Monday, February 05, 2007

Weather and Animal Report on the Charles River

Bob La Trémouille reports:

We are now getting the cold, but we still have not seen a real snowstorm.

Last night we had single digits and have had very cold weather for perhaps two weeks.

Most of the Charles River has frozen over, but not next to the Goose Meadow just east of the BU Bridge in Cambridge, MA, USA. The difference certainly looks like the Grand Junction railroad bridge, probably current action. The Grand Junction railroad passes through the goose habitat just east of the goose meadow. It then crosses the Charles River over this railroad bridge that, in turn, travels below the much more visible BU Bridge connecting highways on the Boston and Cambridge sides of the Charles River.

The water has never frozen under the bridge and down river (east) for at least the first two supports going south from the goose meadow.

In the morning, the Charles River White Geese can be seen in the water on the east side of the supports and pretty much spread out in the free water area.

In the afternoon, most of the gaggle can be seen on dry land in the goose meadow. Other water fowl can be seen either in the free water or on the ice to the west of the supports. The free water spreads west of the supports at the meadow, extending perhaps half the way.

During this cold snap, I have never seen the Charles River White Ducks in the water or in the meadow. I have seen them on the ice next to the free water which is next to the meadow. Commonly, there would be Canadas near the White Ducks. Very frequently, there would be Mallard Ducks in the water next to the White Ducks.

I have had nights in the past when I have come to visit the Charles River White Geese in the goose meadow as early as 3 am. In these days of extreme cold, they will sleep rolled up in their down jackets. Around 4 or so somebody will get up and sound a call, and groups will start wandering, either on the water or across the on ramp to the grass under the Memorial Drive bridge.

In recent months, the gaggle has been scared away from Magazine Beach. It could be because of nasty behavior not yet explained. It could be because they sense the soon to come destruction there.

The Charles River White Ducks are spending their first winter in freedom. I know that I have seen the Charles River Urban Wilds Initiative walk to the shore line to toss contributed veggies to Andrake and Daffney. That could be the reason for their remaining in the location where I have seen them. They would be staying out of the water from concern for getting frozen in.

It is smart for the water fowl to stay out of the water overnight. That is when the water is most likely to freeze. It has not yet frozen and if it does not freeze overnight, it is less likely to freeze during the day, but very clearly possible. This a very cold period.

This extreme cold is slated to last the rest of the week, at least. It is very unlikely that the free water will continue.

We will see.