a day to remember

3.27.23 ~ Harkness Memorial State Park

Please bear with me as I post more photo memories to take with me when we move! Harkness Memorial State Park is one of my favorite places, year-round for the waterbirds and in the summer for the flower gardens. On this walk we were immediately greeted by a sweetly singing song sparrow, who flew from branch to branch, teasing me. But I did get a few pictures of him!

song sparrow singing his heart out ~ it’s spring!
song sparrow
wading herring gull
American Black Duck, #76
(thanks to Donna for the identification)

American Black Duck Anas rubripes: Common coastal migrant and wintering species. In summer, an uncommon breeding species in freshwater and brackish habitats, especially coastal marshes; inland nesting occurs in freshwater marshes, densely forested swamps, and beaver ponds, mainly in central and western Connecticut.
~ Frank Gallo
(Birding in Connecticut)

The American Black Duck hides in plain sight in shallow wetlands of eastern North America. They often flock with the ubiquitous Mallard, where they look quite similar to female Mallards. But take a second look through a group of brown ducks to notice the dark chocolate-brown flanks, pale grayish face, and olive-yellow bill of an American Black Duck. Numbers of this shy but common duck declined sharply in the mid-twentieth century. Hunting restrictions have helped to stabilize their numbers, although habitat loss remains a problem.
~ All About Birds webpage

dabbling and dripping
mute swan
no mate in sight
out of the water
osprey, waiting for a mate to return?
I heard this Carolina wren singing very loudly,
but it took me a long time to locate it!
lovely snowdrops
Race Rock Lighthouse, 12 miles away on the horizon
Connecticut’s beautiful rocky coastline
very blue sky to the north
flock of brants swimming in the sound
wrack line art
sand art

Today was a beautiful, calm, spring day. No wind! A woman was there trying to fly a kite, which is possible there more often than not, but she had to give up. The temperature was 52°F (11°C) so I had my first walk of the year with no thermal leggings, wearing my spring hoodie. 🙂 I am going to miss living by the sea very much.

30 thoughts on “a day to remember”

    1. I’m sure I will find some other kinds of nature art down south in North Carolina for you, Leelah. 🙂

  1. I’ve always loved your pictures of birds and flowers and the walks along the beach and I look forward to seeing the new area through your eyes

    1. Thank you, Rosie. It’s so nice to know you appreciate my little offerings to the blogging world. It will be fun doing the same thing in a new world.

      1. Thank you, Endless Weekend! I’m not so familiar with e. e. cummings and feel inclined to look into more of his poetry now.

  2. Well Barbara this is a great way to preserve memories – on your blog. I know you will make some great memories in the Carolinas. You can always visit the ocean there.

    1. The ocean is 4-5 hours away by car from our new home, a bit too far for me, but we’ll see… In some ways, looking at the pictures in my old posts is like flipping through old photo albums and reminiscing…

  3. I do not envy you being torn between a place you love and desire to be close to family, Barbara. A very tough choice! Enjoy these last outings, when is your move date? I will miss your sea postings!

    1. It’s been a tough choice, a couple of years in the making. I want to go AND I don’t want to leave. Every place we visit now and everything we do feels bittersweet. We don’t have an exact moving date yet, but we plan to list our place near the end of May.

  4. I absolutely love seeing the variety of your favorites. It is a great idea to post this! Of course you will miss your hometown, but the places you will go… adventures ahead to look forward to!

    Too much surprise for me there is a small mourning dove who is already feeding her single chick! I couldn’t tell what breakfast was, but dad was near by protecting them from other mourning doves who seemed to be predators. Also watch the crows collecting small twigs to build their homes all in the comforts of my front porch.

    I hope your house sells fast because I can barely wait to see your new adventures! Will you two be living with your daughter’s family?

    1. I like your new avatar, TD! It is a baffling mix of emotions, being so excited to make this move yet knowing what I’ll be missing. There are grandchildren and nature adventures awaiting me. 🙂

      I envy you getting to see the mother mourning dove feeding her chick! They are such beautiful birds, even if they can get aggresive and argumentative at times. Most of the time I see them as gentle and sweet. I’m glad nature has found a way to your front porch to give you some hours of pleasure.

      Yes, we will be staying with Larisa and her family until we can find a place of our own. I am very grateful for a safe and loving landing place for that in-between time period. We’re very lucky.

  5. Barbara, I’m glad you’re savoring the beauty in your area before you move! That sparrow is a cutie, especially with his mouth wide open in song, and the swan is so majestic. Such a pretty day you had for enjoying the outdoors. We’ve been having awfully high winds lately, making even the relative warmth disappear. But the calendar says Spring, so we’ll see it one day!

    1. That wind chill factor is definitely a force to be reckoned with, competing with the sun’s warmth. I always check the “real feel” temperature before heading outside in the spring to see whether I should wear my hoodie or my winter jacket. Hearing the song sparrow sing so sweetly gave me hope that spring is around the corner, some day soon for both of us, Debbie!

