Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wildlife Galore

I spent a wonderful week in Ithaca, New York with Bridget's family recently. Their apartment complex is full of young families, most of whom are associated in some way with Cornell University. Their building faces the local bird sanctuary so at least once a day Meme and Majd and I walked the network of trails that lace through the area.

The boggy land is pocked with scores of tiny ponds, lots of tall trees, wooden bridges to cross the marshiest areas, and at one end is a very large pond filled with ducks and geese and other water animals. There is a visitor center near the pond.

Some of the more common birds seen in the sanctuary are red-wing blackbirds, goldfinches, jays, robins, chickadees, various ducks and Canada geese, but sometimes scarlet cardinals made an appearance. One day we passed Canada geese parents swimming with their eight goslings! We see great blue herons often here in the Pac NW but not so often sitting on their nests. In the bird sanctuary were two sets of herons  nesting in adjoining tall trees.

Muskrats swim through the pond, raccoons climb the trees, and squirrels and chipmunks are everywhere. The last night of my visit as we walked at dusk, two beaver were splashing near the shore of the pond just yards from us. We crept closer as they came onto the bank to investigate their surroundings. They still hadn't spied us and we got within about 8 feet of them. Then Majd startled them and in a flash they dove back into the pond to head for deeper water. Funny that someone from Beaver-town Oregon would get a better view of beaver in NewYork than I ever do here.

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