Surprise Along the Trail

Along the Blackstone Bikeway

Along the Blackstone Bikeway

Yesterday was overcast, threatening rain, but we ventured out with raincoats at the ready in case we encountered downpours. Because of the weather, we stayed close to home rather than drive a long ways, only to find ourselves rained out.

The Blackstone River Bikeway is only a few miles away, just over the border into Rhode Island. I particularly enjoy seeing the river as we ride. Oftentimes the Blackstone Canal is directly next to the trail, the river on the other side of the bike path. I have fun trying to figure out where the original tow path was. As we ride I wonder what parts  of the tow path are preserved underneath the tarmac of the present-day bike path, and where the trail planners moved the pavement to better accommodate bike traffic.

When we come to scenic spots we stop to look around and enjoy the view. We always look for wildlife along the way, birds being the most common form of wildlife we encounter. We stopped at Pratt Dam in Cumberland, and immediately noticed several birds just below the dam, perched on an overhanging branch. One after the other, the birds hovered, swooped about like swallows, then landed back on their perch. Some moved to the far side of the dam, but they continued their hunting behavior long enough for us to get some pretty good looks at them. This was a bird I’d never seen before–crest, buff color, interesting line of yellow on the tips of their tails–cedar waxwing?

Cedar waxwing perched above the river, near Pratt Dam in Cumberland, RI

Cedar waxwing perched above the river, near Pratt Dam in Cumberland, RI

Once home I found that these were, indeed cedar waxwings. I thought they ate only berries, but reading more, I found that they also do exactly what we’d seen, hover over water and hunt for insects. What a treat. I will always associate these birds with where I saw them first–along the Blackstone River bikeway in Cumberland, RI.

Marjorie Turner Hollman

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

2 responses to “Surprise Along the Trail

  1. Cindy Koether

    I have also seen them only once, years ago. They were in a flock making a lot of noise in a big tree. I think it was in eastern TN.

    • marjorie561

      Interest, Cindy–these cedar waxwings were very quiet–I think they had too many bugs in their mouths to say much 🙂

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