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.
Tag Archives: birds
Snowy Owl at Belle Isle Marsh
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:
Arboretum: Sparrows and Wrens
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.
In Search of a Mandarin Duck
Late Saturday afternoon, we walked around Leverett Pond in Boston’s Olmsted Park, in search of a mandarin duck. I had heard this duck was on the loose from The Rambling Brambling.
Mallards abounded in the area; we saw 140 of them. Three male ring-necked ducks swam past us in a line.
Arboretum: Birds and Winter Fruit
Now that fresh fruit is no longer available, birds have taken to picking off what is left on the trees. Sometimes a frost or two helps soften fruit, making it more palatable. I saw a few birds visiting some fruit trees this Friday.
Cedar waxwings were all over a Korean mountain ash (Sorbus alnifolia), picking off the fruit.
Arboretum: Robins, Sparrows, and Finches
The sun and its warmth made for a very pleasant bird walk this morning at the Arnold Arboretum. Most of the birds we saw were along Willow Path or near the ponds. Every species except one can be found the entire year in our area.
The only exception, white-throated sparrows, moves north to breed during the summer.
Mount Auburn Cemetery: Turkeys and Vireos
We took a walk through Mount Auburn Cemetery Thursday morning. We would go long stretches without hearing any birds and then, suddenly, we’d be in the midst of a birdstorm. One of the easiest birds to find was this wild turkey, whose gobble we could hear at a distance.
Urban Nature Walk: Savin Hill Beach
Jef led three of us on an urban nature walk around a very urban beach. Savin Hill Beach in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston is bordered by Interstate 93 and William Morrissey Boulevard. We were surprised at the diversity of water birds we found, including a few I hadn’t previously seen in the Boston area.
Arboretum: Robins in Cork Trees and Castor-Aralia
I learned on Saturday’s bird walk that American robins love the fruit of Amur cork trees (Phellodendron amurense). I returned to see if I could photograph the birds eating the fruit. I had plenty of opportunity to do so.
Arboretum Bird Walk with Bob Mayer
We went on an early morning bird walk yesterday led by Bob Mayer and Andrew Joslin. We saw a number of bird species. Two were a first for me, and one a first in the Boston area.