Today was quite the day.
I was co-leading a trip for the Prospect Hill Park Advocacy Group with Judy Marino this morning. The trip started at 8, but I arrived at 7 to scout a bit. There was quite a bit doing and fairly quickly I added a new bird to my Waltham list when a Canada Warbler and Common Yellowthroat started chasing each other. I worked my way uphill and picked up 10 species of warbler, including several new for the year (Magnolia, Redstart, Nashville, Ovenbird). There was also an out-of-place Swamp Sparrow about halfway up. After reaching the water towers, I headed back down and added Waltham bird #2 when a Veery started running across the road. It proved to be annoying, as the bird stayed facing away and eventually dropped into heavy brush. I did finally get a confirming look and also found a second one.
Back at the bottom, we began the trip, which was a good mix of Menotomy and PHPAG people. Almost immediately, we got excellent looks at several Baltimore Orioles and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The Indigo Bunting was less cooperative and the Canada Warbler had disappeared.
We finished poking around the bottom of the hill and drove up to Big Prospect. Since I had seen a lot just downhill, we headed that way. Almost immediately, a Common Raven flew over, extremely low. I had thought I heard one at the park about 2 weeks ago, so it was great to confirm a county bird.
The hill was nowhere near as active, with just a brief look at a Black-throated Blue and a short bit of Towhee song. We returned to the cars, and as we walked up, 2 ravens flew off the tower! Checking from the other side, there was quite a collection of sticks, so it looks like they’re breeding here. Quite a record.
Although I didn’t see the birds return, we did spot them several times later.
We moved on to Little Prospect, where we enjoyed the view and this Indigo Bunting.
We moved on to walk around the south end. Partway around, we finally hit a pocket of warblers, including BT Green, BT Blue, Parula, and Black-and-white. They were also joined by a Blue-headed Vireo and another Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Walking around the back, I found my first Common Whitetail of the year.
The trip was clearly a success (even without a Downy!).
I decided to head over to Assabet River NWR and look for more dragonflies. Arriving around 1PM, I had my first Whiteface almost as soon as I was through the gate. It didn’t hold still for a photo (like almost every whiteface today).
The Boghaunter show started shortly after, right at the first wet spot. There were a few whitefaces around as well, but not cooperative enough to ID. One thing that was cooperative was an oddly-marked Azure.
I’m guessing it’s a lucia form Cherry Gall.
A little further on was this American Lady.
Another boghaunter showed up near the next wet area, posing nicely.
Also in the general area was a single Stream Cruiser (who hid behind a pine) and several Springtime Darners.
Passing White Pond Road, the numbers increased. Soon there were 2-3 Boghaunters on the road almost all the time and many Whitefaces along the edge. There were also plenty of Eastern Pine Elfins, more Azures, and a handful of Tiger Swallowtails and Duskywings.
I almost got tired of the boghaunters, and gave up counting. However, at one point, something appeared to attack one. I heard the flutter as they collided and saw a second Boghaunter on top. I started snapping pictures while trying to figure out if they were about to mate or one was about to become the other’s lunch.
They turned out to be mating as they flew away and moved into a wheel (not landing enough to get a shot off). I found a second pair in the wheel shortly after.
The whitefaces continued to stop at bad angles, but I was able to find a mating pair of Hudsonian and several male Dot-tailed that were old enough to be distinctive. The only one(s?) I got pictures of appeared to be Hudsonian.
The boghaunters continued in good numbers all the way down to marker #4. I’d estimate that there were at least 30 along the way.
Also along the way was a teneral Four-spotted Skimmer. I really wish everything posed like this one did.
(Click on it and then hit All Sizes to get a really good view)
Reaching Marker 4, I headed down Trail B, which was fairly quiet. However, once I reached White Pond Road, I started seeing more boghaunters and several more Four-spotted Skimmers. I’m guessing there were at least 10 more boghaunters, so that’s about 40. I followed Trail C back, but things slowed down a bit (other than a raven calling). I did find two forktails together (guessing I was just paying more attention after seeing the first to find the second).
Quite the day. Three city birds, one county, and tons of first-of-year stuff.