Birding and Birthdays — Day 1

We loaded up the truck Saturday afternoon and headed to MA (sans Airstream since it was a quick trip) to celebrate two important birthdays:  daughter Jen’s 50th and grandson Mac’s 13th.  The dog and I grabbed some good walks and birding as part of the deal.

I love to bird Parker River NWR when I’m visiting but since they do not allow dogs, it was out this trip.  Sunday, Penny and I went over to check out a few favorite spots in West Newbury.  Cherry Hill Reservoir always seems to have interesting birds and as I drove up, I could see hundreds of Ruddy Ducks sleeping and occasionally diving to feed.  Here are a couple:

Ruddy Ducks dive to feed on aquatic invertebrates, especially midge larvae. They feed most actively at night, so you’ll often see Ruddy Ducks sleeping during the day, head tucked under a wing and tail cocked up.

Ruddy Ducks dive to feed on aquatic invertebrates, especially midge larvae. They feed most actively at night, so you’ll often see Ruddy Ducks sleeping during the day, head tucked under a wing and tail cocked up.

I was hoping to walk the dog along the eastern shore where there is a nice trail and lots of sparrows but a guy showed up with a dog just as I did, and I decided to move on.  So we drove a few miles over to Artichoke Reservoir where last year, I had seen some Greater White-fronted geese.

I had forgotten that last year, I got tangled up in a big road race that starts in Newburyport and weaves its way up along the reservoir.  I was literally right in the middle of the back of the pack with the big truck as joggers and walker, most with earphones, moved up the narrow winding road.  I finally got to an intersection where I could escape and I returned the following day for the geese.  So, when I saw a small “road race 11-2” sign I realized that it was going to happen again, if I stuck around.

I had recalled seeing a gated woods road back aways at the south end of the reservoir so returning there, Penny and I had a great outing.  There was no one around and she could run down the oak-lined farm road to her heart’s content.  As we approached the outlet to the reservoir, I heard the croak of a Great Blue Heron and up ahead in the marsh, I saw it.  I took a long distance shot before the dog scared it off.

"As my buddy Big Pappi says, 'This is my #$%@! marsh!"

“As my buddy Big Pappi says, ‘This is my #$%@! marsh!”

Further ahead, there was an overgrown trail that lead to the marshy shoreline.  I flushed about 25 Mallards but across the water, there were dozens of Canada Geese and an old farm.

Farm1W

We finished up our walk as Penny romped through the farm fields.  I got home in time to change, get to a birthday  lunch with Jennifer, Mary, Mac, and Ben, and return to the house for dessert.  Here’s the birthday girl and the killer cake that Ben ordered — it made me glad we’d done some much walking.  I knew that we had another cake for Mac on Monday.

Jen1W

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3 Responses to Birding and Birthdays — Day 1

  1. Mary Robb Mansfield says:

    Helped me relive a great weekend — and see some of the birds and seals you saw! Thank you!

  2. Claude Stone says:

    You had a great romp and celebration. Lets have coffee before you head SW.
    Claude

  3. Karen Pangallo says:

    Love keeping up with you-your travels and your appreciation of life.

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