Field Trip #4, Tuesday March 8, 2016 Norman Bird Sanctuary

On Tuesday I met my friend Rachel at her house in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. We planned to go to the Norman Bird Sanctuary, in Middletown, which she lives close to.

First I got to meet her dog, Stella who is adorable and so sweet! She also has one beautiful blue eye, and one darker brownish color eye! I was really excited to interact with a dog, since my parents are not dog people…which means I don’t have much experience with dogs, but I do love them when I get to meet them.

Anyways, the Norman Bird Sanctuary is also an educational center. Here is their website for more information: http://normanbirdsanctuary.org/

It has many trails. The welcome center guide said that the trail we chose to take would take us about an hour and a half round trip. Somehow we did it in less than an hour, but I think we are fast walkers. Or maybe we didn’t follow the map correctly, who knows. But it was beautiful and a lot of fun!

This was the first time I went with a friend, and I really enjoyed having company to discuss what we were seeing and other random ideas related to nature, art, music, education, life, etc.

My favorite part of the hike was climbing some steep areas and getting to this rock! (It’s also a perk to have a friend with you so you can take pictures of yourself when you climb tall things! haha)

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Anyways.

The journey through the grounds started here with nothing much to see.

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However, far off into the distance, you can see the coastal area.

We obviously headed down the path in that direction. There were two choices though, one led away from the water.

Shortly after making that decision, we stopped to admire this pond. I asked my friend what one of the emerging buds of a plant might be. We decided it was probably skunk cabbage, which I remembered from an assignment in my Environmental Ethics course, was one of the first plants to come out in Rhode Island towards the spring season here.

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This is a picture of the plant in question. It’s in the middle of the frame.

I was curious about these trees. I wasn’t sure if they were Birch trees or if something happened to them and the bark fell off or something. It looked peculiar.

These curly vines fascinated me.

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We started to get towards a higher elevation:

And ended up here:

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This is where we took the picture of me on top of the rock with my arms outstretched further up on the page.

We made our way down, and came across a big pond with geese screeching quite loudly. I never realized how big the geese were seeing them swimming in the water. Something felt out of place…I have probably been quite close to geese before as a child, but suddenly they looked even bigger than I remembered…usually it’s the other way around with memories of animals as a kid. I was confused by that–maybe I had never seen a goose in the water and that was why.

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I had a hard time capturing the geese, but they are there way in the back if you look closely.

As we made our way back to the Welcome Center, we observed these chickens. I was enamored with the one that has speckled type feathers and fluffy feathery feet (which you can’t see in the photo). The hen was curious about us too.

This was a beautiful day, the first real warm day of the pre-spring season. It was at least 60 degrees! I was hot in my cardigan and lightweight fleece jacket! I took off my sweater and just wore the fleece and was still hot!

I want to come back to this site again soon when more plants are blooming. Hopefully I can also see more birds, as we didn’t see many…it was said that we might somehow see some owls (although they’re nocturnal, and we were there in the middle of the day, so I’m not sure how…I kept looking in some of the trees to see if I would spot one hiding/sleeping).

I asked about volunteer opportunities, but I’m not 100% sure I will follow through because of various reasons. I’d love to though if I could.

This is technically my last field trip required for the class, but look out for more photos and posts about my adventures, as I think I’m going to start being out and exploring nature places more often this Spring and Summer. I am going to aim to do so at least twice a month. Whether I’ll blog about it always is another story.

 

 

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Field Trip #3 Saturday, March 6

Field Trip #3 Saturday, March 6

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When I was given the task to go on nature field trips, in my mind I had quite ambitious goals for where I’d go when the weather improved. I wanted to go to all the prettiest, coolest, most challenging locations I could find. Some would require a bit of driving. But then in practice, something else happened once I started doing them. I wanted to find the cool trails and nature areas, without having to travel much at all. Last Saturday, I drove less than five minutes to an elementary school I had attended as a child that has a nature path behind it that I had never once explored. I could have walked there instead of driving, it would have been better for me and the environment, but I was somewhat short on time.

