Friday, October 19, 2007

The Freedom Trail - Part 1

I've been traveling lately, and have more travels coming up, so posts may continue to be thin for a while. This past week I've been in Boston. I did see a few birds, but was unable to get any good pictures. Most were gulls -- Herring Gulls, I think -- they were really large. I also saw a hawk in the Boston Commons. The bird was no more than 10 feet in front of me and flew up from the ground (and quite startled me, I must admit). At a guess, I would say it was a ubiquitous Red Tail (which, of course, is one of my favorite birds). It was quite an impressive sight!

I had a half-day on Monday, so I took a guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail. I will share my photos by topic, and not necessarily in order. In this post, I will focus on the Granary Burial Ground.

This shot of the burial grounds was taken quite quickly. The area was mostly quite shady, so I was pleasantly surprised by this play on light and shadow, monochrome and color.

It is estimated that 5-6,000 people are buried here, though there are only a couple of thousand stones. And while the locations of the many patriots buried here are known, most of the rest of the graves have lost any connection to the stones set in the ground. Our guide told us that before the buildings which now surround the grounds were built, water would often rush down the site and wash out the grave stones. The care takers would simply collect them and place them somewhere on the grounds. People were often buried one atop the other (usually family members) -- and some were buried vertically to save space.

One of the patriots buried here is James Otis -- the persona taken by our tour guide. Our tour guide had a dry wit, and a lot of great tales to tell about the Patriots and early days of the American Revolution. James Otis, the Patriot, was an orator and lawyer who argued against the "writs of assistance." It was Otis (or so our guide tells us), who actually coined the phrase "Taxation without Representation".

The Granary Burial Ground is the resting place of "more famous people than any other small graveyard in America," according to "The Complete Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail by Charles Bahne. It holds three signers of the Declaration of Independance (John Handcock, Samuel Adams and Robert Paine), 9 governers of Massachusetts, the victims of the so-called Boston Massacre, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Paul Revere.

The patriots have monuments that were erected later in their honor. One such is Paul Revere -- but his original gravestone is also present.

So, there were many sights to see along the trail... I will share more later.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Friday Birdwatching

I took a vacation day on Friday and we made our normal route looking for birds -- now that migration is starting. Right off, we saw a Crested Caracara on a telephone pole. I took several pictures, but none came out well. We went on down Woods Road (our favorite bird haunt), and saw several Egrets, small Herons and Ibises. We also saw a couple of smaller hawks that I was unable to photograph. One, we are pretty certain, was a Cooper's Hawk.

On the pass back, we saw the same Caracara -- on a pole a bit South of where we had "spooked" him before. He's pretty tolerant -- but you can see by the photo to the left that he wasn't too happy being watched.

It wasn't long before he decided to fly -- I did a quick point and shoot (and pray!). I'm amazed (and thrilled) at the results.

Pictures from the Porch

After a really hectic week at work, I was relaxing on the porch and saw this dragonfly on the antenna of my truck. It's covered with spider webs, so I'm not sure if it was eating them or what. It sat there for a long time and let me take several pictures.

And then there was this little lady humming bird, coming by for a snack. She visited our "flower" several times, while I was only sitting a few feet away. She was pretty nervous though.

Here she is at the "flower".