Monday, June 19, 2006

Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge

Today's hike was out to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. Mostly it's known for being a prime viewing place for some unusual Winter birds, most notably Harlequin Ducks. But there's a lot more to the place than that. It's also a great place to see Brown-Headed Cowbirds and Yellow Warblers, a variety of hawks, Short-eared Owls, and in the Winter you can even find a Snowy Owl or two. And deer, rabbits, and all manner of small animals.

But for me the best feature of the Refuge is the meadows. Just look at that shot above left. Daisies, Black Mustard, Sheep Sorrel, various cereal grasses, and even some Broom up there at the back just to the right of the center. And that's just what's current for this time in the Summer. Not in this particular shot are other flowers like Daisy Fleabane, Yarrow, Multiflora Roses (and they have a rare pink variant of the Multiflora at the Refuge). Later there'll be Calico Asters, Tansy, Spotted Knapweed, Queen Anne's Lace... Yeah, I like to drag people out here!

I saw and heard plenty of Cowbirds and Yellow Warblers today but didn't get any decent shots of them. I did get a good one of a Catbird, which you can see on my WunderPhotos page (link to the right). But the Warblers were warbling to me from behind the banks of roses lining the trails, and the Cowbirds were moving too much - all the shots I got were out of focus.

Like Ballard Park, the primary smell is Multiflora Rose; there are banks of them here, too. There's also going to be a bounty crop of Blackberries. But unlike Ballard Park, there's no shade here. Most of Ballard Park is woodland; most of the Wildlife Refuge is field. I got burnt to a crisp today! Days like this are the reason why Mama Gaiea created Aloe.

Tomorrow I'll go back down to Ballard Park and Gooseneck Cove. Wednesday is the Summer Solstice but I have to work that day, so I'll be doing my usual personal Solstice things tomorrow instead. And since Gooseneck Cove is my spiritual home that's where I do things like that. I'll take pictures, too, and record my impressions tomorrow night.

Pictures of the Day

On the way to the Wildlife Refuge I dropped by the Big Pond (officially named Easton's Pond) behind First Beach on the Newport - Middletown border. While walking around I noticed that the Water Lilies are blooming. Not the patches on Big Pond itself - those are still just getting to the bud stage. But just to the East of the Pond, between the Pond itself and the businesses that face onto Aquidneck Ave., there a smaller body of water full of Lilies, and that's where these are. To the left is one of the more picturesque patches, and to the right is a close-up of a bloom.

Okay everybody. Enjoy your day, and I'll talk to you again Tuesday night.

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