Friday, July 10, 2015

Georges Island and Fort Warren, Boston

Breck and I recently made a trip to Boston to attend our son's graduation. Though he and his wife have been in Boston for 3 years it was my first visit.  We spent a lot of the time there seeing the sights and learning the history of the city with the friends and family that joined us.

One day we took a ferry from the harbor to the 28 square mile Georges Island in the bay.  

My husband loves a fort and this one was no exception.  Construction on Fort Warren began in 1833 and served as a prison for captured Confederate Army and Navy personnel as well as a defense for Boston Harbor.  It was used through World War II and decommissioned in the 1950's.

The entrance to the fort is called the sallyport and back in the day had a drawbridge.
The outer walls of the fort are 8 feet thick and made of granite.

View from the Bastion above the bakery looking over the grounds
View from the same Bastion looking back toward Boston
Here I parted ways with the group.  I got distracted by these birds in the shrubs that grow along the top of the Bastion.

Gray Catbird
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch
Barn Swallows
I came to a clearing in the brush and with great surprise saw a fog bank was moving from the open ocean toward the island.

View of Lovells Island
It came in so quickly and was very heavy.  In a span of less than 5 minutes the weather changed from cloudless blue skies to being a fog so thick you could not see the ocean just yards away.

Though I did not catch up with the tour, I wandered off the wall through a stairwell, down to the parade grounds and into the rooms below.

There are arches everywhere to hold up the massive weight of the dirt, granite, brick, and mortar.

Battery Plunkett
This was an extremely large area that had been used as an indoor drill hall, a powder magazine, and storage area for wagons and gun cartridges.

During World War II it was used as a movie theater to entertain the troops stationed on the island.

I am not sure what these rooms were.  I'm sure the guide I bailed on could have told me.  Offices?  Officer's Quarters?

The fog moved quickly and was beginning to clear when I made my way back out to the parade grounds.

There were more birds here flying in and out of the grasses and dipping into the well for bugs.

Barn Swallow
European Starling pruning himself

I rejoined my group and we headed out of the fort to explore more of the island.

Path through the coverface around the fort to the beach
Yep.  More birds.

Canadian Geese and their goslings
Mama Killdeer sitting on her eggs.
Ring-billed Gull hunting in the foreground  with a Herring Gull behind
Watching the gulls was a treat.  The Ring-billed gull picked up rocks with its bill looking for goodies to no avail as the Herring gull came in behind and snagged a crab from the water.

Herring Gull catching crab
The two gulls are very similar in their color, but the Herring Gull is stockier and has a red dot on its lower bill, whereas the Ring-billed Gull and a black ring around the end of its bill.  

I could have spent another 2 hours here exploring the beach and more of the fort inside and out.

Brick from the fort loose on the shore
Wreckage of a pier?
As quickly as it rolled in, the fog rolled out clearing our view back toward Boston.

Gallops Island to the right and Long Island on the left
But there were more things to see back in town so we gathered for the incoming ferry with a now perfectly clear view.

One of many adventures we had on this trip.