Sunday, June 3, 2012

World's End: Grassland, Sea and Swallows

World's End offers sweeping views of salt marsh, grassland and forest. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

The weather forecast this weekend called for rain, but fortunately the inclement weather held off today and I managed to get down to Hingham, MA with my girlfriend Joanna to explore World's End, a public park managed by the Trustees of Reservation, and since 1996 a part of the Boston Harbor  Islands National Recreation Area. I had heard of this place for a number of years, and done some birding in other spots in Plymouth County, but I had yet to make it to this particular place. While the skies were grey and there was occasional mist and very light rain, the birds were undeterred by the less-than-perfect weather, and we found the large expanses of grassland humming with avian life, including many Tree and Barn Swallows, as well as a Red-winged Blackbirds, including the one in the photo below.

A male Red-winged Blackbird perched in a tree at World's End. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

During our walk I noticed a number of female Red-winged Blackbirds landing in the tall grass, presumably gathering food and feeding young. I also spotted a very brightly colored male Baltimore Oriole perched on a tree limb at the edge of a field, with the salt marsh in the background, as well as a fairly faded Eastern Bluebird. There were also a number of gulls and cormorants passing overhead.

World's End offers a diverse array of plant life for the amateur botanist to admire. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

The land itself has a pretty interesting history, having once been considered as a possible site for both the United Nations and a nuclear power plant. Now the land has been preserved for future generations to explore and enjoy. The easy, rolling pathways also offer a view of the Boston skyline, seen below in the distant fog.

The Boston skyline seen in the distance from World's End in Hingham, MA. Image copyright Daniel E. Lervenson 2012.

I will definitely have to get back to World's End sometime soon - there is great diversity of habitat and the fields and marsh seem very promising. The population of swallows and Red-winged blackbirds seemed particularly healthy, and I suspect that the fields there also support numbers of other species which need large expanses of open grassland, including Bobolinks and Meadowlarks. I was thrilled to see my first Great Egret of the year and the salt marsh and mud flats certainly warrant closer inspection on my next visit. I look forward to returning sometime soon to World's End.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

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