Monday, July 7, 2008

Hello From Connecticut!

I was greeted by gray skies and humidity when the plane landed on Saturday. I saw my first birds before we even got home--3 Canadian geese on someone's front lawn in Glastonbury and a great blue heron that flew over Rt. 2 on our way to Colchester. My son, Alex, who is just home from Iraq and on leave flew in Saturday night. He's the most important bird I have seen so far. What a sight for Mom's eyes to see his smiling face as he walked down the hallway in Bradley International Airport. You can bet I hugged the stuffing out of him after his 15 months in Iraq.

On Sunday we drove out to Lake Hayward where my brother, Stephen just bought a cottage. Every year for the past 12 years our family has gotten together to run the Adams Family Road Race. All 5 of us siblings ran cross county in high school and it was my brother Stephen's great idea to get us all together once a year to run the old cross country course. Of the 5 of us, he is the middle child and currently the fasted. I'm second oldest and the slowest, but I plug on anyways, determined to be included. My skinny little sister can run circles around me, and I am very proud of her. However, all bets are on Alex to win the race this year. He ran with Stephen on Sunday night and that kid can run like the wind!

At Stephen's new cottage I saw a rose-breasted grosbeak and 6 tufted titmice. A ruby-throated hummingbird politely appeared at my sister's hummingbird feeder just so I could see it! I counted birds sitting eating my breakfast outside my Mother's house this morning, and then I walked the Airline Trail off Old Hartford Road while my sister ran. I heard more birds than I saw but it was a pleasant walk anyway, and I photographed some wildflowers to boot. However, the moths were as thick as fleas and most of the oak trees were denuded from the tent caterpillars before their metamorphosis.

This evening I took yet another walk about the streets in town. I found myself being observed as much as I was out to observe the birds. I walked behind a nearby restaurant where there is a wooded area along the edge of the parking lot in my search for birds. As I stopped to photograph a squirrel lying along the branch of a tree I happened to look up at the building behind me. It was actually a 2 story house and a man was leaning out the second story window watching me watch the birds! I jumped back, startled and apologetic. I didn't know there was a house there and I was technically standing in his back yard. He didn't seem to mind, though, and cautioned me to watch my step as I cut though to yet another parking lot down a small embankment.

From here I walked through the town office and police station parking lot. The manicured lawns are surrounded by tree where I often seen birds. Tonight the robins are out in force and before the night was over I would count 28 of them. I guess the people of this town must not get too many birders passing through because I got such stares and even questions about what I was doing. One gal asked me what I was taking pictures of and if it was my hobby. A child asked if I was a photographer. A man sitting on his porch drinking a glass of red wine asked what kind of birds I was looking for. Another man wanted to know if I was lost and needed help! (I really think he wanted to know what I was up to. As soon as I told him I was trying to identify a bird in the thicket he lost interest!)

My route took me past the schools I went to when I was growing up. So many memories fought with my desire to spot and count birds. A pair of Killdeer ran across the parking lot of a new school that has been built in the field that formally held our highschool race track when I attended here. So many changes, but the old skating pond is still there on Halls Hill Rd. Only tonight it is ice free and full of lily pads with a Canadian goose family on the shore. As twilight starts to descend I look out over the water trying to find a few last birds. The geese walk towards me, begging for food I assume. When I offer none, the mother goose starts to hiss and snake her head at me. I stand my ground. Is she concerned for her goslings safety, or is she just mad that I didn't feed them? Finally she and the rest of her brood walk away and continue to graze on the tender shoots of grass that grow around the pond edges.

As I continue down Halls Hill rd I come to the corner of Pleasant Street where I will turn towards home. Suddenly I spot something flying rapidly above my head. There are six of them and I am trying to decide if they are birds or bats. Their flight is swift, their bodies dark and chunky and their wings pointed and boomerang like. They remind me of the Vaux swift I have seen in Arizona and I realize that I am seeing the Chimney swifts of the east coast--lifers for me! So, my evening ended in triumph as I head back to my mother's house which was once my grandparents home. Like all family homes, it is chock full of memories, along with the accumulated stuff of 70 years of life.

Just a note: I have read everyone's comments and I thank you all for your well wishes. I will come and visit you when I can. As you can see, I can get into my blog, but I don't know if I will be able to post photos until I return. Rest assured, the camera is snapping away, and Gus was finally able to get rid of the dust spot from the lens, so all photos from here on out should be free from distraction!


me ann my camera said...

This is a wonderful log of family unity and your journey back home. And what pleasure it must have given you to encounter the familiar, both buildings and birds. Congratulations on your Chimney Swift sighting! And welcome back to your son.

Beth said...

It sounds like a wonderful visit home. I'm looking forward to your visit to Maine.

kjpweb said...

Nicely written! You have fun, will ya? And bring back a heap of pics!

Cheers, Klaus

Doug Taron said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip. I want pictures from Maine when you get there!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Enjoy your time with family- especially Alex.
Good luck on the race!!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning from Mississippi! Hope you have a great week. Keep up the good work here! Keep us informed!

Pappy said...

Nice family story. We enjoy your posts with and without pictures. Pappy

Shimmy Mom said...

I'm so happy that your son is home and safe. I know how it feel to have a loved one come home after a deployment. Enjoy your trip. Your family race sounds like a lot of fun.

Susan Gets Native said...

You are a TRESPASSER?????
Shame, shame, shame.

: )

Anonymous said...

welcome back to your son! I like the "most important bird" designation.

enjoy your family time. we'll all be here when you get back.

Anonymous said...

Patty and I will be celebrating 53 years of marriage on July 12th. Think of it as a long-term relationship.

I have invited bloggers to offer suggestions on a gift for me to give Patty and the list would not be complete without your ideas.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo

bobbie said...

I am so happy for you and the family that Alex is home! and especially happy for him!

Enjoyed your post very much. It's a warm, happy one. Thanks for tsking us with you on your walk.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Small world! Colchester and Lake Hayward are about 10 minutes from my hometown. Some of my friends lived on that lake when I was growing up and went to school with me. I live about an hour from there now. My family is still there though.

So glad to hear that your son is home. :)

Larry said...

Glad that your son is home and safe.-It was nice to hear you write about areas that I'm familiar with.