Spring to Bird

The weather was good for a change this weekend and I didn’t have anything keeping me in (is that a hint for an upcoming post?) so an actual post about birding is required.

Saturday began with a walk around Rock Meadow. While checking the gardens, I found my first Tree Swallow of the year way off in the distance. Working that way, there were bluebirds checking the boxes and another swallow in closer. I checked the marsh area without finding much and then the back side (wettest spot of the day and nothing of interest).

I proceeded into Beaver Brook North and headed towards the Great Horned spot. On the way, the vernal pool had flooded the trail but there happened to be side trails that went around the one spot almost exactly at each end. The pool also hosted 5 Wood Ducks. No luck with any Great Horned, so I continued to the West Meadow.

Passing below the apartments, I found my first Comma of the year and followed that with my first Eastern Phoebe (heard only however). The marsh was as wet as expected but the boardwalk was above it. Unfortunately all that I found in the water were a few geese and Mallards. A Sharpie passing overhead was nice.

Back at the Met State side, I finished the loop back to Rock Meadow without finding much of anything. There were several more Tree Swallows at Rock Meadow and I ran into my friend Jon and met his son Ben. While talking to them, two hawks flew over. Expecting a pair of Red-tails, I was surprised to see one was a Cooper’s and was taking swipes at the Red-tails.

Finishing that walk, I decided to head to Dunback to look for Fox Sparrows and then check for snipe at the Waltham St. Fields. Dunback turned out to be a waste as I walked from the tennis courts to the birches and saw almost nothing but grackles and Song Sparrows. Although I didn’t find any snipe at Waltham St., I did have 2 Killdeer, a Green-winged Teal, and 2 Savannah Sparrows.

After a stop at home for lunch, I headed to the Charles with my parents to see how the storm affected things. The water was way up (I think the waterfall dropped 6 inches at most) and the paths were as clean as I’ve seen them. Unfortunately, there were very few birds. Highlights included a single Fish Crow and this Sharp-shinned Hawk:


On Sunday, I joined the Menotomy walk to some of the Boston Harbor sites. I ended up carpooling with Karsten (the leader) and after picking up his friend Niclas, we went to do a bit of scouting. The couple landbird stops we made were pretty dull (Red-tails were about the most exciting thing). We walked the back trail at Belle Isle without finding much, but at the tower we had a few shovelers and 2 Green-winged Teal. We then passed the group, made a quick coffee stop and a quick scan for any early arriving plovers.

Meeting up with the rest of the group, we headed into Winthrop. Our first stop was Small Park, where we had good numbers of grebes, eiders, scoters, a couple loons, and some seals. Considering the wind was supposed to be pretty bad onshore, it was very mild (much more so than previous times I’ve been here).

The next stop was Deer Island. We didn’t venture too far from the parking lot but I was impressed and will have to make a point of doing the whole loop at some point. From opposite the parking lot, we had many Long-tailed Ducks, a few scoter, some goldeneye, Greater Scaup, Brant, and a few loons and grebes. We started around to the other side when Niklas found a pipit. We doubled back slightly and the bird took off onto the beach. It disappeared even as we all scoped the general area where it landed. Eventually we gave up and went back to checking the water. There were many Surf Scoters but not much else different.

We then moved on to Snake Island. Oystercatchers had arrived earlier in the week and we quickly found two. The sun wasn’t great but everyone got fairly good looks. We moved on to the beach, which was quiet. At the far end, the Red-necked Grebes were staging and we counted close to 100.

The trip officially ended here, but we continued on and rechecked the far end of Revere Beach for plovers. On the way back, we stopped briefly along the Mystic Lakes. A Great Cormorant flew by at Sandy Beach but it was quiet otherwise. We made a brief stop at the Arlington Res where a scan produced 2 Ruddy, 1 Bufflehead, 2 Gadwall, and a Pied-billed Grebe.

An excellent weekend, very nice to be out and about again.