Monday, May 18, 2009

May 18, 2009 - Picture Pond, Wompatuck State Park, Scituate, Massachusetts

I keep all kinds of crap in my car, just in case I need it. Flashlights, a walking stick, raincoats, it's all in there somewhere. I learned a long time ago that I have to be ready to stop at any time in any weather and get out and walk. It's days like today that I'm glad I had the foresight to think ahead, and then forget that I had. When the rain started, I was certainly glad to have my stash.

My plans brought me down through Hingham today, near the Scituate border. That's where my barber is, the same one I've been going to for ten years, the same one that my grandfather visited just after World War II. And the same barber, Pete, is still there.

It wasn't a heavy rain, but it was enough to make me wear a hat. That's a dangerous thing this time of year when walking in the Wompatuck woods. It makes it harder to see the caterpillars dangling from invisible threads along the trails. If you're not careful, you end up wearing them, or worse, swallowing them. Sometimes, the threads snag on the bills of baseball caps, leaving the caterpillars swinging in your face. The really odd thing is when the caterpillars drop away but bits of leaves drop from the trees and catch on the threads, they then hang in place like they're defying gravity.

I thought I had twelve stranger hellos ahead of me on the trail, but it turned out to only be nine. I found a co-worker leading a birding trip, and that one of the attendees had taken a trip to Maine with me in the past. Then, a third man introduced himself, saying he knew me from the Mass Audubon world. Damn! A dozen new faces would have been sweeeeet. But I'll take 9 in the rain any day.

Time: 58 minutes.

New species: (Birds) winter wren, acadian flycatcher (231); (Wildflowers in Bloom) lily of the valley (32).

Stranger hellos: 9 (308).

What else is going on: Came close to finishing my Captains Guide work for the year; haircut, bank, post office, etc.; finished two nonprofit projects for the year; received my copy of Ships Monthly, with my article on the Star of India.

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