just a few days ago. This by far the longest distance I have walked since foot surgery with hiking boots, and my second longest distance over all next to the 10K race day just over a week ago. I didn't see anything spectacular, but I did see a fair amount of wildlife: ducks, coots, lots of egrets, and a big hawk in a forested area. I walked through several different biomes, and enjoyed walking along the dike trails again, which opened April 2.

Here are some photos:

An American coot warily looks me over:

While this handsome drake mallard provided color other than gray, brown, and black:

View of the marsh out towards Back Bay:

I can never get close to egrets. This one was at least 100 meters away when I immortalized him or her:

As I walked along, I came to a wood duck nest box. It reminded me of a "prior life" where every now and then, I got to spend the day with a wildlife technician and we spent the entire day in a canoe checking wood duck boxes. We would head out about 5AM and work until maybe 2 or 3. I saw so much wildlife on those Maine marshes on those few days, not just ducks but kestrels and tree swallows nesting in the boxes. And once, we came on a broken tree in the marsh with a great horned owl nest with a large and scared owlet. We got within feet of him, and it was so cool.

This maple provided about the only vegetative color I saw during my hike:

For a half mile or so, the path went through woodlands. Just a few feet of elevation can make a huge difference:

The start of False Cape State Park was my turn-around park. I think this is the only state park I have ever been to where you cannot drive to it. You can hike or bike in, or perhaps go by canoe. In the winter - from November 1 to March 31 - most of the refuge trails are closed and you can only get there with a long hike down the beach. It is beautiful down there, and someday I want to camp. Camping in bug season would be tortuous, though. The deer flies down there have won awards, I am pretty sure:

View of the marsh at FCSP:


  1. Enjoyed looking at the pictures.
    I think I've seen an American coot on my lake but didn't know what is was.

  2. Glad you liked the pictures. It is a great walk, and it is so nice to be able to go deep into the refuge once again.