Thursday, June 30, 2005

Blue Hills

Received the following email from Jake yesterday:

Drove myself down to the Blue Hills this morning for a quick recon and hi-speed birding assault on one of the eponymous hills. Left the house at 5:30. Birded for about an hour, saw/heard lots of species that I can't find in JP now, post migration. (Prairie Warbler, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Red-eyed Vireo, Hermit Thrush, Eastern Towhee were the highlights.)

I think I will try this again, possibly tomorrow, and certainly at least a few more times in July. Would love to have some company if you are up for it. A truly wonderful experience: nobody around, can't hear cars, all you can see is trees and the rising sun thru the haze. Lichen and moss covered rocks (including some really cool, weird shaped lichens), blueberries ripening, all about four miles from Mattapan. It was hard to find the birds I was hearing, but I didn't care.

Was just cool to walk on the rocks and on the trails and feel like I was in the woods. Besides the hills there are also trails around ponds and freshwater marshes, and a source tells me there's Pileated Woodpecker (which sounds a lot like WoodyWoodpecker) and Barred Owl (which make the famous and extremely spooky "who cooks for you all" call) in there.

Excellent. I'm there. Jake picked me up at 5:30 in the a.m. and we drove the few miles to the Blue Hills Reservation south of Boston. It was as he described, a beautiful spot. Gray skies, the eastern horizon over Massachusetts Bay was orange. The top of the hill we were on must be pretty darn windy, as the vegetation is sparse and scrubby. But that means lots of grasses and tough little herbs.

Once again, while Jake went after birds I found myself scanning the northeast horizon for aircraft arriving into or departing from Logan. Saw a couple of jets land on runway 27 over Winthrop but couldn't figure out which runway they were using to take off.

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