Category Archives: nature


I was planning on a quick run around the res this morning, but it appeared to clear up a bit so I ran to the Arlington Res first. Turned out that it wasn’t very nice but it was well worth the trip.

For a change, I went to the main parking lot. Two Herring Gulls were on the close islands and I could see more on the flat across the way. A quick scan showed one looking very white. There had been a very bleached one lately, but this looked different. A quick photo seemed to show an interesting bill pattern, so I hurried around to get better views.


Nothing obvious got me to pause on the way, so it only took a couple minutes to get to the far side. And as expected, the bird looked like a young Glaucous Gull.

Unfortunately, at this point, it hopped onto the rocks for a few seconds, then got up and started flying. I got some nice flight views and shots but was disappointed to watch it drift off instead of coming back in.




The rest of the walk was too windy and I barely avoided the heavy rain, but no complaints (I would trade days though…).

WIR 4/9-4/15

Wednesday 4/9: Pine Warbler, 2 Hermit Thrushes, and 3-6 Turkey Vultures at Prospect Hill and a Fox Sparrow at the duck ponds.

Thursday 4/10: Checked conditions at BBN and didn’t see much beyond a Turkey Vulture and a few Swamp Sparrows.

Friday 4/11: Palm Warblers and Barn Swallow at Arlington Res. Savannah Sparrows and nothing else at McClennen Park.

Saturday 4/12: Joined the MBC trip at Horn Pond, pretty quiet. Breeding plumaged Horned Grebe at the res on the way home. The less said about the Purgatory Cove trip in the afternoon, the better.

Sunday 4/13: Only able to get out for a couple minutes and didn’t find much of anything on the Cambridge Res or Flint’s.

Monday 4/14: Didn’t get out.

Tuesday 4/15: Loon at the res plus Arlington Res.


WIR 4/2-4/8

Wednesday 4/3: Walked around Forest Grove while waiting for an oil change. At least 2 Fox Sparrows, 4 scaup, etc. Quick drive through NAC after found fewer geese.

Thursday 4/4: Started the day with a Yellow-rump in the yard.

Yard Yellow-rump

Decided to explore Bedford a bit (for the project). Started at Fawn Lake where the first two birds out of the car were a phoebe and Osprey. Also a big flock of Ring-necks with some Bufflehead and a Hooded Merganser mixed in, a bluebird, and a few other things. Walked the biking trail from there hoping to find Buehler’s Pond. I think I did, although it was totally frozen. Two Hermit Thrushes on the bike trail and a Barred Owl on a side trail made it worthwhile. From here I tried to find some conservation land along the river without luck and then went to the frozen pond behind Shawsheen cemetery. Finally, I stopped at Waltham St and flushed a snipe.

Friday 4/4: Started at Rock Meadow. Lots of Tree Swallows but not too much else most of the way around. Some scratching just before crossing to BBN had me expecting a Fox Sparrow. Instead, a catbird popped up! BBN was quiet, although I spent a good bit of time talking to Knut instead of birding as we went back to Rock Meadow and couldn’t refind the catbird. Quick check of the res had some scaup, but I didn’t feel like scoping to confirm as Greater. Mourning Cloak flyby along Trapelo.

Saturday 4/5: Confirmed the scaup as Greater plus had a Red-breasted Merganser at the res. Common Loon on Flint’s. Usual at Nine Acre. Tried to check Heard Pond but Pelham Island Rd was flooded so I continued to Forest Grove instead. A Rough-winged among the Tree Swallows and a single scaup were about it. Quick check of Hardy Pond on the way home had another scaup, 20+ Bufflehead, and 3 Ruddy.

Sunday 4/6: Joined the MBC trip to Arlington Res (4 snipe, 2 phoebe, etc). Quick check of the res and Hayden Woods after had nothing of note.

Monday 4/7: Cat Rock Park had a nice Fox Sparrow and I was able to see a raven landing on the Prospect Hill tower.

Tuesday 4/8: Checked the res and Flint’s and had almost nothing at both. Nine Acre was about the same. Spent 30 minutes at the tower at Great Meadows without much worth mentioning. At least one Rusty singing at the end of the street in the afternoon.

WIR 3/26-4/1

Wednesday 3/26: Too cold.

Thursday 3/27: Riverwalk was quiet, as was Moody St. Great Cormorant on the way back though. Pulled in at Forest Grove quickly and had 2 of both cormorants and 2 Tree Swallows over the river.

Friday 3/28: BBN was pretty quiet. Yellow-rump by the cemetery, bluebirds by the parkway and not much else.

Saturday 3/29: Great Meadows again, nothing too exciting beyond a Red-shoulder. Looped School St and Nine Acre without anything of note.

Sunday 3/30: Looped Hardy Pond to School St to Waltham St without anything too exciting.

Monday 3/31: Too cold and wet. But where was that goose the last 4 times I’ve been through Nine Acre?

Tuesday 4/1: Went goose hunting. No Barnacle, 300ish Canadas, a few ducks, and a Pileated. And a yard visitor.

Ugly Bird

WIR 3/19-3/25

Wednesday 3/19: Forest Grove was mostly quiet. Four Wood Ducks and the firemen practicing water rescues. Quickly checked Newton City Hall but the teal was doing its typical midday disappearing act.

Thursday 3/20: Pintail, eagle, etc at Great Meadows.


Friday 3/21: Dunback had a Fox Sparrow, Woodcock, and I finally tracked down the Yellow-rump I thought I had heard a few weeks ago. Nothing at Waltham St.


