Sunday, June 2, 2013

Up close with the herons and a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher brings my current big year total to 160 species

A Great Blue Heron stalks the marsh at Great Meadows national wildlife refuge in Concord, Massachusetts. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

Despite the uncomfortable heat and humidity I felt compelled to get outside this morning and continue my New England birding big year effort. So this morning I brought along plenty of water and sunscreen and sweated my way through a long 2 1/2 hour walk at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Massachusetts. Most of the birds didn't seem to mind the weather at all, and there was a lot of activity to observe, from vociferous Yellow Warblers to an Osprey hunting high above the impoundment to Song Sparrows picking caterpillars and other bugs from leafy treetops. The sky overhead was clear and bright and sunlight reflected off the water all around me, making it hard to see some of the ore distant birds, but I did get to see a number of brightly-colored male Red-winged Blackbirds and Great Blue Herons fishing in the shallows.

A great Blue Heron balances atop a tilted bird box at Great Meadows NWR. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
As the day heated up I made my along the dyke path and then turned left, following the river toward a small pond I have visited before. It was along this path that bird number 160 showed up - a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, moving quickly from branch to branch, stopping only momentarily before taking flight again. There were also lots of great plants and wildflowers blooming all over the place.

These daisies were growing wild at Great Meadows NWR. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
When it comes to plant ID I have to admit I know very little - if any gardeners or plant enthusiasts out there can help ID the plants in the images below I would love to hear from you.

I thought this might be some kind of Milkweed, but I'm not really sure. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.
I found these flowers growing in a strip of woods between the river and the main trail at Great Meadows NWR. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

Thanks for reading.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Dan, great blog. It's got a great quality about it. I'm a financial advisor/naturalist writer from Amherst, NH. I've been writing about the outdoors for years. I love how your descriptions show both technical proficiency, enthusiasm and the human element.
    The flowers above are Daisy Fleabane (what you called daisies), either common or purple milkweed (hard to say from the picture) and ragged robin (the purplish/pink flower). Great photos, by the way. Good luck with your Big Year!