i went to bed early last night, around 11pm, and woke up at 9am this morning. mary was already gone by then, the kitchen a faint smell of whatever she reheated for breakfast. i left for belmont relatively early, arriving at 10:30am. my lungs burned a little bit, but it wasn't that bad. i wanted to get there early because my mother and i planned on going out to do some early spring birdwatching. originally she wanted to visit mt.auburn cemetery, but i suggested great meadows in concord, to see some migrating water birds.
before we left, we saw the female baltimore oriole from a few weeks ago return to the suet feeder. she'd disappeared for a while and i blamed my mother for not filling the suet feeder when it went empty. i was worried the oriole had died because she couldn't find enough to eat, but i'm happy to see that she's survived.
the last time we went to great meadows (first time for my mother) was back in june. my sister dropped us off on that occasion. we were a bit late to see the spring migration, but still saw a few birds, including great blue herons, female wood duck with ducklings, and yellow warbler. i glimpsed a group of cedar waxwings (no photos), but my mother didn't see them. this time i was driving, and since i couldn't consult with my phone gps, i simply just memorized the route. i managed to find the place without getting lost. there was a sign about mandatory parking fees, but we noticed nobody paid, so we didn't pay either.
being easter sunday, the place wasn't crowded, but judging from the parking lot, it was still 3/4 full. there were groups of hardcore birders, spotting scopes or telephoto lenses mounted on heavy tripods; there was casual birders, with binoculars draped from their necks; the weekend family strollers; the joggers; and groups of random people just out enjoying the weather.
once again, we were there too early for the migration. the only spring migrants were a large group of tree swallows, flying about in the sky, flashes of blues and whites. i've never seen so many tree swallows in a group before. coming in, we saw a pair of hooded mergansers. i've must of seen them before, but thought to be rather rare, when in fact they're fairly common and are here year-round. still, my mother had never seen them before.
we finally saw a male wood duck, as we made our circuit loop around the great meadows pond. it was a first for my mother. i'd seen them before, but always from a distance, and likewise was the case this time. they're pretty shy, avoiding curious humans whenever possible by hiding in the reeds. this one was circling a nesting box but became nervous when he spotted us and retreated to the reeds.
we also saw a muskrat, which at first i thought was a beaver (more likely it wa a muskrat since it's daylight, plus i didn't see a beaver tail).
afterwards we decided to go to bedford center, where apparently there was a tj maxx. the route was direct but still took 10 minutes to get there. not only was there a tj maxx but an ocean state job lot as well. my mother and i were getting ready for an afternoon of bargain hunting until we turning into the parking lot which was totally empty. easter sunday. stores closed. it would've been more direct if i continued down route 4 through lexington center, but i am a creature of habit, and back-tracked to great meadows again to take the route i originally took to get there (i know better next time).
concerned about my lung pains, my father wanted to give me a ride back to cambridge but i insisted on biking. it felt just the same as yesterday, meaning there's no improvement. so i'm definitely paying a visit to MGH urgent care tomorrow to get examined.
the smell of rotting fish filled the house when i came home. mary cleaned her fish purchases on friday, and threw the entrails into the trash, which had been rotting for 48 hours. why she didn't take notice and do something about it i can't understand. she seems blind to basic housecleaning and maintenance. i wonder if this is how she's like at home, or she just expects me to take care of everything. i am seriously afraid the house will be a complete mess when i get back. oil drips all over the kitchen carpet, splatters all across the stovetop, and the bathroom carpet covered in hairs and toothpaste drips. anyway, i quickly took out the trash. later mary asked me about it, i told her about the smell, she nodded, like she wasn't even aware of the stench, and was just confused that i took out the trash before trash day.