Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Potpourri in Westport Massachusetts

Yesterday was a potpourri of different events, my colleague Doug had a bird watch scheduled for the Echo Focus Group and a training session for the interns at Allens Pond Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary on how to lead a beach ramble. I was not only attending to help Doug, but also photograph the events. Also since it's been about a week since I took photographs of the red-shouldered Hawks, we decided to make a whole day of it.
We first went and visited the red-shouldered Hawks. The chicks are getting big they are about three quarters the size of the adults.Red-shoulder Hawk Chicks _ROT4694 NIKON D3S June 06, 2011 Today,

there was no real action in the nest, although I was able to obtain photographs of the adult returning to the nest. fb Red-shouldered Hawk_ROT4699 NIKON D3S June 06, 2011
As I said in my first post about the red shouldered hawks I would've loved to have a lift truck and be able to photograph right down onto the nest rather than from the ground. However, we will make do with what we have.
We then went to the Allen Pond Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary and met with the Echo Focus Group. Here is a description of the group by the founder Naomi.Allens Pond MSB_6476 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Allens Pond MSB_6479 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Allens Pond MSB_6482 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Allens Pond MSB_6484 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011
"I started the Ecology group two years ago and the idea was to learn as much about our local ecology as possible by participating in outings. We've gone to the Audubon Sanctuary as you know, to Eva's organic farm to learn about sustainable agriculture. We've had guided hikes by naturalist, Amy Thurber who leads DNRT hikes.
So from this group evolved the Eco Focus group. This group has continued the study of ecology but our trips have focused more on waste management. There has still been a great focus on immersion in the local environment: getting out in nature, hiking, seeing, listening. We toured SEMASS trash burning power plant in Rochester, MA. We went to Blount soup for a tour and learned where they get their ingredients, how they recycle their waste using microorganisms. We went to Lee's market for a tour of their store and learned how they recycle the meat renderings (into soap), veggies (they go to the local pig farmers), etc. We also toured the Dartmouth Recycle and Transfer station to learn where the recyclables go and took a tour of CRAPO landfill in New Bedford (one of my favorite tours).
We've taken many hikes this spring learning about local animal and plant species. Paul Champlin did a guided hike on soil ecology which was fascinating. We went to see the astronomers at UMASS' open observatory night. Everything ties together under the subject of ecology: all species depend and relate one to another."
The group consisted of not only the children, but the parents and grandparents. We went on a hike down around the beach loop, with views of some of the birds of Allens Pond, with everybody getting a good view of the ospreys and some people evening getting to see the Clapper Rail.Allens Pond _ROT4719 NIKON D3S June 06, 2011
However, the rail was squawking and everybody could hear it. Doug, the leader, discussed the red-winged blackbirds and pointed out the various birds such as a green heron, Willits, tree swallows, song sparrow singing and how the Asians used Cormorants to fish.

Allens Pond _ROT4724 NIKON D3S June 06, 2011Song SparrowAllens Pond _ROT4726 NIKON D3S June 06, 2011Blue Crab ClawsAllens Pond _ROT4733 NIKON D3S June 06, 2011Tree Swallow
The group was also told about the Duck Derby, 2011DDlogowhich is the annual fundraising event for Allens Pond Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary; the grand prize is a trip and dinner anywhere in the world. You can adopt a duck for $10 and you can adopt online at
After lunch there was a teaching session for the interns on how to conduct a beach ramble.Allens Pond MSB_6498 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Allens Pond MSB_6513 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Checking the WrackAllens Pond MSB_6514 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011PoppyAllens Pond MSB_6516 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Skate Egg Case Allens Pond MSB_6520 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011 Mole CrabAllens Pond MSB_6523 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Blue CrabAllens Pond MSB_6524 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011skateAllens Pond MSB_6526 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Ghost Crab
While we were on the beach, we came across a killdeer, which probably had a nest nearby and put on a display of a bird with a hurt wing to lure us away from the nest.Allens Pond MSB_6508 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Allens Pond MSB_6509 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Allens Pond MSB_6510 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011Allens Pond MSB_6512 NIKON D300S June 06, 2011
If you are interested in going on a beach ramble they are occurring every Saturday morning at 10 AM starting at the field station at Allens Pond Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary. There Is No Fee Involved.