We found ourselves on a trail that parallels the Forge River. Dead low tide produced rivulets of fresh ground water that tricked toward the river. Mark spotted an osprey and a person on the opposite shore with binoculars looking toward the forest edge of the estate.. I heard that a bald eaglewas nesting from an Audubon Newsletter. I had seen an eagle at the Morton Wildlife Refuge a year ago. Sightings are rare. If eagles return to Long Island, as Opsreys have, this is encoruraging. We kept our eyes open.
We came to a trail that was blocked. The sign on the fence said: “Closed. Do not enter.” We knew immediately that the eagle nest was somewhere inside. We obeyed the signs and headed back toward the buildings.
Most of the trail to this point on walk was forested on both sides. However, we encountered changes in scenery as we entered open fields. The fields have been mowed in order to keep them from eventually succeeding back to forest. We enjoyed passing through these light-flooded meadows the variety was a welcome change from continuous tree canopy. Maintenance crews are mowing to keep these open to replicate the farmland 200 years ago. Occasional red cedar trees cast globe-shaped shade on the ground. I love cedar trees because they look like they’ve been sheared into neat pointed shapes.The texture of the bark and dark color of the foliage also attract me. Here on the estate, there are many cedars who for me, qualify as models. The scenes are charming. I felt like I had been taken back to the days when farmers worked with horse and plow.
Along the forest edges there grow massive greenbriar vines. These vines were “planted” by birds to like edge habitat. They eat Greenbriar berries, excrete the seeds along the edge. Greenbriar is not as abundant in forest interiors. These fields once hosted crops like potatoes, hay, straw, and food crops for the staff of this sustainable estate.
One bluebird box has two white-breasted swallows standing on top. The male flew near us close to the ground. Here was another “do not disturb” signal as a male established its territory while setting up a nest.
We exited into the largest field south of the mansion. Mark spotted an eagle in flight. It massive wings are remarkable. Strong, late morning sunshine allowed this bird to ascend on the rising warm air generated by the open field. Its slow wing beats, white head and tail made it unmistakable. Elation is the only word I can think of to describe my feelings.
We passed well preserved and freshly painted outbuildings of the estate. I couldn’t help photographing the caretakers cottage, wood shed, and farm implement shed.
We checked our pants for ticks. None found. Staying on trail helped. I estimate our walk to be about three miles. I’m looking forward to uploading my photos at home to experience this trip all over again.