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!
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 →
On Monday, when Boston’s current heat wave was in its infancy, we took a ferry from Long Wharf to Spectacle Island, one of the many Boston Harbor Islands. Spectacle Island has gracefully taken Boston’s garbage and, recently, much of the dirt from the Big Dig. The flora is now re-establishing itself. The island features a visitor center, a sea kayak program, and a small swimming beach.
It’s been a rainy June. Boston averages around three and a half inches of rain in June and we have had over ten inches of rain with more to come.
The Muddy River is starting to overflow its banks. I stopped at Willow Pond in Olmsted Park to watch a family of red-winged blackbirds. The male with its red wing-patch (partially covered in the photo below) is the most easily recognizable.
The female looks like a large sparrow with a white, streaked breast.
And I saw a juvenile in the same tree as a female.
Jef led us on a walk along the banks of the Muddy River on a sunny, seasonal spring day. We first stopped to view some outdoor sculpture as part of the Through the Trees exhibition by studios without walls.
With snow on the ground and a chill in the air, Saturday did not feel like spring. But the birds at the Arnold Arboretum were singing their spring songs. We found large concentrations of birds near the Visitor Center and around Faxon Pond.
The red-winged blackbirds, all males as far as we could tell, were singing loudly. Common grackles, another sign of spring, checked us out with those freakishly white eyes of theirs.