April 18, 2017

Sunset Marvels and Surprise Visitors at Great Meadows

Cold front moving in

With only ten hours notice, twenty eager saunterers joined me to close out Marathon Monday and Patriot's Day with a slow, savoring walk across the refuge.  What a spectacular evening it was.  Opening with a dramatic frontline of clouds and theatrical light across the marsh-scape, we first encountered a swirling kettle of carp at the footbridge and a fly fisherman with his gleaming box of colorful, hand-tied flies.

Long-time Great Meadows volunteer, Alan Bragg, and his wife Ruth
share thoughts and experiences with our fisher-friend.

The sounds of dusk swelled with the calls of redwings, leopard frogs, spring peepers, chorus frogs along the river, and Canada geese announcing their arrival for the night. We passed by leafing out crab apples, blooming sweet gale shrubs, geese settling on their nests, and great bird clamor in the canopies.

Female sweet gale flowers

Red-winged blackbird in a silver maple

The great gift of the evening came on the wings of 38 glossy ibis, who flew in formation over the marsh, circling and apparently landing in the upper impoundment.  Their dark silhouettes against the rosy sunset sky was breathtaking.  For the past week, I'd been longing to see glossy ibis on their migration through Concord one more time...wish granted!

38 migrating glossy ibis fly in at sunset

The cloud panoramas washed in pastel hues and rosy glow of the brimming river were so sublime.    Truly this was one of our more exceptional evening walks in these last ten years!

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