Saturday 3/22: Looped through Lincoln, Concord, and Wayland without much more than a Turkey Vulture to show.

Sunday 3/23: Joined the MBC walk at Horn Pond with Winter Wren and Fox Sparrow as highlights. Waltham St and the duck ponds were quiet on the way home.

Monday 3/24: Roamed around looking for geese without much of anything.

Tuesday 3/25: Same except I walked Great Meadows and had a Pileated fly in front of the car by Decordova.

WIR 3/12-3/18

Wednesday 3/12: First Tree Swallows of the year at Great Meadows, plus a few ducks and another Rusty. Also turkeys by Hanscom.

Tree Swallow

Thursday 3/13: Cold, snowy, and windy.

Friday 3/14: Riverwalk late afternoon had more Greater Scaup (plus 1 Lesser). Pulled in at the field station on the way home and got my first of year Killdeer.

Saturday 3/15: Started at Norumbega where there were lots of ducks, nothing overly exciting. On to Forest Grove. First thing on the river was a Great Cormorant attempting to swallow a giant fish.


Two more cormorants were sitting on the ice and the Red-breasted Merganser was swimming around. Nothing much on the trails. Quick stop at the boat ramp added 2 American Wigeon. Next stop was the Wayland Town Building, nothing much different. Cruised Water Row and Nine Acre Corner without anything. School St had a few larks and a Sharpie buzzed over Rt. 2. Sloshed around Waltham St. a bit and had a couple bluebirds. Back home, the yard was overrun with grackles with a decent number of red-wings and cowbirds mixed in.

Sunday 3/16: Rock Meadow and BBN were quiet.

Monday 3/17: River walk had the scaup continuing and a Hairy (first in about 3 years along here). Tons of Herring Gulls at Moody St but nothing else of note. Quick drive to Purgatory Cove and Norumbega didn’t have anything new (and nothing unusual continuing in a quick scan).

Tuesday 3/18: Wandered Lindentree and Mt. Misery a bit. Reasonably sure I had a northern-type Red-tail but never got a close view. Otherwise blackbirds and bluebirds. Continued to Nine Acre Corner where there were lots of geese, all 3 mergansers, and a few Ring-necks on the river plus a big flock of blackbirds and a Killdeer or two in the fields.


WIR 3/5-3/11

Wednesday 3/5: Horn Pond: Missed the Horned Grebe but a calling Red-shouldered Hawk was nice.

Thursday 3/6: Riverwalk: 3 Greater and 5 Lesser Scaup.

Friday 3/7: Caught up with the Shoveler at Alewife plus Buzz and Ruby and my first singing Red-winged Blackbird of the spring.

Muddy Shoveler

Saturday 3/8: Birder’s meeting all day.

Sunday 3/9: Started at Forest Grove, which was colder than expected. A Red-breasted Merganser was among the ducks (along with 2 Common Mergansers and 3 Ring-necks) and there were a few blackbirds around. Next stop was Newton City Hall where a quick check did not turn up the Eurasian Teal. Back to the river walk which was quiet (another Red-wing, only 34 Ring-necks and 1 Lesser Scaup). Nothing much at Moody St either. Got most of the way around and started thinking about how I had seen no raptors. Looked up and a Peregrine was buzzing over.

Monday 3/10: BBN was quieter than I expected. Ended up seeing more in 15 minutes at the duck ponds than I did in an hour plus there, but nothing of note at either.

Tuesday 3/11: Started in Wayland with the expected stuff along Water Row. Heard Pond area was quiet, Hager Pond had the usual, and a Rusty and some teal were at the Pelham Island Rd bridge. Nice out, so I hiked up Prospect Hill. Ravens at the nest but no vultures or anything else good passing by.

WIR 2/26-3/4

Wednesday 2/26: River walk as usual.

Thursday 2/27: Didn’t go out

Friday 2/28: Didn’t go out

Saturday 3/1: Riverwalk again. Six scaup including my first Greater for here. 


Nothing at Moody. Continued to east of Watertown Square where I had 3 more Greater Scaup and finally (on my third pass) got a brief view of the overwintering Brown Thrasher.


Sunday 3/2: Dunback had nothing.

Monday 3/3: Tried Lindentree, absolutely nothing. Drove through Nine Acre Corner on the way out and saw enough mergansers in the river to stop and walk over. A Red-breasted was a very nice surprise.

Tuesday 3/4: Cold.

WIR 2/19-2/25

Wednesday 2/19: Nothing

Thursday 2/20: Cowbirds and little else at Great Meadows.

Friday 2/21: Eh

Saturday 2/22: Winter Wren at Forest Grove. Pair of Wood Duck were the only new arrivals at the riverwalk and nothing new at Moody St.

Sunday 2/23: Started in Wayland, where there were a handful of ducks and about 20 grackles at the town building marsh. The Rt 20 bridge was still covered by a snowbank, so on to Water Row where there were 3 Wood Duck, a bunch of mergansers, and a single Ring-neck. NAC and School St were quiet. More grackles at Dunback, plus a probable harrier and a coyote. Got home and 2 grackles showed up at the feeder.

Monday 2/24: Walked from Rock Meadow to the West Meadow without much of anything. Quick stop at the duck ponds without much after.

Tuesday 2/25: Checked the ravens nest at Prospect Hill. Nothing there today and not much of anything elsewhere on the hill. Chipmunk emerged in the yard.