  6. So love the Song Sparrow greeted you on your visit, another wonderful fond memory to take with you! Great bird shots as well. Psst….your ‘female mallard’ looks to be a male American Black Duck nonbreeding. I love your beach, it is gorgeous, I can see why you will miss it! You will have wonderful memories!!

    1. Thank you, Donna!!! You have such a good eye ~ to think, I was photographing a new lifer and I had no clue! I looked up American Black Duck on All About Birds and it showed a female mallard as a “similar species.” I’m going to edit my post, thanks so much! I’m so glad to know that song sparrows live in North Carolina, too. 🙂

  7. What a beautiful, albeit bittersweet, walk you had Barbara. A beautiful nature spot you went to, chock full of birds on this day. The Song Sparrow certainly was sweet. The Mute Swans always amaze me how big they are out of the water with those sturdy legs and big webbed feet. Arnie, the older gentleman at the Park pointed out a pair of American Black Ducks to me one morning – luckily I had my camera on me. They were paddling around, then came up the grassy slope to see us. I felt lucky to see them and take photos. What a tough decision you made and I am sure you and Tim wrestled over it for a while, but the end result will be great, especially during all the holiday seasons.

    1. The park was chock full of birds to delight the eyes and the ears. Songbirds were singing and ducks and geese were quacking and honking. It’s a great time of year before the bugs start humming and buzzing. 🙂 At first I identified the black duck as a female mallard but Donna set me straight and I went back and edited the post. According to All About Birds it is a common mistake. I wonder how many times I might have seen black ducks without knowing it? You were lucky to have yours come out of the water to see you, what a treat! I am looking forward to being so close to family for the holidays, although I will be missing my sister terribly. One can’t have everything in this life.

      1. I would enjoy that walk – it was just right up my alley Barbara. I like when I walk and hear the cacophony of every feathered friend making noise. The ducks quacking are loud if there are enough of them, geese, now the Red-winged Blackbird has returned, it is all magical isn’t it. I hope your sister will go to visit – try to lure her there after you are settled in and she retires.

        I miss Arnie, the older gentleman who pointed out things I did not know about … Spring Beauties wildflowers, a Mockingbird and once these American Black Ducks. We saw them splashing around, but this time they came up the Creek bank. I will put the link in another comment in case it goes to SPAM … the four photos of the black ducks (female as males bills are yellow) are right up at the top. This was the last time I walked, then the Park closed for a month due to Covid. I used to sneak down there three times a week to feed the critters. It closed because people were sitting together under the pavilion closer than six feet apart so they took away the picnic tables and closed the Park.

        1. It is so magical! The bird songs in the spring and the leaf colors in the fall… I understand how much you miss Arnie — I miss taking walks with my father for the same reason. Found your link and am off to see it now. 🙂

          1. Yes, the bird song is beautiful. It was getting drowned out by the screeching seagulls. I didn’t walk this morning at the Park – they had called for late morning storms, so I wasn’t taking a chance even though the sun was shining. Late morning severe weather arrived at 11:50, so I would have been home by then. I like the Robin’s song -there are a lot of Robins and their melody carries throughout the Park. Yes, he was great to chat with as he appreciated nature – his wife didn’t walk too much as she had back problems. He told me when they married, their honeymoon was spent hiking and sleeping outside for two weeks. It was a while ago as he was in his early 80s.

          2. Sorry to hear you missed your morning walk. The weather has not been cooperating with your plans much lately! We might go for a walk this morning. We’ve been taking fewer walks lately, staying home packing, but it starts to affect my sense of well being when I don’t get outside and move around. Yoga helps, but I need both.

          3. Yes, try and get out while Spring is in the air. I didn’t go out until noon and just to the Park. There were two fatal crashes this morning because all that rain from yesterday froze over and became a slippery mess. It was nice when I finally went out, though I prefer a morning walk. I have not been racking up too many miles – hopefully it gets better but we have a few more rainy days this week.

  8. I like the wading herring gull but the American black duck calls to me, too. Both look like they know what is what. And apparently that’s what I want to see in wild birds. Great photos

    1. Thank you, Ally. They were just going about their business as usual, masters of a world that makes sense to them, but endlessly fascinating to the strange beings who come to gawk at them. 🙂

  9. I know you will miss the Connecticut shore, but know and Tim will find lovely places to walk in and enjoy. Please keep your wonderful blog going and share the wonders you find and capture on film. Love to you and Tim, Liz

    1. Thank you, Liz. It’s amazing how excited and happy we are to be moving, how overwhelmed we are with the logistics, and knowing how much we will be missing our roots here. Very mixed emotions! I do intend to keep the blog going. 🙂 Lots of love to you, too, from both of us. ♡

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