On a perfect, sunny, dry, tick-filled day, I explored the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, an Audubon property chock full of birds, birdwatchers, bridges, and beavers. You had to walk quietly and really look though. Animals weren’t exactly basking in the sun, craving human observation. They hid around every lone reed . . . standing tall, waving boldly–sorry, You’ve Got Mail diversion. It was easy to feel like John James Audubon himself, except that I’m not a male and I have close to no bird identification abilities. I’m good with sparrows, mockingbirds, crows, mourning doves, robins, nuthatches, and probably couldn’t mistake an eagle if one landed on me, but that’s about it. Thus, a duck:
A volunteer at the visitor’s center told me late afternoon was not prime time for beavers that come out at dusk. But every time I lingered on a wooden bridge, a beaver came gliding by, darting into a narrow clearing in the weeds and heading for a dam, a virtual rush hour of beavers heading home. Turtles sunned themselves on logs, and herons stretched their wings in flight, casting enormous shadows. And just as I emerged from the path into a small section of woods at the end of the day, four deer crossed just in front of me, a meadow of sweet grass in view. I held my breath as they crossed; perhaps they held theirs too.