Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 12, 2009 - Duxbury Bogs Conservation Area, Duxbury, Massachusetts

Say hello to my little friend.

With all the things that went on today, on one of the busiest days in recent memory, the moment that brought the biggest smile to my face was the sighting of the first two painted turtles of the season, sunning themselves on logs. It's another piece of the puzzle, another link in the chain. Spring!

But onto the story of my walk. You know how you're blasting down Route 3 South, heading for Plymouth or Cape Cod, and you get to that stretch between between exits twelve and eleven and you look to the right and you see a big, wide open body of fresh water, usually with a few swans floating along on it? No? You're not from around here? Well, trust me, it's a beautiful sight.

Anyway, that body of water, Golden Reservoir, is part of the Duxbury Bogs Conservation Area. The main trail there runs through a series of active cranberry bogs, along the reservoir and into the woods. It's a place of multiple habitats, with chances for a great diversity of wildlife. At the far end of the reserve there's a pumphouse fed by a man-dug canal. The water there was so still today that the early morning reflection of the trees lining its far bank were picture perfect, an undisturbed mirror. Even the virtual chickadees looked like their real counterparts on the branches above.

The oddest sight today was a young white pine that had one of the best years ever recorded for white pines in the history of the world. Or something hyperbolic like that. White pines reveal their year-to-year history in their limb whorls. If you look at a young white pine closely, you'll see that the limbs form on an even plane around the tree - that's a year's contriubtion. The difference between one year and the next can be seen in the distance between the whorls; a short distance means it was a tough year, perhaps a drought, while a long distance means that the tree had no problem getting water. This baby had a year like I've never seen before. But it made no sense. It's on a sandy slope. How did it get so much water? Runoff? And why weren't the first years of its life as good? Guess I'll have to come back next year and see how it does. I wished it well and moved on.

Time: 40 minutes.

New species: Reptiles: painted turtle (1).

Stranger hellos: 1 (140).

The rest of my day: led a training session for our waterfowl survey at North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Duxbury, and recorded the year's first data; gave a lecture on Irish mossing at the Duxbury Senior Center; led a walk at the North River WIldlife Sanctuary in Marshfield; led a walk at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield; read Monkeys are Made of Chocolate by Jack Ewing; led my book club discussion on the same book.

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