take a peek at the local weather forecast for the next week and there was no way i was going to stay home and work. i had two slices of pound cake for lunch and headed out to great meadows national wildlife refuge in concord. i packed my usual: camera equipment, pair of binoculars, a bottle of water. this early in the season, no need to bring bug repellent yet. despite the warm weather, i was way overdressed, including long underwear, which was probably overkill. it made for a comfortable ride though, and i only felt warm when i was off the motorcycle.

i've only become interested in birds recently. probably had something to do an upgrade in my camera equipment, and the ability to get sometimes decent photos of our feathered friends with the help of the telephoto lens. before that time though, a place like great meadows would bore me completely and i would've never thought about coming. other than birds (particularly birds that like marshy conditions), it doesn't have too much else to offer (compared to some of my other regular haunts).

the spring migration of birds is just starting so there wasn't a lot to see at great meadows: tufted titmouse, cormorant (i think that was what was making this awful croaking sound), canada geese, wood ducks, tree swallows, great blue heron, downy woodpecker, mute swan, robin, song sparrow, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and an unidentified hawk circling briefly in the air.

during the time i was there i saw about a dozen other visitors. some looked like locals, just out enjoying the weather, while others were definitely birdwatchers armed with binoculars. i even saw a few people like me, doing the tandem camera/binocular combination.

when bruce and i visited great meadows late last april, the place was flooded. we saw very little but one thing i remembered was all the splashing caused by jumping carps (possibly for mating reasons). there was some splashing today but nothing like what it was last year. nevertheless, there was definitely carps in the water. using my polarizing filter to see through the reflection, it was almost scary how many there were. and they're big too, each one at least 2 feet long if not bigger.

returning home, i stopped by the cafe to pick up some snacks my aunt had brought back from taiwan. with the weather so warm, i opened up some windows to air out the house. for dinner i had the last of my meat buns.

it took just 5 days for my tomato seeds to germinate. i'm still waiting for the hot peppers though. out of the three seeds i planted recently (peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes), i would've thought the peppers would sprout first, because those were the bigger seeds.