urbpan: (dandelion)
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The day before Halloween we had an Urban Nature Walk at good old Mount Auburn. Among other things, we saw North America's most massive bird species.

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urbpan: (dandelion)
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I like the Massachusetts story of the heaviest flying bird in North America. It has gone from valuable food source to completely extirpathted from the state, reintroduced from other states, and is now a fearless suburban pest. Wild turkeys are hunted across the region, but they have adapted to rely on human food sources, and the protections that come with living in settled areas. There's no turkey season in the town center, or at the wildlife sanctuary where I took these photos.

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Imagine if the largest land mammal in North America had a similar story. Wood bison at your birdfeeder? Towering hornless rhinos nibbling at the tops of the maples and sycamores lining main street?
urbpan: (dandelion)
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When I was scouting out Drumlin Farm on Sunday morning, checking for mushroom hot spots, I came across this troop of giant birds. They were not very afraid of me. I held still, two of them walked right by me while the others cut through the woods to avoid me.
urbpan: (dandelion)
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A couple of wild turkeys came into the yard while I was free-ranging my hens. The chickens cowered silently by the fence until I chased out the interlopers.
urbpan: (dandelion)
Snapshot hidden to protect the suddenly and surprisingly included in the snapshot project without proper notice )
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Before the class I walked around looking for mushrooms--it had been extremely dry, and I wanted to make sure we were going to find some! I passed this guy on the path and we went our separate ways.
Also some mushrooms )
urbpan: (dandelion)
Last week I led the earliest and driest fungi field walk I've ever done. When I say dry, I don't mean that I wasn't scintillating and poetic in my presentation, I mean that it had been sunny and breezy for several days running, and the soil and leaf litter and dead wood was all dry as dust. Fungi need moisture to produce mushrooms, so most of what we found were old dry specimens, crispy relics from the previous fall. But I had the idea to look inside an old rotten straw bale and...
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Coprinoid mushrooms! These were still intact within the wet innards of the bale.

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urbpan: (Default)


This past Saturday I went to a Winter Mushroom Walk and Talk at Drumlin Farm! It was led by Lawrence Millman, author of that mushroom guide I told you about back in September.

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urbpan: (Default)


Yesterday I led a "Fungi Field Walk" at Drumlin Farm. Because of this summer's wet weather, it's been an incredible few weeks for mushrooms. I had the biggest group I've ever led (the registrar stopped letting people in after the 16th person) and found more mushrooms than on any other walk. I got there early and researched some things I was a little unsteady on, and we had a great time. This is a clump of Mycena mushrooms, probably M. galericulata. We came across many clumps of them in many locations.

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urbpan: (Default)

The Muddy River, at the Jamaicaway.



At Lost Pond, Alexis found a Thanksgiving totem.
urbpan: (Default)


The wild turkeys left their mark under the Longwood Ave. bridge.
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urbpan: (Default)
It can now be said without reservation or qualification: Spring is here. It hasn't been constantly warm, but as a wise lj friend said to me last year at this time, it isn't summer it is spring. The earliest of flowers are blooming, including a few chickweeds and sidewalk dandelions, as well as some of the maples.

The grass has come up so subtly that I didn't notice it until I drove to Connecticut yesterday, and saw green lawns. The wet days at the end of March did the trick. Early bulb plantings are up, with daffodils seen blooming today, and crocuses almost past.

The last of the lingering juncos are seen less frequently (though I definitely saw some earlier in the week). Red-winged blackbirds and grackles are now commonly seen, and song sparrows and mockingbirds have been here and there. Mornings are all about robins.

This morning, however, was all about the turkeys. A flock* of wild turkeys was strutting along the sidewalk as we drove up to our building (Alexis' car is parked overnight in a city lot a few blocks away). We pulled over to look and one Tom came over and challenged us. I took a picture with my phone--we didn't have our real cameras with us--and tried to restrain some very excited dogs. We parked, ran in to leave the dogs and get our cameras, and got some good pics. (forthcoming) We did a couple hours of hedgetrimming with the turkeys across the street in the Dutch House yard. It was amusing to see the different reactions passersby had to these seven huge birds.

Edited to add: Alexis' pictures are here.
urbpan: (Tito!)
,
Mulberries in the Library.

