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Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts
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The Urban Pantheist [userpic]

In case you didn't know: cottonmanifesto and I host nature walks in the city, and produce a zine documenting those walks. Of course, so far we have only done them in Boston, but we will lead walks in other cities in the future. If you want to get updates on this group, join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/urbannaturewalk/
If this is inappropriate for this community, please delete it and accept my apologies.

Urban Nature Walk Spring Update

Happy Spring, Nature Lovers!
I hope this update finds everyone well, and I hope you are all enjoying some outdoor time. Speaking from Boston, I can say that this spring feels well-earned, and even though this morning it's a crisp 35 degrees. The sun is shining brightly, and we're finally getting to see the color green again. I'd love it if members of this list would report what they are seeing in their little corner of the world.

I'll start: The last parts of the Muddy River have thawed--Jamaica Pond and Ward's Pond were snow-covered holdouts right through toward the end of March. We have seen basking turtles (mostly painted turtles, but at least one slider--a released pet, no doubt), and some common carp moving about the warm shallows. Three times we have seen bats on our walks, one in bright daylight--the photograph should be online later today, I believe. I saw a single black and white warbler a few weeks ago, a very early vanguard of the warbler migration that should start in earnest any minute now. We've seen a few cormorants, many common grackles and one black-crowned night heron. Breeding behavior of American robins is manifesting as elaborate singing, while Canada geese manifest their pair bonding by becoming extremely aggressive (even toward certain known goose-killing pit bulls). Trees are bearing buds and some are flowering: showy magnolias and less-showy maples (which I may be allergic to, I'm sad to say). Grasses are other ground-cover plants are sprouting, as well as big fronds of skunk cabbage.

And that (undoubtedly I've forgotten vital details that Alexis will fill in) is the Muddy River, Massachusetts account.

Non-Boston people bear with me. I want to get to where you are and lead some walks, but travel opportunities are limited. Please let us all know what's happening where you are. The following stuff is Boston-specific.

I have two Urban Nature Walk outings in mind, not quite set to dates yet. One would be a birder's special, an early morning walk around the Mount Auburn Cemetery, with warblers in mind. I wouldn't be planning a zine to follow this walk, it's just for the joy of seeing these birds as they pass through, and to brush up forever re-rusting birding skills.
The other walk would be in the Mystic River Reservation. I have it planned this far: The group meets near Wellington Station (on Orange Line) and works its way toward the Reservation. There are obstacles--highways and such--that I'll have to figure out how to navigate before we go. My goal is to work our way to Somerville, which I commonly refer to as the most densely populated city in the country, and make some nature observations there. It looks like a long walk on the map, but I'm excited to walk the Mystic River.

Dates, as I said, are yet to be worked out. I'd love to do the warbler walk on a weekday, but I know this isn't possible for most people. I'm thinking of the first Wednesday in May (Wednesday warbler walk!) I've been considering planning the walks to fall more or less at regular times during the year: I'd like to have events happen around the times of the Solstices and Equinoxes, and the times exactly in between. These times happen to fall on "minor" holidays (no coincidence, as you know if you celebrate pre-Christian holidays): Groundhog day, May day, My birthday (August 1st), and Halloween. (If you aren't interested celebrating my birthday, you could celebrate it as Jerry Garcia day or Chuck D day.)

I'm collecting feedback on dates and times--if you are especially interested in one of the next walks, let me know what works best.
Enjoy the Spring, everyone, and I'll update again soon, when I know more.

pardon my cross-posting!