Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A spring morning in the Boston Public Garden

A Canada Goose paddles into the shade of a Willow Tree at the Boston Public Garden. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
Late this morning I managed to get outside for a short visit to the Boston Public Garden, which is truly one of the more beautiful urban green spots I have encountered in the city. Over the last few months I have seen a number of different species of birds here, including House Finches, a Red-tailed Hawk, Blue Jays, Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles. Throughout the winter a group of apparently resident Mallards also hung around (joined by one all-white Pekin Duck) swimming in open water when it was available and huddling at the edges of the ice when the temperatures dropped. I'm guessing that the Public Garden is a good migrant trap, but I haven;t had the opportunity yet to spend any time there with binoculars. On my visit today I saw many of the expected birds, including Canada Geese, Mallard, Rock Pigeon, Common Grackle and American Robin.

A male and female mallard on the pond at the Boston Public Garden. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
Many of the birds seemed engaged in normal springtime activities, including a House Sparrow and an American Robin, each of which were gathering nesting material. I was a little surprised, though, to see the first Mallard ducklings I've encountered this season, swimming eagerly near a female I presumed was their mother.

A female Mallard and one of her ducklings swim near the shore of the pond in the Boston Public Garden.
Today was also the day that the two mute swans which spend the winter at the Franklin Park Zoo were returned to their summer home on the public garden pond. In general I am not a fan of Mute Swans in North America - they have escaped from captivity and now breed in many places where they don't belong, displacing native birds and behaving aggressively, but for these two I will make an exception, since I'm guessing their wings are clipped and they're not really being released into the wild. The release of the swans was preceded by much pomp and circumstance, including a parade with marching band refreshments provided by the Four Seasons Hotel and a proclamation by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. It was quite a sight !

The swans swam easily out onto the pond as a few Mallards and Canada Geese cruised by them. Neither party seemed to take much notice of the other and the swans swam around the edge of the man-made pool, seeming comfortably at home. After they glided out of view I walked around the garden a little while longer, looking at the flowering trees and shrubs and keeping an eye our for birds. It was definitely a nice break from work.

Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

Flowers, trees and shrubs were in bloom across the Boston Public Garden today as Mallard ducklings followed their parents around the pond and tourists waited eagerly to see the return of the resident swans. image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

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