Blue Hills Reservation 3/17/16 - Tree Swallows and recordings


A Blue Hills outing today was productive in that it gave me my first-of-the-year Tree Swallows and some nice audio recordings of Brown Creepers and Black-capped Chickadees singing.  Attempting to think up a spot where I could find swallows, I remembered the nest boxes at the Blue Hills reservoir. I headed over there for a walk and a pair of them proved easy to find. They foraged over the grassy knob at the end of the pond, and over the water itself. It’s great to finally have some aerial insectivores back in town. The warm weather was pleasant and relaxing to say the least. A pair of Killdeer and a pair of Bufflehead were also hanging around at the reservoir. The far end of the pond gave me a little taste of the intensifying wind although the side closer to the parking lot was sheltered and dead calm. I decided to make a run up Buck Hill although I knew the wind would be strong up there. I had the taste of early migrants in my mouth and I wanted more. Upon entering the woods I heard the sweet song of the Brown Creeper. A short but complex jumble of high notes, and a song I don’t often hear. A winter resident, they begin to sing early and some nest secretively in the hills. Although the road sounded loud at this point and occasionally an airplane passed overhead I managed to record its song on my camera as a video. It’s easy to extract the audio from the visual on the computer and I’ve gotten into a habit of uploading more recordings into my eBird lists.


As I expected, the wind was really blustering on the summit. A Black-capped Chickadee came close and with a smidge of playback sung for me for a couple minutes. The closeness of the bird made up for the rustling of the trees in my recording and I was happy with its outcome.  No birds graced me with their presence on top; no hawks in the air and no songbirds in the scrub.  I continued down the far side of the hill and looped back around in the lower woods. I ran into more creepers singing but I couldn’t manage a better recording than the first as I could now loudly hear the highway and the wind was picking up even further. I was surprised to see the velvet wings and pale yellow trailing edge of a gorgeous Mourning Cloak. One of the earliest butterflies to appear in the spring, even this seems out of sync in addition to the abnormally early-arriving birds such as swallows and phoebes.

Check out my eBird list with audio here: ​http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28334218

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Avian Obsession © 2019 Evan Lipton

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