Background Switcher (Hidden)

Fresh Pond Morning

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hodge and I started Thursday morning with some exercise and fall foliage, something (the foliage) that's been sorely lacking in Ohio, and, thanks to a weird, mild fall, is hanging on way past its freshness date in New England.

We started with the tree-lined corridor around Fresh Pond, another marvel of public works. This is the reservoir that supplies Cambridge with its drinking water. Yay. They have a gorgeous waterworks that filters out the duck poop and sends it in pipes to homes and businesses. It's nice water.

 Off to the side, there is a small and gorgeous impoundment with a Dog Beach, my first. I was, of course, charmed. And delighted to see it in use by a Labrador cross who was expressing the Lab part of his genome in an enthusiastic and directed way.

He was pretty good about shaking himself away from his guy and us. I love a dog with a job. I also love dog owners who honor their dog's needs. He said this dog beach is really nice because the water's so clean, and so then is his car. That's the thing about those water-loving breeds--they're gonna get right in. But look at the physique on this dog. Just magnificent! The guy said, "It's a good way to tire him out for the day." Oh, that all dogs could get the exercise they need. Chet Baker's seventh annual checkup is Tuesday. Last time Dr. Lutz said he was "all muscle" and told us to keep up the good work. Gotcha.

Another impoundment is sort of for ducks, although some line strung across it in parts was designed to discourage Canada geese, which would happily fill the reservoir and this little impoundment with poop given half a chance.

I pushed the limits of the Canon G-ll's 20x zoom to grab some pretty hooded mergansers (drake left, female rising to stretch, right) at an impossible distance.

It was lovely to see these little designer ducks floating against fall reflections.

Which were hurrying to delight us before rain set in at noon. They succeeded. Kris and I power-walked the 2.1 miles around Fresh Pond, then headed for Mt. Auburn Cemetery before the rain.

 Lots of migrating ring-necked ducks were loafing around on Fresh Pond.

The drakes were just coming into Alternate (nuptial or breeding) plumage, which is basically the same as Basic (winter or non-breeding) plumage but much brighter, cleaner and better defined. 

It was a peaceful and satisfying morning.

How wonderful that such places exist in the city.

Sparrow heaven! Hodge says this is full of yellow warblers in summer. It was full of song sparrows in fall.

To the Things That Hodge Knows, add How To Find Adorable Screech-Owls.

The trick, she says, is to look at the time-honored owl roosting cavities 100 times, and maybe 2 out of those hundred times, there will be a prize.

Good morning, darling.

Hodge loves to stand looking at owls and then share her binoculars with others. We did that with a woman who said she'd been coming to Fresh Pond for two years and never seen an owl. Add another to the Cavity Watcher's Club. 

I had the BEST time at my talk at the Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center yesterday, and am looking forward to today's presentation at 11. Attending was a pantheon of artists that included Cindy House, Barry Van Dusen, Lucia de Leiris, Robert Braunfield, Larry Barth, Jim Coe, Sean Murtha, and Clare Walker Leslie.

Not only that, but my sister Barbara, niece Karen,  college friends Hodge, John, Edward and Dirk, dear friends Dan, Jeff, Grady and Arlo, MojoMan, Aimee and Mary were there too. Packed the hall with homies. And I was very nervous right up until I walked into the building and VAC Director Amy Montague and fabulous staffers Gigi Hopkins, Sharon Lee, Steve Landry and Jayne DiCandio and  made me feel completely at home and at ease. To stand surrounded by the work of Robert Verity Clem, talking to my family and friends and artistic guiding lights, well, that was something very special, something I'll remember forever. Thank you to everyone who made the trek, and a special thank you to Amy Montague and the VAC for making it all happen.


I'll keep watching cavities and one day I might get lucky. Glad you're surrounded by good people and beauty this weekend but you better git yerself home soon. Somebody is missing you.

That's just gorgeous, Julie, thank you for sharing...I love the idea of the dog beach!

Sounds like a perfect confection of home-coming to college days, family visiting, power-walking, owl-spotting, and dog appreciating.

The north east is an awesome part of the country.

"They have a gorgeous waterworks that filters out the duck poop and sends it in pipes to homes and businesses. It's nice water."

I guess I'm just not the birder I thought I was.


Such a beautiful walk around the ponds, capped off with an owl sighting. I, too, am a cavity watcher and am always so thrilled when it pays off.

I was really enjoying your adventures and then I saw the owl. What a delight! I need to be a bit more observant about those cavities myself.

Quantos lugares lindo , que paz deve transmitir.
Conheça um blog sobre crianças especial , meu filho e sobre artesanatos
ficarei feliz com sua visita. Um abraço

One of the best things about birding in the valley area of South Texas is that there are so many birders there, that all the owl cavities on the birding spots are part of the local lore.

I have been directed to screech owl cavities twice and once to the cavity of an elf owl by some Brits. They told us to come to the second tree by the headquarters parking lot at a certain time. We arrived a few minutes early. The Brit group finally showed up and said the owl was the next tree and that it was still 5 minutes before it would appear. Right on time,this little fuzz ball, not much bigger than a tennis bal, came to his hole and sat in it for a few minutes. Then he flew to a nearby branch for another few minutes before flying off.

We passed on the information to others and I'm sure they too passed it on because that is the way of birders in the Valley.

I love that little owl! The first time I saw an eastern Screech Owl in the wild was in your home state - Ohio! - at Magee Marsh. I keep looking for owls in my neck of the woods.

Oh. I am reading this on my lunchbreak and ...NOW ... missing Bear so badly.

I want to go home and play with him.

[Back to Top]