Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Final 2012 Outing to Broadmoor

The woods and fields were frosted this morning, covered with a few inches of powdery snow, as I walked along the trails at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, Massachusetts.  Above me, the sky was a soft gray and the sun, a round, bright smudge masked by cloud, back-lit the entire landscape in muted metallic tones of silver and white.  Near the nature center I spent time standing quietly, watching the activity around the bird feeders. The usual suspects were present, along with a beautiful Red-bellied Woodpecker who made repeated visits to pick up sunflower seeds. I watched this bird for a while and it appeared to be caching the seeds in the bark of a tree, something quite common for nuthatches, but which I had never seen a Red-bellied Woodpecker do before. A little searching online revealed that this is in fact a behavior which the Red-bellied shares with other woodpeckers in the same genus, which was interesting to learn.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker inspects the bark of a tree at the Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, Massachusetts. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.
In addition to the Red-bellied Woodpecker I also spotted a male Downy Woodpecker, several American Goldfinches, Red-Breasted Nuthatch and both Song and American Tree Sparrow.

A Red-breasted nuthatch forages on a tree at Broadmoor in Nartick, Massachusetts. These comical little birds often join mixed foraging flocks in the winter and can be seen moving through the forest canopy (and at feeders) with chickadees, titmice and other small birds. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson,
As I moved away from the nature center the forest became quieter, but there was still plenty to see. Most of the wetlands along the boardwalk were frozen, although in the center I could see a little open water. There were no ducks to be found, and the resident swans were nowhere in sight. 

Later the sun came out, electrifying the snow-covered trees and bringing a little warmth to an otherwise chilly afternoon. In all, I counted 16 species of birds and was happy to get a few photographs of species I haven't captured on (digital) film before. It was a nice day to be outside.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2012.

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