I had the occasion to drive down through the central section of Connecticut today. (And what is it about the Connecticut Valley? Somehow the towns do ‘lonely, down at the heel’ with astonishing ease, more so because you know there are So many people and yet….) It is mostly flat, and would like to be mile upon mile of Red and Silver Maple swamps, with the odd oak hillock. It is rich land of deep soil and slow rivers, but because of that richness it grows back to woodland with a speed that borders on the uneasy. Made more uneasy because the trees that are hard along the highway are mostly the ‘junk’ trees, the urban survivors, locust, ash, bittersweet, tree of heaven, Norway maple, barberry, rose, Russian olive, poison ivy; they grow and grow well. It is an odd strip of land.
It also happens to be raptor city in the winter. No less than seven hawks seen in less than fifteen miles, solemnly perched on their lightpoles or roadside trees, forever hunting the margins. And one big raven circling an old train yard. It wasn’t like I was exactly trying to count them either! Mostly red tails, but I think there were one or two others, at least one that read as a slate grey back so I don’t know what he was. A little hard to tell on size and color, they were all fluffed out to deal with the cold.