I couldn’t figure out the name of the nature trail until I visited it again yesterday, and took the picture above. It’s called the Hampton Meadows Greenbelt, located in the town of Barrington, RI.

The first thing I noticed was the duck pond. There were lots of Mallard ducks being quite vocal actually. I wish there was a way to attach the video of their noises I took here. This picture will have to suffice:

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I first focused on exploring the area with trails directly behind the school, but there wasn’t much there really.

Then I found a longer path on the other side of the pond which was quite nice. There were so many bird sounds, aside from the ducks off in the distance.

The trail was pretty well kept. In the muddy areas there are wood paths to cross over as pictured in the picture to the right above.

One thing I noticed was a lot of downed trees and some that looked like they were chopped to clear a path when the trees would be otherwise blocking the trail. I wonder what the rules and regulations for this sort of stuff is, because I know you can get in trouble for disturbing the trees, but I don’t know if that applies to when they’re down.

Here’s a series of photos I took of fallen trees. We have had some severe weather over the past few years that has probably contributed to this issue.

I also came across a tree branch that was in a perfect arch shape, and wondered how it got like that:

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I was intrigued by these patches of green:

There is a stream that runs alongside the trail for part of the time:

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I was sad that I was short on time, because I was enjoying my walk in these woods so much, and the trail seemed to go on indefinitely from what I could see, that I was wanting to explore more.

I ended up doing so a few days later, on Wednesday with my mom who had also never been here before.

I was in awe that there are such beautiful places to explore so close to me, and I can’t wait to visit more frequently and see the changes the seasons bring.

 

 

Nature Field Trip #2 Saturday February 27

Nature Field Trip #2 Saturday February 27

On Saturday, February 27th, I planned to go to a Yoga for Athletes workshop by a vegan couple called Yogi Triathlete. Since it was a bit out of the way from where I live, I decided to go exploring in that area. I don’t know North Kingstown, Rhode Island well at all, so I googled some stuff and decided upon a nature trail I could explore that was convenient to the yoga studio. I arrived at Wilson Park, and at first was a bit nervous because it didn’t seem very natural at all. It had a grassy field, lots of parking lots, a softball field, playground equipment, etc. I gave it the benefit of the doubt though, and after I parked, started walking to the wooded area visible to my eyes.

This led to a bike path, which led to a path through the woods. I saw another path through brush and vines and started following it, but it became too thick and I wasn’t sure where it’d even lead to. I kept getting stuck in thorny vines too and it wasn’t pleasant.

I turned back…and followed the paved path for a bit. It looked like this:

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Eventually I found another path, which took me here:

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I stood here for awhile, taking it all in. It was windy and I could hear birds and the rustling of the grass and trees. There were also wind chimes and other human-caused noises I could hear. It’s not pictured but I could see several buildings and boats from where I was standing if I turned around a bit.

After awhile of being there, I went back out to the path and eventually came to a place where there was another big parking lot. It led to the shore and quite nice:

I explored a bit more, there were some boats turned over and a boat filled with ice that I saw. The only other people there were a father and his boys exploring as well.

After staying for a few minutes, I turned around and took the walk through the path back to my car. I was a little fearful I would forget the path I took like I did with my last field trip, but I was paying more attention this time.

I only documented one blatant piece of litter…

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Overall, this area seemed pretty well kept. I even saw this sign by the water:

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There weren’t many people here, but I became a little nervous that I was so far away from my car and all alone. I started wishing  I was at least with a dog like most of the other people I encountered, if not another human. In fact, I let myself daydream a bit too much about one day having a dog. But, I tried to calm myself and enjoy the nature. Maybe I had difficulty with being present because it wasn’t as beautiful and interesting as my first field trip and I was sort of disappointed. I certainly got plenty of time to be mindful in the yoga class later on that day though!