Take a look at the inside of this bridge. It almost looks like paradise is waiting on the other side.
I spent some time looking at some of the initials and dates carved into the beams. There were dozens to look at. I wonder how many of the couples who carved their names inside a heart are still together? How many of those who carved their initials here are still alive? What were there lives like then as compared to now? C.J. must have been standing almost where I was when he/she carved their initials into this wood 90 years ago.
I spent some time hiking around the trails of Salmon River. I saw nice numbers of Black-capped Chickadees, Carolina Wrens, White-throated Sparrows, an Eastern Bluebird, White-breasted Nuthatches, Dark-eyed Jucos, Northern Cardinals, Northern Mockingbird, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers. The trails were very icy though,so I didn't get too far. I also walked some of the Airline Rail Trail from a parking lot access off of Bull Hill Road.
My wife, Joan, accompanied me for a brief stop at Wethersfield Cove. Joan's favorite method of birding during the winter is birding by car. I wonder why? During our short visit, we were lucky enough to get a nice view of an immature Bald Eagle standing on the ice........
Not for long though. It must have decided that I was a suspicious looking character as it flew off to a distant tree. Those darned immature eagles! Why can't they act their age?
The Black-backed Gulls and Common Mergansers are still having a grand old time at the cove. We saw one Black-backed Gull eating a small fish close to shore. When it noticed we were watching, it put the dead fish back in the water and swam about 10 feet away from it. I don't think the gull wanted us to know he had a fish. It went right back to eating it as soon as we moved away. We also saw a small group of American Crows fighting over a fish.
I also climbed to the top of Great Hill Mountain from the blue trail off of Gadpouch Hill Road in Portland. I passed a young couple on the way up. They let me know that the path was not all that slippery and told me that they had seen Turkey Vultures flying in the area. It's really nice to watch hawks and vultures from a high elevation. It almost makes me wish I had a hang glider so that I could join them.
At the bottom of Great Hill is a pond which shockingly is called Great Hill Pond. I enjoyed seeing a group of 35 Ring-necked Ducks dunking and diving. Thirty-five is the most that I've seen at one time in this pond. The three Hooded Mergansers that I saw there last weekend are also still there. In my immediate neighborhood I noticed a flock of 50+ Common grackles. There were a few Brown-headed Cowbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds in the area as well. Ring-billed Gulls continue to search for scraps of bread in people's yards. The last bird of note that I saw today was this adult Bald Eagle which basically flew over my house. I enjoyed my day of hiking and birding- but it's back to work tomorrow.
This is a video of a Turkey Vulture soaring that I took from the top of Great Hill. Judging by the quality, you would think that it was done by Inspector Clouseau. If you listen closely, you can hear me muttering in frustration as I fail to keep the bird in the frame. I did enjoy the part when the vulture flapped its wings.