Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 22: Scarborough Marsh

Change is in the air at Scarborough Marsh. Along Eastern Road trail, the leaves of some of the wild cherry bushes were already turning red. At high tide with little of the mud flats exposed, shorebirds weren't easy to see. They flew overhead, moving from one low patch to another, their high-pitched calls drifting across the marsh on the warm air.

Above the marsh grass, the white heads of egrets catch the eye. From Eastern Road the view is wide enough that we could see a harrier dipping above a field of goldenrod on the far side of the marsh. Over another part of the marsh 14 crows returned to the trees, having successfully escorted a red-tail out of their airspace.

We walked out between the pannes on a beaten trail and got close looks at some bright young least sandpipers. A snowy egret ran back and forth in the shallow water. A Canada goose raised its head from behind a hummock. On the walk back, in a pool on the other side of the road we picked out a little blue heron among some egrets. A few crickets hummed in the faded grass. Only a couple of salt marsh sparrows remained, scuttling from tuft to tuft, and the swallow nesting boxes are empty now.

Some leaves reddening.
Plaintive calls of sandpipers
shifting with the tide.

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