Saturday, January 12, 2013

A quick Chat in Burlington, wandering through foggy woods in Natick

I woke up this morning with the goal of expanding my year list as my quest for a Massachusetts big year continues. Earlier in the week I had added species #45 to my list with a White-throated Sparrow art Newton City Hall and yesterday on my lunch break I got #46 when I came across a flock of boisterous House Finches in the Boston Public Garden. Today I decided to try and make another attempt at seeing the Yellow-breasted Chat which has been hanging out in some woods beside the Kohl's store in Burlington, MA. My efforts to see it last week were not successful, although I did get a great look at a Cooper's Hawk while checking out the area.

I arrived in Burlington around mid-day and immediately began a close inspection of the brush and trees beside the parking lot. As I was looking around I noticed someone else with binoculars who was motioning toward the trees, so I went over and said hello. "You just missed him," the guy said, "he was right there." I felt a moment of disappointment, but based on what I've been reading online this particular bird has been hanging around the area for a while, so I thought there was a good chance it would pop into view again. As the other birder and I scanned the trees he suddenly motioned again and pointed out exactly where the Chat was sitting - I got an excellent look at it sitting there, a beautiful bird with striking yellow coloration, especially against a gray and foggy sky. While I was there I also spotted a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree and an accipeter flew over, likely a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but too high up to tell for sure.

Snow blankets a field at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, Massachusetts on a foggy, damp January day. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

My next stop was a decidedly less busy place than a mall parking lot - Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, Massachusetts. I felt like I wanted to get out and stretch my legs, and in the past this has been a great place to see a range of species, from raptors to ducks, herons and songbirds. I was hoping I might be able to add Red-bellied Woodpecker and possibly American Wigeon to my year list (two species I saw there in late December) but no such luck. I did, however, enjoy a good three hour ramble through the woods and wetlands, enjoying the stillness of a world shrouded in fog. I also counted 15 species, including a Brown Creeper, several White-Throated and Tree Sparrows, multiple Red-Breasted Nuthatches, American Goldfinch and other common winter birds. There were also plenty of Mallards to be found in little open spots where the ice had melted.

Despite the chilly, damp weather the woods were very peaceful, the stillness broken by occasional birdsong to keep me company.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013

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