Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Owned by birds

I visited a place today that is owned by birds. Really!

I needed to do something different today. I haven't walked along the moving water for a while, and at first I thought I'd head for the New Hampshire coast. But different had an appeal of its own; it was time to consult a map. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge jumped out and insisted that I visit. The wildlife refuge resides on the southern three-quarters of Plum Island, a barrier island near Newburyport, Massachusetts.

And yes, it is owned by the birds. From the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge brochure:

"Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1942 primarily to provide feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds."
It has an Atlantic Ocean-facing beach that is closed from April 1st through at least July and sometimes into August. Why?
" To provide undisturbed nesting and feeding habitat for the piping plover."
Much of the refuge is protected, off-limits to human presence. I walked the Hellcat Interpretive Trail, a boardwalk to sand dunes and through a marsh. It was beautiful, even though the marsh was still decorated with the remnants of last year's plants, dried and brown. I can't wait to see it again, next time hopefully when the marsh is clad in green.

More photos can be seen in my Parker River gallery.