Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Different Trip to Plum Island - 6/21/10

On Monday, June 21st, Mark & I headed up to Plum Island with the sole purpose of meeting Mark's cousin, Diane, who he had not seen for more than 40 years! Diane & her husband, Ted, were on vacation in Maine (from Ohio) and since Diane & Mark had gotten back in touch via Facebook, they made plans for a reunion of sorts on Plum Island. The reason for Plum Island is that this is where their families vacationed back in the late 50's so there were definite ties to the place.One of the highlights of the trip was when Mark presented Diane (seated next to him in the photo above) with a copy of this photo on the exact spot near Emerson Rocks. It was actually quite emotional. Interestingly, this is where we also scattered some of Mark's mom's ashes last year when she passed away. BTW, that's Mark's mom, Doris, all the way to the right in the picture next to Mark.
Of course, being birders, Ted & Diane expected that we would show them all the birds we could on Plum Island -- and we were more than happy to oblige. As soon as we entered the island, we started to point out the egrets flying out to the harbor as the tide lowered.
And Willets seemed to be just about everywhere that we stopped.
At Hellcat we saw a Sora rail with young and an Osprey put on a great show in the north impoundment.
In fact at one point the bird came so close to the tower, I thought that Diane, who was standing on the second level of stairs could almost reach out and touch the bird.
We even got to watch the Osprey dive for a fish, but he or she came up empty-handed.
Thanks to a local birder, we were also able to point out the nest of the Orchard Orioles in the parking lot. The immature male was quite territorial and put on a great show chasing away a male Towhee just singing in the same area. We could also see the movement of the female on the nest, but she sat pretty tight while we were there.
The island was quite busy for a Monday, but not overrun -- and that included green-heads as well. I just love this photo of the reflection of the Snowy Egret. It was a very obliging bird.
We decided to head off the island and down to Woodman's in Essex for fried clams. Diane said in Maine all they really got were lobsters, so she and Ted were looking forward to fried clams...and Woodman's is the place to go.

Leaving the island we stopped to check the pools for phalaropes (not) and we were lucky enough to be able to point out a pair of Glossy Ibis.
As we got closer to the pools in which they were feeding, they took off, but one bird only flew further north on the island and resettled in another pool.
This provided us all a chance to get some really great looks....and as Mark reminded me, my best photos to date of Glossy Ibis.

We couldn't leave Plum without stopping to point out one of it's signature birds -- Purple Martin. I'm not sure whether the construction around the buildings in Parking Lot #1 is responsible for the lower-than-usual numbers or whether they're just become scarce. I'm afraid it's the latter.
After a great lunch at Woodman's, we headed down to Gloucester, since that's where Diane & Ted were staying that night so we thought we'd poke around a little there before we needed to head back to Worcester.

At the end of Eastern Point we had lots of Common Eider and even had a small family along the shore near Niles Beach.
It was a really nice, fun day and it was great to meet one of my cousins-in-law....but what was really special was to see Mark and Diane reconnect after more than 4 decades.
Mark tried to convince Diane to come back again next year, and to bring her other siblings (Carol and Tom) along. And Diane tried to convince Mark to make a trip out to Ohio to see them and her parents before too much more time passes.

Maybe it's the age we're getting to or something, but it seems like everyone is going through the process of reconnecting with long-lost cousins and family. I don't know....but it sure is nice!

1 comment:

  1. I am just now getting around to saving these glorious photos to my computer...ahhhh...takes me back to our memorable reunion as part of a very special vacation trip. Thanks so much for posting have a gift, Sheila...