Dead Man's Swamp is about a 500 acre area that is situated along the Connecticut River in Cromwell. It used to be the favorite birding patch for a local birder named Dave. He was known for his great skill in finding birds by ear. He could not only identify a species by its song but also the key it was singing in and its date of birth.He insisted on carrying around cheap, beat up binoculars while every other birder felt the need for Swarovski or Leicas.
I'm not sure why the area is called Dead Man's Swamp. I heard one story that many years ago a couple of hobos tried to hitch a ride on the nearby train bordering the swamp. One of them had his hand severed at the wrist as he was reaching out to grab a bottle of whiskey from his traveling companion. He then fell off the train and into the swamp. The hand was supposedly found in the swamp still holding on to that bottle of whiskey but the rest of the body was never recovered.
There have been stories that people have seen a shadowy figure wandering the fields. It is supposedly the ghost of the victim searching for his lost hand. I couldn't find any evidence of any truth to this story on google so it's probably just a local campfire tale. I'm not about running into the ghost but the place is heavily hunted and I don't like the thought of being pelted with bird shot.
It seems like every time I go to the Cromwell side of the river I see something interesting across the river in Portland. The last time I was here there were White-winged Scoters on the opposite side. This time it was a pair of adult Bald Eagles. If you look closely you may be able to see them on a platform which is mounted on top of a very tall pole.I took a ride across the river to get a closer look. It seems they were still there waiting for me to return to my hometown.