Monday, March 31, 2008

Long Hill Reservation

Long Hill Reservation, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

Took a rainy afternoon stroll through the grounds of Long Hill Reservation in Beverly. The gardens were delightful even in their early spring state (a blooming forsythia here, a patch of snowdrops there). I walked through the woodland trail (not consistently marked, so a bit of an act of faith that the trail would actually lead somewhere!). The woods have a distinctively light feel due to a large number of small beech trees that haven't dropped their leaves. Spotted what I could have sworn was the Mullen Communications mansion during my walk (since confirmed). The white throated sparrows were out and singing. Here's a taste.

Boulder Brook Reservation (Rocky Ledges)

I had to kill some time on this sunny Sunday afternoon between drop-off and pick-up at Rivers Music School, so I decided to visit nearby Boulder Brook Reservation in Wellesley. A delightful walk through fields and wooded paths. What I didn't expect was the steep "rocky ledges" that line the border between Wellesley and Weston. The view from the top was quite impressive. [Spotted an Eastern Phoebe in the Kelly Memorial Park lot]

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hemlock Gorge

Hemlock Gorge, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

Lily and I took a stroll to Hemlock Gorge in Needham. She'd never done Echo Bridge or "Devil's Den" (AKA "the caves") before. A good sport, she only requested a shoulder ride on the way out. The Charles River doesn't look so well from the bridge--the mill falls stirs up all the detergent etc usually hidden in the water. Lily thought it was pretty--all the "sparkles."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Moose Hill Wildlife Refuge (Vernal Pool Trail)

I took an excursion to the Audubon wildlife refuge at Moose Hill in Sharon. Decided to follow the Vernal Pool trail in search of signs of spring.The vernal pools were full of frogs croaking away (here's a recording) and I startled a raccoon who was bumbling through the forest (in search of frogs?). I'm struck by how suddenly spring has happened.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cutler Park

Cutler Park, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

A beautiful afternoon for a walk around Kendrick Pond (AKA Cutler Lake) in Needham. This swan keeps the pond clear of Canada geese and loves to pose for the camera. (I suspect it gets fed quite a lot). Ice in some spots; skunk cabbage poking out in other spots. I've embedded a video of the swan below.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

East Bay Bike Path

East Bay Bike Path, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

My folks live close to the East Bay Bike Path in Barrington, RI. After Easter dinner we took a walk towards Riverside Square. I lagged behind to get a good look at the waterfowl in the cove near Crescent View Ave. Spotted a kingfisher, a group of hooded mergansers as well as a carolina wren couple and flock of song sparrows. That part of the bike path is officially closed because of ongoing sewer work but was clear of construction vehicles on Easter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Elm Bank Reservation

Elm Bank Reservation, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

Four year-old Lily wanted to go on a nature walk so I bundled her up and loaded the jogging stroller into the minivan and we were off. Destination: Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley, where the trails are wide, flat, and mostly smooth. The trail along the Charles River is well traveled (we met many dogs and a few cross country teams) but the water view is terrific. Lots of ice still in the shadier areas. On the way out we spotted a flock of robins. It is spring. [We also spotted a flock of Hollywood production trailers; the stars were evidently sleeping in.]

Friday, March 21, 2008

Needham Town Forest on the first day of spring

Needham Town Forest, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

Needham's Town Forest is a bit scrubby and its trails a bit doggy but it has its charms particularly if you explore its side paths. Today I stumbled across the famous Martini Junction miniature railroad installation. A sunny but blustery day. Is it really spring?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Guernsey Sanctuary

Guernsey Sanctuary, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

I took a short walk through the Guernsey Sanctuary in Wellesley this afternoon. It was raining so I didn't stop to soak up the scene. It is a cute little trail with a few interesting trailside details (vernal pool, briar patch, Sabrina Lake). Overall it reminded me a lot of the scrubby winter scenes I used to view when I lived near a swamp as a child.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Great Meadows wash-out

Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

Finally up to the present. This afternoon on the way home from work I stopped at the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge. The trails were all flooded. (I should have known better. A marsh plus a thaw plus a week of rain equals what?) But I managed to make my way through much of the smaller trail on the Concord side (only one puddle was deep enough to require intermediate log balancing). Pleasant enough. And I hung out for a little bit with a non-House Sparrow (whether a Swamp, Tree, etc. I have no ID confidence).

Charles River Peninsula

Charles River Peninsula, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

A Sunday morning stroll through the soggy fields and trails of Charles River Peninsula. Loud bird choruses. The fields have been reconstructed to help the Bobolink population.

Noanet Woodlands

Noanet Woodlands, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

On this walk I decided to bypass the peak and walk the perimeter of Noanet Woodlands. The thaw was on and the trail was exceedingly muddy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A slippery hike up to Noanet Peak

Noanet Woods, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

Caryl Park in Dover is about a five minute drive away. Adjacent Noanet Woods is a great way to feel a bit of wilderness (while really still in the suburbs). The trails were very icy.

A February stroll up Wilson Mountain

Wilson Mountain, originally uploaded by oehlkers.

I've been taking some walks through local conservation lands recently, camera in hand. Lacking anything else to say here, I thought I might as well document them. Here are some photos from a walk up to the peak of Wilson Mountain in Dedham. ("Mountain" is a bit of an exaggeration). The trails were complete ice which inserted a bit of danger into what is otherwise a pretty mild hike.