Monday, February 18, 2013

A frozen day afield

It was pretty cold out today, but the sky was bright and blue as I continued my pursuit of a New England birding big year. Today I explored the Concord section of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. I had hear from several people that this was a good spot to go birding, and it defintiely looked like it would have great potential in warmer weather - it offers expansive wetlands and  trails that follow the river nearby.

Great Meadows national Wildlife Refuge is a complex of different5 locations offering diverse habitat for birders, photographers and anyone who wants to enjoy nature to explore. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
 With a cold wind blowing forcefully I didn't see much bird activity at first, but after I crossed over the dike in the middle I began to hear birdsong from the trees and soon came across one of several Downy Woodpeckers I would see today.

A male Downy Woodpecker searches for insects along the trunk of a tree at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Massachusetts. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

In addition to the Downy Woodpeckers there were also a number of Song Sparrows and Black-capped Chickadees around, the latter singing quite loudly as they moved from one spot to another in the trees and brush that lined the trail. As I was walking around I stopped to talk with other birders who had decided to brave the cold, and one of them told me about a Marsh Wren that had been seen regularly not farm from the parking lot, so after I completed my circuit along the edge trail I decided to take another look near the first foot bridge. I stood quietly to the side scanning the vegetation and a little section of open water, and it wasn't long before I saw the wren. It looked a little worn, but definitely hardy, and seemed totally unperturbed by my presence. I watched it for a while as it hopped from one place to another, inspecting little sections of vegetation, then disappeared under the bridge only to pop back up again. At one point it came so close I probably could have reached down and picked it up in my hand. With the Marsh Wren, I reached 88 species for the year so far. I think reaching 300 is defintiely going to take some luck and a lot of planning, but I'm hopeful that if I can continue at a good pace, I will have 100 species by March and 200 by the end of May.

I decided to make one more stop before heading home, at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA. I didn't add any new species to my year or life list, but I did see 14 different species, mainly the expected winter birds, but also a very nice Eastern Blue Bird and a few Wild Turkeys. All of this winter birding has me dreaming of summer ...

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

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