Well, I’m staying in the Valley for the summer, instead of running dune tours on the Cape. If this is what summer will be like in the Valley, bring it on. I knew it was going to be a great hike with my friend Ann when I got this shot of the “Owl Property”, a field across from the UMass stables that Valley Land Fund preserved and then transferred over to Kestrel in the merger. Click on pics to enlarge.
We then went to a Leverett Conservation Area in which Kestrel Land Trust was instrumental in preserving, in hopes to see some wood ducks. It seemed like the water was too low for them? We did get a wonderful show of small (about the size of a nickle) butterflies that Ann later identified as European Skippers. A type of butterfly accidentally brought to North America from Europe in 1910. I like their European name better, The Essex Skipper. It makes them sound more special, less common. We also got a great look at a flicker, a family of tree swallows, and a brown creeper! If that wasn’t enough, on the way home I got this beautiful shot the first hay harvest on a field in Hadley. All in all, a great way to celebrate the coming of summer!