The squirrel population at Boston Public Garden is quite high. At times, it feels as if there are two per square foot. Since visitors frequently feed the squirrels, they have become bold. When I visited Thursday morning, one came up, grabbed my leg with its paws, and then moved a couple feet away, staring at me. Among all the gray squirrels, though, one stood out.
We walked around Jamaica Pond on Christmas Eve. Our unseasonably warm December weather continued. Boston hit a high of 69° F (about 21° C). Many plants in the area have been behaving as if it were spring. A cherry tree in Jamaica Plain was in full bloom. And a few plants near the boathouse were unfurling new leaves.
Last weekend, as we were birding around Leverett Pond, we noticed a lot of commotion among the birds. Gulls took to the air and Canada geese and mallards walked off the ice into open water, huddling together. Soon afterward, we spotted a large dark bird flying overhead, our first bald eagle sighting in Boston.
Today, we noticed something similar on our walk around Jamaica Pond. This time, we spotted the bald eagle first as it approached the Pond. Then, we noticed that all of the gulls on the Pond had taken off and were flying helter-skelter.
I saw this pair of Lixus weevils yesterday clinging to a plant stalk. They look like anteaters crossed with grasshoppers, only twice as ridiculous. They appear to be black yet covered with an orange or rust-colored powder. They continued to mate as I pointed the camera at them. The lower one, however, would slide around the stalk to hide from me.
After a few cold, cloudy, rainy days, we took advantage of today’s brilliant sunshine to walk through the Arboretum. We spotted a Baltimore oriole nest in the Meadow hanging on a silver maple branch. A female oriole perched next to it and watched us.
I found two eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies (Papilio glaucus) on a mulch bed at the Arboretum last week. They appeared to be basking in the sun. At times, both would shiver their wings. I assumed one of these butterflies was a male and the other female but, judging from the lack of blue chevrons on their hindwings, they both appear to be male.
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!