Tag Archives: Audubon Society

Today: Down on Drumlin Farm.

Grace and I have been trading colds for what seems like months.  After a rough night (and more snow), we really needed some fresh air.  It’s good for the body and it’s good for the cranky, wintered over soul.  

Couldn’t help myself.

After breakfast and Irish music in the neighborhood, we drove out to Lincoln (about 30 minutes from the city) with our Audubon member cards in hand to see the baby (and, like, grown up) animals at Drumlin Farm.  Our first stop was the Yellow Barn to see the tiny black lambs before eventually making our way to the baby goals kids.

A real, live pile of kids.

The sun was shining, the chickens were clucking, and the lambs were climbing in and out of the hay bin (I respect any creature that passionate about snacks).  It was the perfect day and the perfect way to start breaking out of my winter rut.  It’s a deep one.  (Speaking of which, I am working on a rut-busting plan.  More on that later.)

Pig tails…

This does not answer the chicken or the egg question… but I like it nevertheless.

This makes me so hopeful for spring.

Added bonus: We got to see nearly every character from our favorite bedtime story, The Very Busy Spider, on the farm today.

Also On Tap for Today:

Let’s talk spring.  What adventures do you have planned?

Today: A walk in the woods at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.

Thanks to C. Columbus, his holiday and his poor navigation skills (He was headed to India, right? …Also: The same day is celebrated as Native American Day in South Dakota and Indigenous People’s Day in places like Seattle and Minneapolis.  These seem like much more worthy holidays.), my office was closed on Monday.  I kept Grace home from daycare (“We’re havin’ a Diva Day!“) and joined my parents and younger brother for a walk in the woods.

We bundled up the baby and headed down to the Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk (about a 40 minute drive from the city) and followed a two mile loop through the woods and marsh and across a few streams.  Most of the pathways are flat and there are designated trails for strollers and wheelchairs.

I picked up all kinds of gorgeous fallen leaves (and, feeling inspired, got out my watercolors as soon as we got home) and then convinced myself during the drive back to the city that I had poison ivy.  I did not.  In other words: A normal day, but with fresher air, fewer people flipping me off in traffic, less noise, and more vibrant scenery.

A walk in the woods

outdoor classroom at Stony Brook

We used my parents’ Audubon membership (which seems like a very grown-up thing to have) to access the wildlife sanctuary, and I remembered how much fun we had at places like this and the Trailside Museum when we were younger.  There are a number of Massachusetts Audubon sites close to the city, so I figured it was worth checking out.  I didn’t realize how much programming (including art classes, yoga, and something called an Owl Prowl…) they do at individual centers.

A few upcoming events at local Audubon sites:

And how’s this for timing: Memberships are currently discounted ($32 for a family or individual membership) through the end of November.  I am now one membership card closer to becoming America’s Next Top Nature Model a fun parent.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite field trip as a kid?  As an allergic-to-wool-person, I can tell you my least favorite was definitely the Lowell Mills (all 4 trips we made there).

Today: Not now, Atlantic puffin.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Earlier this year I went on a puffin expedition with every intention of spotting that little clay guy from Elf.  Needless to say, that didn’t happen.  Also needless to say, I need to brush up on wildlife.  While in Maine, Nick and I joined his parents aboard The Pink Lady at Pier 7.  We had cameras, binos (short for binoculars… learned that one from Whale Wars, obvi), sunscreen and snacks.  And a plan to see some puffins.

Not now, arctic puffin!

[Photo source]

Buddy the Elf had Arctic puffins, but it turns out the ones in Boothbay Harbor are Atlantic puffins.  Because, um, one lives in the Arctic and the other in the Atlantic.  Once I realized I knew nothing about (really anything) puffins, it was a lot easier to learn from the naturalist on board The Pink Lady.  It turns out that Eastern Egg Rock, located about 10 miles off the Maine coast, is the first restored puffin colony in the world.  The puffin community there was depleted in the late 1800’s by hunters collecting eggs and feathers (for sassy old lady fashions).  Young puffins were brought from New Foundland to Egg Rock by the Audubon Society.  Naturalists hoped that they could imprint the location in the pufflings memory so that the birds would later return to Egg Rock to breed.

Yes!  Baby puffins are called pufflings!

It took several years, but eventually the puffins returned to Eastern Egg Rock and started having pufflings of their own.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  As we cruised out of the harbor, I wondered if we’d actually see any of these little cuties.  Boothbay itself is full of puffin imagery, but the way the naturalist was talking, real, live sightings weren’t guaranteed.

We must have good puffin karma, however, because as we approached the Egg, the captain spotted a puffin flying across the bow.  And soon there was another.  And another.  And an entire raft of puffins on the port side!  (While I looked for an actual raft, covered with puffins, everyone else took photos of a group of puffins, floating on the ocean’s surface.)   In addition to two new vocab words (puffling and raft), I learned that puffins are quite small.  And that a zoom lens would have helped quite a bit.

Live and learn.  And take a puffin tour.

Also On Tap for Today:

Learned anything new lately?