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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

June 26 2010 11:30-2pm Humid and Sunny 75' October Mountain, Washington, MA

Though we had a small list of birds, all fairly common, the days walk was as spectacular for landscapes as it was for birds (which, as my grandfather would say, is a hell of a complement!).

The walk was started by us running into a man who said that he was patiently waiting for his son who had gone camping and somebody had stolen his shoes as he slept. As we pulled into the parking lot we scared off a family of strutting Wild Turkey from the grass. A Common Yellowthroat flitted through a tree and the songs of countless birds which were mostly Black-Throated Green Warblers I think - a common and beautiful tourist of the backwoods of Massachusetts.

The first part of the trek was through a conifer forest where birds were cheerfully singing their cares away. We then walked through an amazing fresh water marsh filled with wonders of nature. On one side of the boardwalk there were many young trees who were quickly taking over the marsh and on the other side there was a scrubby meadow (of sorts) and directly to either side of us there were tons of little Sundews eagerly waiting for there next buzzing meal to come to dinner.

We then entered a very healthy forest bustling (as much as plants and fungi can bustle) with life. Though we couldn't see any birds we could hear them lively singing their rich and melodious songs.

Next we came upon a flooded meadow which was now basically a marsh because the beavers had dammed a river which created a flood and then eventually a large pond and a marsh. This was probably the biggest beaver dam that I have ever seen and definitely the closest, it was only about three feet from he boardwalk! Here we stopped for our picnic lunch. The quick and agile form of a Garter Snake darted across the path. We discovered some graceful Eastern Red Spotted Newts which is the adult stage of the Red Eft. The two notable changes from the immature to adult were:

1. it had lost its red body which was now a vivid light green but it kept its namesake red spots and

2. it had decided that it was actually a species of fish and that fish really belong in the water (I believe that the reason that they think that is because a Moose stepped on them and thus caused them instant insanity or maybe it's that some old folks are just wacky).

Some Mallards floated in the pond jealously listening to the Wood Warblers singing in the trees on every side. Then we entered a forest primarily ruled by Aspens and ferns. Here we discovered a Palm and a Yellow Warbler. My brother saw a Chestnut-Sided Warbler but sadly I did not see it. There were some Moose tracks with many other tracks as well but the Moose were the only exciting ones. Our walk came to sudden stop thanks to the Beavers who had gone too far: they had flooded away the boardwalk-there was no other option we had to turn back and that was the end of our beautiful walk!

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