Forest Hills Cemetery on a Spring Day

Yesterday was the last in a long streak of sunny and dry days in Boston. I visited Forest Hills Cemetery to see what I could find.

I saw this eastern forktail damselfly resting on a reed at the edge of Lake Hibiscus. Damselflies rest with their wings closed or only slightly open. According to A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts, eastern forktails emerge early in the spring and are very common in this area.

Eastern Forktail Damselfly resting
Eastern Forktail Damselfly

American bullfrogs were lounging on the edges of the water and would disappear with a loud plop as I approached. Bullfrogs can be distinguished from green frogs by the ridge that runs from behind their eye. In bullfrogs, this ridge curves down over their ears.

American bullfrog
American bullfrog

Painted turtles were sunning themselves, one next to the other.

Painted turtles sun themselves on the edge of the pond.
Painted turtles

Red-eared sliders, with the spot of red just behind their eyes, were also out. Sliders can get much larger than painted turtles. For comparison, there is a painted turtle on the very right in the photo below.

Red-eared sliders and a painted turtle sun themselves.
Red-eared sliders and one painted turtle (right)

As I was taking photos of those turtles, I almost failed to notice a monstrous snapping turtle wading toward me, with only its face above water. This turtle was much larger than even the red-eared sliders.

Snapping turtle with only its head above water
Snapping turtle

Another visitor told me that she has seen a man feed this turtle baloney and so it is almost tame. Even so, I decided not to take my chances and gave it some distance.

The kind visitor also pointed me to four baby goslings who were foraging with their protective parents about fifty feet from the water.

Two Canada geese goslings in grass
Canada geese goslings

A double-crested cormorant sunned itself on a rock. Later in the morning, I saw this bird fly laps around the lake. I don’t know if it was looking for another resting spot or for a meal.

Double-crested cormorant sunning itself on a rock
Double-crested cormorant

I walked the avenues and paths of the cemetery looking for birds. Here’s a white-breasted nuthatch in an oak tree.

White-breasted nuthatch in an oak tree
White-breasted nuthatch

The only warbler I found was this yellow-rumped warbler. According to The Daily Bird, the high pressure system in our area has resulted in unfavorable northerly winds for warbler migration.

Yellow-rumped warbler
Yellow-rumped warbler

I saw five chipping sparrows in three different areas and, surprisingly, no house sparrows.

Chipping sparrow
Chipping sparrow

Finally, this pair of brown-headed cowbirds was dawdling behind a flock of starlings. Cowbirds always look so serious.

Male and female cowbird
Cowbirds (male on the left and female on the right)
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