Archivos de diario de marzo 2016

23 de marzo de 2016

March 6, 2016

It was 60 degrees on the first Sunday of my spring break in Stow, MA. Accordingly, I threw my canoe on top of my car, grabbed a fly fishing rod and my binoculars, and drove to the Rt. 62 bridge to launch. Upriver by the bridge, the Assabet River is surrounded by thick woods. These woods contain sugar maples, red maples, red oak, swamp oak, scarlett oak, shagbark hickory, white willow, ash, white pine, and eastern hemlock. The swamp oaks have been in decline, likely due to pollution upriver. However, the giant, dead white oaks provide perfect habitat for grubs and wood boring beetles to make home. On this excursion, I sighted hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches, and red-bellied woodpeckers all feeding among the dead whites. The next section of river is surrounded mainly by white pine and hemlock. In these trees, i observed juncos, chickadees, and a chipping sparrow foraging in the undergrowth. Finally, the river snakes through the woods and opens to the Assabet River marsh. At the edge of this marsh is a line of red oaks which separate the marsh from the pine/hemlock forest. In this tree line, I observed a pair of red-tailed hawks. The male was offering the female a vole or field mouse, and she readily accepted. In adjacent trees, I spotted Northern cardinals and several tufted titmice. They were all voicing alarm calls as the red-tailed pair were pretty close, but the red-tails didnt seen to mind. At this point, the marsh begins, and cattails surround the river on either side. On the cattails, i saw three main species: eastern bluebird, carolina wren, and of course, red-winged blackbirds. The wrens were picking at the cattail stalks, likely looking for insects within. The bluebirds and blackbirds seemed to be more interested in the tufts of the cattails. Perhaps there are seeds inside them. While watching a particularly magnificent male eastern bluebird forage, i caught a glimpse of a large raptor in the distance, which looked like an osprey (a pair nest a half mile down river every summer). I paddled quickly to the edge of the marsh where i saw it disappear and was surprised to observe a juvenile bald eagle swoop down from a white pine and narrowly miss a fish in the river. He/she then flew across the marsh, scaring up flocks of mallards and both hooded and common mergansers on the way. It was the first time i have seen a bald eagle in the marsh, and i do hope he/she sticks around for the summer. Finally, i visited the resident pair of mute swans in their home, the largest marsh basin. They had five chicks last spring, two of which I witnessed taken by the giant snapping turtle that is also resident of this basin. He is easily identifiable by the deep scar on his nearly 7-inch-wide head. The other three chicks survived the summer, however, I only saw the swan pair on this excursion. Thus, it is likely the other three perished this winter. Hopefully the young swan pair will have better luck this year.

Publicado el marzo 23, 2016 05:54 TARDE por ntepper ntepper | 18 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario