We walked the Arboretum yesterday in search of spring activity. Despite the gray skies, birds were in spring mode. We were lucky enough to see our first warbler of the year, a palm warbler, near the beech collection on Bussey Hill. The warbler migration has begun!
American woodcocks, a bird we had never seen, had been spotted in the Fenway Victory Gardens. So, on this sunny spring day, we went looking for them. About 45 minutes into our walk, we saw one fly right by us and land in one of the garden plots. It paced back and forth, bobbing its breast up and down.
I went for a walk as soon as the clouds cleared this afternoon. Judging from the forecast, spring has finally arrived and the plants at the Arboretum are starting to show it. The flower buds of red maples are ready to burst. Snowdrops are the only form of snow left in the area. And crocuses have joined the snowdrops in flower, two weeks later than last year.
Bike czar Nicole Freedman gave her sixth annual report on the state of cycling in Boston in the Great Room at Faneuil Hall this Monday evening. Hundreds of bicyclists and bicycling advocates listened to her describe what Boston has accomplished and what the city proposes to accomplish in the coming years.
Mayor Marty Walsh was billed as attending, but he cancelled for reasons that were not disclosed. City Councillor Ayanna Pressley arrived late. She was the only elected official present.
Mayor Walsh did send a representative, chief of policy Joyce Linehan. Linehan noted that bicyclists made themselves known during the mayoral campaign and the candidates noticed. Advocacy organizations such as Livable Streets Alliance and the Boston Cyclists Union have made a difference in this town.
We have endured a colder-than-normal winter in Boston and so any sign of spring is much celebrated. On March 1, we counted over a hundred American robins near Meadow Road in the Arboretum. While the number might be unusual, robins in and of themselves are not a true sign of spring. Many overwinter in the area.
Today, however, we saw and heard our first male red-winged blackbirds. These birds are a more reliable indicator that winter is waning. Coincidentally, today was the nicest day we have had all year, with balmy temperatures and clear skies. The cold will soon return, but so will more of the red-winged blackbirds, and spring will win out. Continue reading →
Today was one of the nicest days of this new year in Boston: sunny and around 55 °F/12 °C. Even after our mid-winter thaw the last few days, Leverett Pond was mostly frozen and its banks covered in snow. The wood ducks I had seen early in the winter are still around.
Snowy owls have arrived in the New England area en masse this winter. The reason for their southern surge isn’t known, but the population may have exploded following an increase in their favorite prey, the lemming, last summer. Owls are leaving the crowded Arctic to stake out their own territory, finding their way to places such as Boston.
We first attempted to find a snowy owl on Castle Island. While we saw a number of other birds, we did not find an owl. Following e-bird reports of owls at Logan Airport that could be seen from Castle Island, we trained our camera on the edges of the runways. This is what we saw:
I went for a walk in the Arnold Arboretum yesterday to look for birds, my first such walk of the new year. The temperature was above freezing and many had come to sled and cross-country ski. I saw quite a few species near the Visitor Center. Among the birds I saw was this white-throated sparrow, all fluffed up to keep itself warm.
I also saw a couple of Carolina wrens, rustling at the base of the cattails in the meadow and visiting the birdfeeder.