Monday, August 10, 2009

Birds of a Feather

Friday, July 17, 2009
Arriving at Moreau, I find out that only one other person signed up for the Birding Hike this morning. It was birding buddy Lindsey! The hike leader is Dave, the Environmental Educator at Moreau Lake State Park. He intends to take us up the Blue Trail toward the Moreau Overlook. (yikes, I was thinking we'd be strolling around the flat Back Bay trail or something.) But I'd follow him anywhere, despite being considerably older than my 20-something companions, so off we go. Hope I can keep up.

We haven’t gone 500 feet upward along the trail - when we hear the loon calling!
Every summer, Moreau Lake seems to get a bachelor loon visiting. He comes and goes. He'd been hanging out by the beach lately, but today is the first time any of us have heard him.
Ah -ooooh -ah.

It is odd to hear it on a sunny morning. The call has that moonlight flavor. But it's a thrill nonetheless.

Lindsey is busy scribbling – she puts him in her book!
She already has quite a list going for today, of birds she has already seen while waiting for us in the parking lot.
I’m no good at field notes. Lindsey and plant-pal Jackie are both diligently keeping lists, of birds and plants. My ever-growing library of photos will have to serve as my list. Un-scientifically, many are listed under “unknown yellow flower” or “wierd bug.” (Or the ever-popular birding term “L.G. B.”)

It has been raining a lot lately. The Indian pipes are rising up out of the ground everywhere, in big clusters. If you look closely, you can see a wood frog along the brook

a tiny toad who would fit on your thumbnail

or the equally tiny, heard-but-not-seen spring peeper, with the distinctive X on his back.

And the fungi are in their musty lusty glory.

As a result, this hike quickly mutates into a mushroom hike, with Dave identifying what we see along the trail - noting (with thinly-disguised gusto) the edible ones. (I'm happy just to LOOK at mushrooms.)

Up, up, past the Groaning Rocks, up to where a small steep brook crosses the trail.
Past shady green dells - where in winter, the light streams down freely.

We walk around wind-felled trees,

whose roots provide new shelter for all sorts of wildlife.

Now we a shuffling off on an abandoned trail to an old overlook – and getting slightly lost.

We take a seat on the ample trunk of a old downed tree, and gaze into a dark un-named hollow. The song of the winter wren trickles down between hemlock branches, somewhere on the next ridge.

Sitting for a moment, with these friends, in this place, is a moment of perfect peace.


  1. We just love to read about your adventures! What a wonderful Amanita mushroom (if we're identifying it correctly from the photo), and roots large enough to stand under, and those incredible frogs . . .

  2. thanks for coming along on the walk! I'm having some trouble commenting and replying to comments, so if there is ever a delay in responding to you, that is why.
    Knowing your fondness for snakes, I have been checking weekly for that hognose snake, but he is not showing himself these days...that doesn't mean he isn't THERE, though...

  3. It's-a me!!

    Now I wish I could hold the spring peeper in my hands (or one since they are so tiny).

    Standing under all those roots was so cool. Oh and don't forget, this is the day you heard and identified the winter wren before I even noticed it!

  4. What a great hike! Wish I'd been along. LOONs on Moreau Lake?! Who would have guessed? Your photos for this post and last are wonderful. Thanks.