Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday at Sachuest Point

I got up and out the door early this morning to go hit Easton's Pond and Green End (aka North) Pond; there had been reports of interesting sightings, including some Wood Ducks, and I wanted to go see, too. Unfortunately there was nothing unusual this morning when I was there, just some big old Canada Geese lounging around. Oh well... At that point I decided to head over to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge because now is when the Tree Swallows gather in the thousands there, "staging", i.e. feeding up for the migration south for the Winter.

Of course, one of the iconic sights on the way to Sachuest Point is Hanging Rock, so I just had to get a shot. It's part of the Norman Bird Sanctuary and overlooks Sachuest Point, Sachuest Beach, and Easton's Point, offering beautiful views from the top. I call it "iconic" because it's come to stand for Middletown, RI, and they've even used it on the town seal.

Past Hanging Rock and out on Sachuest Point I was greeted by the staging clouds of Tree Swallows. They choose this place in particular because there are plenty of Bayberries and insects (I was getting eaten alive by the 'skeeters - mosquitoes for those who insist on proper English!); they fall on the Bayberry bushes to gorge on the berries and then they rise into the air and fling themselves about with open beaks scooping up the bugs. When they get fat and happy enough, they head south.

Along the trails in the Refuge I came across other photogenic sights. For instance, this baby Eastern Cottontail cropping grass beside the southern loop trail. It let me get fairly close and seemed more curious than fearful.

There were lots of butterflies out today - Monarchs, Cabbage Whites, American Painted Ladies, and Clouded Sulphurs mostly. I waited patiently while this Cabbage White fluttered around choosing a Spotted Knapweed bloom to settle on.

Since I started with an icon, I might as well end with one. This female Red-tailed Hawk has been hanging around the visitors' center since October and has become the unofficial mascot of the Refuge. Whenever I've been over there she's either been perched on the roof playing Queen of All She Surveys or over on some piles of dirt dug up while they make a new leachfield down the hill from the center. Today she was up on the peak of the roof looking down on all us peons!

© 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. Roy.You Are Surrounded By Beauty.Enjoy !

  2. Hanging Rock is beautiful. (I'll let you carry my books anytime, Roy) xx

  3. They are all absolutely wonderful shots : but that second image will stay in my mind a long time. Perfectly executed.

  4. Hanging Rock – did you have a picnic there?

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