This morning, as I was leaving the house to ride my bike to work, there was a wild turkey standing in the middle of the road in front of the building.  I took a lousy cellphone picture, then called Alexis to tell her.  She of course, went down and sat on the concrete wall outside next to the turkey, and took amazing pictures of it.
urbpan: (Boston)
boy i sure post a lot on weekends

sorry about the post i made that disappeared. it was intended for thequestionclub originally. i appreciate the comments i got before it was deleted, though!

Today I saw tree swallows at ward's pond, and this evening we saw a wild turkey in the riverway.

I did some research about Mattapan for tomorrow's Urban nature walk--which may be completely unattended. It was a Jewish neighborhood up until the 60's, then a group called Boston Bank Urban Renewal Group began providing loans to African Americans to buy homes in the area. By the 70's almost all the Jewish families had moved elsewhere, and today the population is over 90 percent of African and Caribbean descent. Mattapan has the highest concentration of Haitian people anywhere in Massachusetts. The neighborhood has the second least amount of public land per capita, after the south end. Most of the public land is in the Boston Nature Center, where we're walking tomorrow.

I wish weekends were 4 days long.
urbpan: (pigeon foot)
A few minutes ago, just as I turned the corner onto my block I saw a wild turkey standing on a neighbor's stoop! I didn't crash the car, nor could I park it legally, so I completed the circuit of the block, parked in my spot, and ran to where I saw the turkey. It wasn't there, so I quickly scanned the area: the street (full of afternoon rush hour traffic), the roof (a four story apartment building; not likely, but possible), and all around. There, across the street, on the part of the Riverway we call the "hot springs" because of a probably illegal sewerage outflow we discovered, were two turkeys. They were casually strolling on the paved walkway. I had to wait until a break in traffic to cross the street, and once I got there they had descended the hill toward the river. I took a couple pictures, which I'll post a little later.

I've now been sick officially a full week. I feel like I haven't been sick this long since childhood. Who else has the time to be sick this long, other than children? I'm pretty sure I've got bronchitis, and that I'm not going to get better without antibiotics. I'm stubborn, though, so we'll see how long it takes me to go to the doctor.

Today is the anniversary of my check engine light troubles! That's right, one year ago today my check engine light came on, instilling dread and worry and starting a journey of auto repair that shows no sign of ending. I've had all my oxygen sensors replaced, replaced the engine pipe twice, and some other stuff's been done to it too. On my way back from a roller derby game, in a white-out snowstorm, the check engine light started blinking. I was in heavy traffic on a major road (93S) so pulling over was out of the question. Fortunately, it stopped blinking, and just stayed on steady. When I brought it in, the guy told me (in difficult English) that sometimes the sensor gets wet and the light goes on, but there's nothing wrong with the engine. Okay, sure, I can live with that. So now, for the past month the light goes on when it rains, then after a couple dry days it goes out. Just so long as it's dry the next time I have to bring it in for inspection.

Last year around this time, I asked you guys to recommend some new music for me. Several of you recommended Pandora.com, a site where you enter a song or songs or an artist or artists and it generates a radio station that plays music based on that. 11 months later I've tried it, and it's interesting. It notices things about my music that I didn't notice, creating playlists based only on how the music sounds. It has a hard time recognizing context and irony. It has forced me to accept that I listen to music for reasons other than the way it sounds, at least on paper. Music is too wrapped up in memory and time and culture to be described only by key, tempo, and instrumentation.
urbpan: (pigeon foot)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sin_agua for drawing my attention to this photo from Time Magazine online.

This is less than a mile from where I live (where I've seen wild turkeys 3 times in 6 years) in a very busy commercial area. Take a look at this map to see about where the Time picture was taken (click the hybrid view to get a better idea of the kind of habitat available). I assume the turkeys mostly live in The Riverway, but there are a few islands of wooded habitat that they can make use of; they just have to cross trolley tracks and highways to do it. The Time photographer was fortunate (and maybe up early?) to get the shot s/he did. For another perspective, get directions from the first map link to 4 Yawkey Way, Boston.

Turkey porn

Apr. 7th, 2007 12:16 pm
urbpan: (It stinks)
This message was posted on the Boston Birds google group:cut for explicit turkey talk )
urbpan: (Tito!)
At the end of the day yesterday, I got a radio call saying that a wild turkey was entangled in a fence on the property. The crops workers, Matt and Tabitha, were there with it when I got there. I checked it out and immobilized it (it was panicking and injuring itself badly) while Matt went to go get cutters. Once freed it ran off into the woods. Tabitha took pictures of me holding the bird: here )

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