Plum Island is one of my most favorite places to go. It means a lot more to me than a nice place to go birding. Plum Island helped shape who I am today. I grew up in the city in a small lot surrounded by commercial properties. I think so many people take so much for granted, like the value of trees.
Some how in such an ugly place I still was able to find the beauty in the life that shared our space on Chatham St in Lynn thanks to my beloved mother Marie Anne. I would set up bird baths for the sparrows and feeders for the starlings, not knowing they were "invasive species" Luck was an occasional blue jay or two. I would spend a lot of time watching them and reading my bird books dreaming of birds like Bald Eagles and Great Gray Owls. One time at 12 years old I found an American Avocet at Plum Island with my Mom's Dad's WWII binos. But I couldn't be sure. I wanted to share. So I asked a birder if he could verify with his scope, he was rude and blew me off. After getting up the courage from Mom's prompting, I asked another man. He was much nicer and happy to look. In return he was rewarded with what I believe was one of the first sitings of an American Avocet at Plum Island. The next week we went back and the place was packed! I'll never forget how rude that man was to a little girl, I vowed never to be like that man.
No matter how bad things were, how little money we had, my mother and the other special lady/hero in my life, my grandmother Eileen who is still alive at 96, would find ways to take me to Plum Island and other places along the Ipswich River. The Audubon Sanctuary in Ipswich, Willowdale State Forest or Bradley Palmer were also among our favorites. Mom even had the nerve to take me to Myopia Hunt club in our clunker Impala to watch the polo matches because I loved horses so. Even if she wasn't sure the car would make it she would go for it anyways. She always held her head up even among some of the richest people in this area. Imagine us at Myopia! She was a strong woman but lost her battle against asbestos cancer.
The Point is there is not a time I go to Plum Island, Essex County, the Ipswich River, Maine etc. that I do not think of her. My Mom is my forever hero and her spirit lives on in my heart, in the trees, the clouds, the birds. This site, not just this gallery, is dedicated to her for sharing her love of nature and nurturing mine. She showed me the important things in life and that nature's beauty is all around us. Enjoy it whenever and however you can! I hope this site, a work in progress, accomplishes just that for many.