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!

April 1, 2017

A Year in Great Meadows - Video Tour with Cherrie Corey

In 2015, local historian and videographer, Electa Tritsch, got the inspiration to follow me along the trails at Great Meadows NWR in Concord for a full year, filming its seasonal highlights through my interpretive lens. The result is two 30-minute, on-line video programs featuring the sights and sounds encountered across this marvelous floodplain - a refuge for migratory birds, local wildlife, endangered species, and nature-lovers of all stripes.

A Year in Great Meadows - Part 1 (Spring/Summer)

A Year in Great Meadows - Part 2 (Fall/Winter)

Male marsh wren gathers cattail fluff for his nest
Beginning in early spring of 2015 and continuing for the next sixteen months, Electa and I spent countless hours on the trail in all kinds of weather and at all times of day. We moved and filmed as unfolding light, sounds, and encounters inspired us. Electa persevered to master her equipment in an on-the-move setting, while I rallied to overcome my awkwardness in front of a camera lens.

Electa Tritsch, producer and intrepid videographer
Yours truly

The result, an informative and inspired introduction to Great Meadows NWR in Concord, which I have been dedicated to observing and interpreting to the public for the past nine years. We document spring leaf-out and dazzling fall foliage, grazing muskrats and gaggles of goslings; explore the remarkable cycles of ordinary milkweed and cattails, summer flowers lining the Dike Trail, and dazzling ice patterns along the river's edge. We listen to crickets and warbler songs, watch gnats swarm, and observe a heron and coyote treading softly across thin ice in search of winter prey. Over nearly a decade, I have photographed seasonal wonders at Great Meadows more than in any other location in Concord, with some 140 of my favorite images included in these two videos.

Cherrie leading a monthly walk at the refuge
We are grateful to the Garden Club of Concord and the Concord Cultural Council (an agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council) for their enthusiastic grant support and to CCTV (the community access station for Concord and Carlisle, MA) for their generous contribution of expertise and state-of-the-art production facilities. The program was produced by Electa Tritsch and Oakfield Productions as part of her "Tracks in Time" series carried on CCTV.

These links also listed under Resource Links in the right-hand column of this website:

A Year in Great Meadows - Part 1 (Spring/Summer)

A Year in Great Meadows - Part 2 (Fall/Winter)

Errata (missed during post-production review):
Part 2/Fall-Winter:  Beaver Business (correcting two brain-freeze moments) - Active beaver lodges typically house two adults and anywhere from 4-7 offspring (yearlings and spring kits); Scent mounds are anointed with Castoreum (not castor oil), which comes from the beaver's castor sacs.