Saturday, May 02, 2009

Saturday Sights

Today was iffy weather-wise; overcast most of the day and off and on light showers. It made for an interesting walk today. I went down to Ballard Park and Gooseneck Cove to check out how much more Spring may have perked things up down there, especially now that we're past Beltane, the halfway point between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Luckily, not long after I started walking in Ballard Park I bumped into Lauren Parmelee. Lauren has worked with the National Audubon Society in different places in the US; her last job in that capacity was as director of education at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown. Now she's program director for the Girl Scouts of RI, but she's still the person a lot of us here in Newport go to to get an unusual bird ID or to report a sighting.

We were in seventh heaven today in Ballard Park; the air was alive with bird song, and we saw quite a few of them, too. Not much in the picture department, though; the birds were either out of camera range, or wouldn't sit still enough for a picture, or were too far back in the branches and new-sprouting foliage to get a clear shot. But... We heard Yellow Warblers and saw a few, ditto Eastern Towhees, ditto Catbirds (and my how the Catbird population has jumped in the last week or so!), ditto Cardinals... Yeah, I know, you can't get out of earshot of Cardinals this time of year without going on an Arctic expedition. And walking down Hazard Rd. toward Gooseneck Cove we first heard, and then saw, a Red-breasted Nuthatch; they're rare around here, so seeing one was a piece of good luck (didn't get a picture; this was one of the "won't sit still" ones).

Down the road about 50 feet more on Gooseneck Cove we flushed two Great Blue Herons (I tried to get a flight shot but it didn't work out). There were Great and Snowy Egrets in abundance, and some Yellowlegs as well. A trio of Canada Geese were making the usual ruckus, and there were a few Mallarda around as well. I was hoping the Belted Kingfisher who lives down there would make an appearance, but no luck. Lauren turned back at this point, while I went all the way down to the Green Bridge to ooh and aah over the tide pouring through the new culverts again. But before she left she mentioned she hadn't seen any Barn Swallows yet this year, just some Tree Swallows, and I told her the Bank Swallows were back in force on the Cliff Walk. Well wouldn't you know it, down on the Green Bridge I saw two Barn Swallows. So Lauren, if you stop by to read this: they're baaaaaack!

Down at the Green Bridge it was low tide and there wasn't much action in the culverts. But I couldn't help but notice this very red boat on the ocean side of the Cove. I guess this guy wants to make sure that he'll be seen even in the thickest fog!

After that I went back up to Ballard Park. While walking with Lauren I hadn't done my usual circuit of the quarry, and I wanted to stand in the Aspen grove and check out the Solomon's Seal patch (not yet, maybe next week). It had started to spit some, and the raindrops had an interesting effect on the pond's surface.

And that was today's wander. Stay tuned tomorrow; I'm going back there again. Tomorrow (Sunday) is the annual Police Parade, which passes by my house, and I am not a parade person (too much noise and crowding and chaos), so I'll be escaping to my sanctuary. Maybe I'll be able to persuade some birds to sit still in camera range.

© 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. ...very nice post. I liked your narrative... Yeah! for the Red-breasted Nuthatch. They are also rare around our town...some winters are better than others, but not common like the white-breasted. The boat is very striking. There is always something about red...and a boat that I like. The raindrops were soothing, very nice. Seeing the ordinary through an artist's eyes is always beautiful.

  2. Wow - the raindrops on the water photo is so beautiful. I love the interlocking and overlapping wavelets.

    Rain here too - much needed, but rather violent.