i decided last night i'd revisit the assabet river NWF again, returning to the eastern point, maybe go a little bit further into the refuge this time. after i made some omelette for breakfast, i left the house around noontime.
although there's no parking space along the eastern edge of the refuge, i still managed to find a spot for the motorcycle. it looked like they'd mowed the path leading into the wetland pond. afraid of mosquitoes, i'd worn my windbreaker jacket even though it wasn't buggy at all (the recent drought may have helped decrease the mosquito population). my last visit to assabet was back in early august, when i unsuccessfully tried to find the whereabouts of a secret bog patch.
by the time i made it to the water, i'd put on my telephoto lens and was slowly creeping my way around so i wouldn't disturb any wildlife. unfortunately what i found were pretty boring: some canada geese and a trio of swans (which i thought was strange, swans usually come in pairs). i did notice some freshly felled trees that wasn't there before, the apparent work of beavers.
a lot of the red maples had changed colors but for the most part things were still green this early in the autumn season.
i found some what appeared to be pink lichen growing in a dry opened field. they resembled the british soldiers (any species of lichen) that were also sprouting nearby, and i wonder if these pink ones were just dried up forms of the red ones.
i brought a jar and collected some duck weed. my last jar of pond scum (and i say that with the utmost respect) was spilled by an angry neighborhood squirrel when i left it out in the backyard to get more sun. not sure what i'll do with this jar, my track record for growing duck weed isn't very good. maybe i can turn it into a self-contained ecosystem.
two new animals to add to my checklist: even though i've seen them before, only today was i successfully able to identify (NWF field guide) these small black flying insects as small carpenter bees (ceratina). swooping above the marsh i spotted several medium-sized yellow birds: great crested flycatchers. i've actually seen one once before, back in may when i did a few rounds of early morning birdwatching at the mt.auburn cemetery (although i didn't get any photos). there were also some brown birds hiding in the marsh grass but i didn't get a good enough look to figure out what they were. what i really wanted to see were wood ducks, and i think i saw some flying away when i startled them, but i can't be sure.
i did some light bushwhacking, following the edge of the marsh, still trying to see some wood ducks. i noticed a small hill and decided to see if i could trace a route to the summit. with my eyes trained to the forest floor looking for mushrooms, i came across a skull. at first i thought it was a coyote skull, but after a more careful look i realized right away it was a beaver skull from the rodent-like incisors.
walking around the hill i suddenly came across the entrance to a trapezoidal bunker. it's not mentioned on the trail map so imagine my surprise, like finding a lost temple in the jungles. the summit of the hill was actually just the roof of the sloping bunker. although the place looks old, i noticed a nearby telephone pole and a wire going inside the bunker (possibly electricity). the large metal door seemed rusted shut but the sign above the door ("bunker 321") looked relatively new. there were also 2 paths leading away from the bunker (i think i was at location 21 on the trail map - there are no signs).
walking away from the marsh and into the deep forest brought out the mosquitoes, so i decided to turn back. returning to cambridge, i took route 2 for the second time via motorcycle just to shave some time off my return trip. doing 70mph on a bike that can only go 85mph maximum, i was a little scared for my life, picturing what horrible ways i could die on the highway if one of my tires should happen to explode. i got some late lunch at the cafe (my mother made some basil chicken dish) before returning home. while visiting the garden to collect some basil, i realized one of the nose pads (including the pad arm) had fallen off. i looked for it on the street and then later at home but couldn't find it. i'm not even sure when it fell out, maybe even yesterday. i only noticed when i went to clean my glasses. without the nose pad, my glasses sit slightly askew on my face, giving me a crooked view. i thought about cannibalizing the nose pad from an old pair of glasses but none were compatible. i even walked to the dollar store to see if i could buy a cheap pair of sunglasses, but the cheapest ones were still $5. i'll go over to my parents' tomorrow and see if i can find some spare parts there. in the meantime i just have to live with a slightly off-kilter vision.
i feel asleep on the couch in the early evening, right during the start of the yankees game. i woke up to watch my name is earl and 30 rock, eating half a vietnamese sandwich for dinner. during the commercial breaks i'd switch to the yankees game, as they eventually lost. as much as i don't want the red sox to face the yankees in the postseason (the yankees are the only real threat i see), a part of me still thinks that victory is that much sweeter when boston goes through new york to get to the world series. so as much as i cheer to see the yankees lose tonight, part of me sort of wish they did better. julie came over later (shocked to see how messy i've kept the living room), bringing with her some vegetables she picked from her garden this morning, handfuls of salsa peppers and cherry tomatoes. in exchange i gave her a bag of basil.