|Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is located west of Boston, Massachusetts and has much to offer for birders looking to see a variety of species. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.|
Since I started this New England birding big year project in January I've spent a lot of time outdoors in cold, snowy, icy conditions, often visiting the coast to look for wintering sea ducks or in forests searching for finches, chickadees and other common New England Birds. While mixed foraging flocks of Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches and other small songbirds can often be quite boisterous as they move through the forest, the noise they make does not compare to the spring chorus just getting underway now. Within a few minutes of starting my walk today my ears were filled with the sounds of Red-winged blackbirds, Common Grackles, Song Sparrows, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Wood Ducks and other birds.
|The presence of this beaver lodge at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is further evidence of the impressive comeback of the Beaver in Massachusetts. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.|
More and more I'm beginning to see spring as a paintbrush, filling in the canvas of the landscape - not only with images, but sounds, smells and sensations. Even animals which I saw throughout the winter are behaving differently now: birds are singing different songs and today the air above the water was filled with the graceful arch and swoop of at least thirty Tree Swallows, catching insects which have also somehow miraculously appeared and I saw several Canada Geese dunk below the water, completely submerging themselves and then popping up again.
I decided to follow one trail a little farther today, and came to a small pond separated from a wetland by a narrow strip of land. Above the pond a Red-tailed Hawk caught the wind as it increased, cutting across the sky and disappearing into the clouds, while on the other side of the path I saw many signs of the presence of beavers, including a large lodge at the far edge of the wetland. It was a beautiful spot, very quiet save for the wind, until I managed to accidentally flush a pair of Wood Ducks which let loose their squeaky call as they took to the air and then vanished again into the cattails. Walking back I came across a male Northern Shoveler and a Hairy Woodpecker. Spring is definitely here.
Thanks for reading.
Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.