Sunday, September 13, 2009

In flux.

Took a wander out to Great Meadows today. Decided to leave the camera home for a change so as to really get a good look at things. Noted that the swamps had been drained and some of the greenery had been cleared away. In others areas, it was left to grow beyond what I'd ever seen before.

As always, the area was teeming with birds and other animals. This time around, though, their activity seem almost frenzied. Noted more snowy egrets than we'd ever seen there in all our visits. Saw and heard at least two blue herons. Ducks and geese could be seen in the reeds, nurturing what seemed the last broods before migration. In the newly-drained areas, we could see (and hear) what looked like common snipe chicks and possibly some yellow-legs. Also heard marsh wrens and (I'm pretty sure) the cries of fish hawks, both young and mature.

The main causeway was nearly covered with at least three different types of frogs. Caught one slow one and gave it to Pavel to hold for a while. Marveled at sunfish leaping out of the water to catch gnats.

Oh, and the plant life: tasted some wild grapes. Wished I could get close enough to sample a lotus pod. Were amazed to find what looked like a couple different types of dogwood (?). Decided that maybe, just maybe, a bouquet of loose strife (bad, bad loose strife) and goldenrod might not be such a bad thing. Over all, the setting sun was gradually changing the variegated sky from different shades of gunmetal to golds, purples and pinks, all while drenching the rest of the landscape with gold.

Chatted for a bit with one man on his evening constitutional. He'd noted the draining of the swamps and the decision to cut some areas while leaving others overgrown; was perplexed a bit by this. I mentioned that, though there was always a lot of bird activity, this seemed like the richest I'd ever seen things. Pondered on the politics of managing the wetlands area.

At that point, the sun's rays shifted, both changing the colors of the cloud kaleidoscope above and highlighting a (until that point unnoticed) band of early-changing sugar maples.

"We're in flux," he said. "The seasons are changing and this is a wild time for everyone. It's all happening so fast."


Unknown said...

I think the draining and cutting you found at Great Meadows is an attempt to eradicate the invasive carp. They do it every year... Probably some plant life as well like the aforementioned loosestrife... There's something else in there but I don't remember.
I love Great Meadows - Siobhan and I are overdue for a walk there! Did you see any muskrat?

Be said...

Wasn't sure - this is also done at at Plum Island. The reason they gave up there for that was that the newly-drained areas provide more ground for waterfowl to raise their young.

Saw the same lodge that's been there all Spring/Summer, but no one appeared to be home. (Love the muskrats).