Tuesday, March 29, 2011
March 29, 2011 10-11:30am Sunny 50` Boyden Preserve and the East Bay Bike Path, East Providence RI
We went for a walk at the Boyden Preserve (which connects to the East Bay Bike Path which we also visited on our walk) today in search of a Eurasian Wigeon and a Tufted Duck both of which had been reported in the area on the 27th. In the woods we had found the regular species such as the chickadee and titmouse - we also come upon a Robin, 3 Mourning Doves, four Mallards, a Northern Cardinal, a Song Sparrow, 2 (sparring?) Northern Mockingbirds and a Downy Woodpecker. On the brackish ponds and the bay we had American Wigeons, American Black Ducks, a questionable Mallard/Black Duck hybrid, Red-breasted Mergansers, a Gadwall or two, and extra large flock of Greater Scaup (and possibly Lesser), a Mute Swan, Brant, Canada Geese, Ring-billed and Herring Gulls; all birds to be expected.
The bird that we hadn't surmised seeing was what appeared to be a handsome Ring-necked Duck, a bird more commonly found on fresh water lakes - but a bird at least I (as far as I can recall) is not generally seen on salt water. Another possibility was that this was the Tufted Duck we had come looking for but the nob of feathers on the back of the crown was not long enough to be a Tufted (in my opinion). A third possibility was that this was a weird Lesser Scaup with an unusual shape to the head - this I doubt because of the back coloring which was far too dark for an ordinary scaup. No, this was not an ordinary scaup this was a Super Scaup! Nah just kidding I am pretty certain that the duck was not a "Super Scaup" but most likely a Ring-necked Duck.
On our walk back we came upon a gathering of four Garter Snakes just out of hibernation. I caught one (they were cold so they moved slowly) and my brother and I photographed it before leaving it to recover from its terrifying ordeal with the hand of man and two cameras.
Near the parking lot there is a small brook which runs into a phragmites infested swamp and then turns back into a slightly larger creek which runs down to one of the brackish ponds (we saw the snakes next to the creek). As we were making our way back to the car we came across the body of a small Box Turtle floating were the stream connects to the swamp. Presumably some one had found him wondering around near the stream and mistaken him for a aquatic turtle and placed the poor creature in the water where (its habit of living on land and not being able to swim, working against it) it had subsequently drowned.
Our walk finished we drove to the Barrington Public Library-on the way passing an Osprey (an RI year bird) and some Bufflehead. The biggest surprise came when we were leaving the car and I noticed an unusual object on the ground believing it to be a black rubber toy turtle I picked it up. I instantly realized it wasn't rubber, it wasn't even a toy at all but the remains of a baby Snapping Turtle which had probably been picked by our puppy. He is quite the dog, on our walk today he found us a dead mouse and now presumably a dead turtle.