Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Soggy Nature



Though it was raining hard Saturday, I was determined to get out and do some nature viewing. It's been a little while since we've been to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. We cut through Holyoke to get there and on the way, we made a pit stop at a little park area overlooking a hillside that looked like it had a potentially good view.





It's the small Patrick Henry McNulty Park. It's located directly across the street from the Stop & Shop supermarket on Lincoln Street (Route 202). The park was in fact created by the supermarket and the local Kiwanis club. Two nicely built, concrete-walled viewing areas with benches sit at the edged of the overlook.



It must have been impressive spot when it was created, with a view of the Connecticut river and South Hadley beyond. Unfortunately though, the trees had been allowed to grow in, and now there isn't much to see at all. I did manage to get a peek of the view-that-once-was, through a break in the trees...



It's too bad the view is so obscured now. Like most forgotten public spaces, the small park has since been commandeered for other uses.









We continued through Holyoke, and included Mt. Tom State Park on our route. The fog was hanging low over woods and water here, and the cattails were like sponges on sticks.







Moving on, we finally got to Arcadia. First stop was the meadow with the nesting boxes where Tree Swallows and Bluebirds usually make their seasonal homes in the spring and summer.



It looks like they're gone for the year, and in their place are a couple of these guys...



I'm not sure what they are, and I couldn't get any closer for a better look. They appear to be grey on the top of the head, the back, and wings, with orange-brown chests and whitish bellies, and the head might have a titmouse type of flare on the back...



On a sunnier day the bird's appearance might have presented itself more plainly. But today the trees, and everything, were dripping with moisture on a surprisingly warm November day.



The fog was dispersing but still hanging pretty steadily above the water.



We found the lookout standing tall and waiting for us.



On and over the relatively high water, we could see very active ducks and geese swimming together on the other side...



We completed our loop along the main forest trail, and headed back to the car. Before leaving the area though, we turned for a closer look at the Oxbow, which was also riding higher than usual.



All seemed to be grey on grey.



The more rustic shades of nature pretty much completely dominate the landscape now...



Will Saturday's warm breezes and rain be the last ones we have, until next spring..?

7 comments:

Jeffrey Byrnes said...

That little park has always sparked some photographic curiosity for me. I just never seem to find the right time to pull over and walk around.

The landscape photos are very nicely composed.

Tony said...

Thanks Jeffrey. If we could just find someone with a chain saw and an afternoon to spare, that park could be back in business..!

Anonymous said...

That was a soggy bluebird :)

Tony said...

Thanks Anon. Wasn't sure because I thought the blue (or grey in this case) covered more of the head, below the eyes, on Bluebirds...

-C said...

Tony, do they now seasonally close the metal bridge down at Arcadia? I was just there today and it was closed, with jersey barriers firmly staked in at both ends, and 'bridge closed' signs at both ends.

Last time I was here was during flooding season, April-ish, and it was closed then too. But in your pic it seemed open...did I just not catch it all summer when it was open?

Tony said...

They must have just closed it up for the winter again. There are still a couple ways to get to the fields on the other side though, from route 5 and route 10 in Northampton...

NSB said...

I don't remember McNulty park having been created by the supermarket, though they may be involved in its upkeep. I believe the park was designed (along with Prospect Park, Mitchell and Avery, etc.) by Frederick Law Olmsted's architecture firm. If you look at one of the old designs, all of those parks were connected (or that was the plan at least at the time)