Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3, 2009 - Jacobs Pond, Norwell, Massachusetts

As a day for straight out walking on a trail, it was just okay. But it was an excellent day for tracking.

Just across the street from the South Shore Natural Science Center in Norwell is the Jacobs Pond conservation area, with trails that wrap around approximately two-thirds of the pond. My walk today takes me up the east side and back, a nice loop through the woods.

The woods here never get very deep, and a such, there was little wildlife to see on this day That didn't stop the locals from enjoying them. In fact, winter activities are on show here. Snowshoers have visited recently, and in fact I bumped into a few on the trail. They're easy to track. If you can't find the snowshoe print on the trail, look for the ski pole poke just off it. The snowshoers no doubt saw the ice skaters on the pond, hockey sticks, a puck and dreams of Bobby Orr. That was my youth, too.

Coyotes have been here. Although dog walkers use the trail, and dog prints meander this way and that, off trail there are some coyote prints. I found them when I took a turn onto a trail that had not yet been walked in 2009. The snow was much softer underfoot, sinking me up to just above the ankles. And there were turkeys here as well, at least a half a dozen.

The only wildlife that joined me today was a pair of American tree sparrows that are feeding near the water's edge. I figure they didn't see the miniature snowman somebody built in the center of the trail, or if they did, they had no real opinion on it. A golden-crowned kinglet tseet-tseet-tseeted in the woods, and a black-capped chickadee called out its own name.

Nineteen minutes into the woods, a wild rush of wind pulsed through the trees, oddly coinciding with the scream of fire truck sirens on Route 53. As they sound off, I'm stopped by the carving of a few words on a big, beautiful beech tree. It's not unusual. Beeches are smooth-barked, and unwittingly offer a tabula rasa for the first person inclined to so disturb the beauity of nature. I just hope that now, fifteen years later, "Cheryl & Paul '94" are still together, lest their assault on this ancient warrior of the forest be for naught.

Just before I stepped back into the parking lot, I found a robin's nest half buried in the snow. There it was, the cyclical nature of the seasons in one image. Our robins have gone south, and the northern robins are now here, but our breeders will be back soon, in just a few months. They'll industriously build nests this spring, and next winter, we'll find them in the woods, partially covered in the snow. It will happen the next year, and hopefully for centuries into the future.

Time: 34 minutes
Other stuff that got done: Took down the tree, dinner with mom and sister
New Critters for 2009: Golden-crowned kinglet.

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