i headed out to concord this morning for an early birdwatching appointment. given that the temperature hovered in the 40's, there was no way i could make it out there via motorcycle, so i went to the cafe and borrowed my parents' SUV, which they'd left in the parking lot. stopping at the first traffic light, i saw a pair of black squirrels (the very first black squirrel i've ever seen was at this location as well. glad the black squirrel population is thriving). i arrived before the 7am meeting time, at the hapgood wright town forest across the street from the lincoln-carlisle high school. michele, a friend of julie's, was leading the tour, and people soon started showing up. birds were singing and just from the parking lot i was able to spot goldfinches, titmice, chipping sparrows, and an oriole. overhead either a cooper's hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk panned across the slightly overcasted sky.
most of the folks there were newbies, their closest birdwatching experience courtesy of backyard feeders. although i've rarely purposely gone naturing for the sole purpose of spotting birds, i think i was at a different level than most of the group members, including 2 little boys who were quick to show off their bird knowledge, courtesy of naturalist parents. the nature walk was definitely more educational than actual spotting, and we identified more birds through songs than actually seeing them. michele practiced the art of pishing, the somewhat controversial technique of mimicking the sound of a distressed bird (no one at the mt.auburn group practiced it).
following fairyland pond, we spotted red-winged blackbirds, grackles, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, and nesting canada geese. our first warbler of the day came in the form of a pine warbler high up in the trees flicking its tail. heading northeast until we came to a wooden arch bridge, we spotted a mourning dove as well as a female rose-breasted grosbeak (i didn't know what it was at first, thought it was just a big sparrow with a really thick bill). returning on our original trail, i fell behind a caught a great look at black and white warbler, behaving much like a downy woodpecker, hopping around whichever direction on the high pine branches.
coming back to the cafe to return the car (around 9am), i was surprised it was still closed. i waited a few minutes for my father to open up the shop and i ended up staying until 11am, getting some lunch in the process (chicken noodle soup with some tea eggs).
i knew there was a big harvard square may fair happening today, and i planned on going to get some photos, but the weather was so suprisingly chilling (despite the sun), so thought about skipping it. however, the promise of an indie pop band called the "witches in bikinis" performing in the afternoon was enough motivation for me to head down there and check it out.
i walked around a bit, squeezing through the crowd of people. when the time drew near, i parked myself in a good spot to see the stage and watched a bit of witches in bikinis before moving on. you have to hand it to them, despite the cold temperature, they were a sport and came out in their signature bikinis (although when they weren't performing, they were discreetly cloaked).
i ran into my neighbor jeff and we chatted briefly about the red sox. he told me he actually went to that 4 consecutive homerun yankees game a few weeks ago. since last year's may fair, i was hoping to see some more sidewalk chalk painting and this year didn't disappoint. however, in my opinion, last year's sampling was much better.
walking back home via oxford street, i tried to get a few more snapshots. armed with the telephoto and carrying it around for the past hour, my arm was starting to ache and i was relieved to be home finally.
i watched the rest of the red sox game, the hometown team beat the minnesota twins. i realized it didn't take me long to fall asleep on the couch (mostly because i slept very little last night and had to wake up early this morning), but i left for my parents' place soon afterwards for dinner.
it was already cold when i left and would be more so by the time i returned so i put on 5 layers of clothing. after dinner i got a haircut from my mother. i helped my father restore the system on his ailing compaq before returning to cambridge.