Paul and I have been to in Milford a few times now, and we always have a great time there. Recently, we made it our goal to get out to Charles Island, which is connected to the park's shore by a half-mile-long sandbar that appears only at low tide.
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The island is closed to visitors during the summer, to protect the herons and other birds that nest there, but it re-opened in mid-September. So I learned how to read tide charts, and this past Sunday afternoon (a couple of days before the New Moon, when low tide is at its lowest), we set out on our adventure!
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We started seeing interesting things before we even got down to the beach. This gorgeous Green Heron, for instance, was hunting tiny silver fish in the marsh right next to the boardwalk. It's been many years since I last saw a Green Heron, and I'd forgotten how small they are. Compared to the Great Blue Herons I'm used to seeing, this creature was positively dainty, and he/she moved slowly and carefully through the water on those long legs. At another part of the boardwalk, we leaned over to watch a colony of Fiddler Crabs (I don't know the exact species) moving in and out of their holes and feeding in the mud. This male crab seems to be waving up at us with his giant claw (or perhaps he was warning us to keep away from the nearby female).
When we made it onto the island, we still had some time before low tide, so we decided to explore. The interior of the island was fenced off to protect the wildlife (with signs telling people to keep out) -- we found several places where the fence had fallen, but we didn't push our way into the path-less tangle of bushes and vines beyond.
We saw a few signs of ruined buildings, remnants of old attempts to make the island habitable (attempts that were doomed to failure because of a centuries-old curse, according to some stories I've read online). We walked through lovely stretches of tall marsh grass as we made our way around the outside of the island, and we kept up a pretty stiff pace.
(I was afraid we'd miss the tide if we didn't move.) Cormorants fished from the rocks just off-shore, and small birds flitted in and out of the island's interior. This is the best view I got of a tiny Marsh Wren, as it hid expertly among the waist-high grass. Today's discovery: animals make really weird noises. I was walking my normal loop through the Naugatuck State Forest this morning when a loud screeching call started echoing through the forest. It didn't sound like anything I'd heard before -- not like a hawk or a Blue Jay, which are the normal screamers around here. I thought it might be mammalian in origin, perhaps an agitated carnivore. Which didn't make me very eager to get closer, I must say.
But then the source of the sound moved, and it was now coming from above. I looked up into the trees above the path, and there, perched on a branch and very actively looking around and making that crazy sound, was a Great Horned Owl.
Here's a video I took of this owl making its crazy call -- I didn't think it would be post-worthy at first, but YouTube magically removed all the shaking, and now it's like a real video! Propellerhead recycle 22 torrent mac 10. The audio's quite soft, and you'll have to listen past the Blue Jay calling constantly in the background, but there's some cool stuff there. Also, if you right-click on the video to watch it on YouTube, and then enlarge it to full-screen, you can actually see the owl's mouth opening as it calls. The call right at the end is the best. I just love owls, and any day I see one is immediately a best-day-ever. I wonder if this individual was part of the family of owls that was nesting in this same area earlier this year.