It’s been a busy month and I am starting to feel like that song, “I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere…” as I have travelled up and down and all around the east coast visiting family, and friends, as well as bird watching. It all started with us driving to Maine to get our grandkids on April 16th. They were on spring break and I got to have them for 5 days. It was none stop action with a 4 hour drive back from Maine to Massachusetts. Then I spent the next few days just trying to keep them occupied! Yes, it wore me out but it was worth it! After spending Sunday at home with grandpa I took the kids and drove to Connecticut to see family and visit some of my favorite sights! I want to make memories with my grandkids instead of buying them “stuff.”
We tried to take them across the Connecticut River on the Chester Ferry but the Ferry was closed due to flooding. So, we drove back across the river on the swing bridge and up to Gillette’s Castle State Park. Unfortunately the Castle was closed but we could walk around the grounds and the kids just loved it! Of course, I was counting birds all the time!
Since Devil’s Hopyard was on the way back from the Castle we stopped there to see the falls which were simply roaring with spring run-off!
After spending the night at Gramma’s House we got up the next morning and headed for Rocky Hill, CT and Dinosaur State Park. This is a place my mother used to take us when we were kids and I wanted to show it to my grandkids. They had never seen real dinosaur footprints or dinosaur bones before. As you can see from the picture, they had a great time. Then, we drove 2 hours back to Massachusetts, had dinner, and then it was bedtime.
It was hard to let them all go the next morning but I did. I hugged and kissed them all good-bye as they left with their Mom who came to pick them up so I did not have to drive another 4 hours up and 4 hours back! Whew! But, I was not done travelling!
On Easter Gus and I decided to drive over to the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. While Gus was busy photographing the scenery, I was busy looking for birds. However, I did snap this photo of Ralph Waldo Emerson's House before striking out in search of birds. If I turned 90 degrees from where I was standing when I took this photo you could see the Old North Bridge and the site of the start of the Revolutionary war. It is an amazing place!
Here are some photos of some of the things I saw:
All that bird watching and hiking around made us hungry so we drove over to Kimball Dairy Farm for some homemade ice cream. Dawn Fine showed me this place last fall. Thanks Dawn!
We stopped at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge on our way home but did not stay long. It was getting late and starting to rain, so we simply climbed the viewing tower and I did a quick bird count. It only whet my appetite to come back for more!
I’ve been busy counting birds in my yard, my neighborhood and at the swamp as well. I love seeing all these flowers blooming!
Though the birds are starting to return to the swamp and some ducks and geese have started nesting the greenery has yet to return to the plants. I am waiting to see it spring to life. However, I have seen 11 new species at the swamp: Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Kingbirds, Cedar Waxwings, Baltimore Orioles, a Gray Catbird, Tree Swallows, Chimney Swifts, a Blue Heron, and a Green Heron all since the beginning of April for a total of 52 species since I first started counting here last September!
I walked through the Stirling Neighborhood to get to Den Rock Park. Now that the snow has melted I can go more often, if I have time! I need to stay home more. I went exploring here one other day and still have not had the chance to write about that!
On the 29th Gus and I decided to take a drive to Maine to see his parents again. We are trying to visit them at least once a month while we can. We have 6 years of being out west to make up for! However, on this day we got up early and decided to drive up through Livermore Falls and Jay, which is where we lived for 18 months back in the early 2000s.
This is a very under birded area, so I counted birds everywhere we went.
We stopped in Wilton, ME to see Wilson Lake and the old mill which used to be one of our favorite restaurants but has now gone out of business. In the opposite direction is the lake and above on the wire is a tiny gray speck that is actually the phoebe which I photographed and used in my SWF post last week! But I was not done driving yet! The next day Gus stayed home while I drove down to Connecticut to go to the Ladies Spring Banquet at my mother's church. This is really the Mother-Daughter Banquet and it has been a very long time since I have been able to attend with my mother and sister. So, off I went!
My Mom is the kindest person and the adopted Mom to many other kids! Here she is with my sister and two of her adopted daughters.
The next morning I was up and ready to drive back to Massachusetts, but not before enjoying the flowers and the birds in Mom’s yard! I saw my first hummingbird of the year buzzing around this bush in her backyard!
I counted my first catbird of the year out behind my Mom’s church. I saw one last night but was not ready with my camera, so this morning I stopped by again and was able to get this picture before I left!
Once I arrived home Gus sand I took the dog down to Sacred Heart Park in Andover for a walk. Of course I had my bins and good thing I did!
I saw my first warblers of the year down by the river! I found 3 yellow-rumped warblers flitting about in the trees. I was so excited but I have not seen any other warblers yet! None have come to my yard, nor have I seen any at the swamp.
I had three days to rest and get caught up on all my work before my mom came to visit me at my apartment in Andover. She had never been here yet so this was exciting to have her come. Her first day here we went shopping for a futon for her to sleep on. It took Gus and I two to three hours to put it together that night! The next morning we drove to Harrisville, NH so she could visit a friend she met on the train and had not seen in 6 years! Of course, while they visited, I counted birds! Mom left on Saturday and Gus and I drove out to Cap Cod on Sunday for Mother’s day. It was foggy, gray, cold and very windy! Gus had never been there before and he wasn’t too impressed. I have only been here once before back in 2003. We drove all the way to the tip of the cape and back again. It was a long drive and a long day with yet another story for me to tell another time. And that’s…
(Whew! I am exhausted!)
Oh, by the way, during this time I had the honor of being the Featured Bird Blogger of the Month on Birding Blogs.com. Dawn Fine wrote the article and it is here if you want to see it: Featured Poet~Bird~Blogger of the Month