Migration time is upon us– Local sightings


Scaups hanging out at Silver Lake to rest and refuel before continuing on their migration

Until a few years ago, I had no idea that our local ponds were part of the great highway that is where birds stop to rest on their short and longer migration paths. These wild birds are wary, and tend to move away from shorelines whenever they spot people nearby. It was a chance sighting in late afternoon light that clued me in that our local waterway, Silver Lake, was a waystopping place for migrating waterfowl. The bright red crested plumage of the red breasted merganser caught my eye, and since then we have come to see that large flocks of birds stop by each spring and fall.


Hooded and red breasted mergansers hanging out near the island in the middle of Silver lake

No visitors stay for more than a few days, but then another flock replaces them, all headed farther north. Each day there seems to have been a different variety to stop in for a short time.


Buffleheads, male and female, at Silver Lake

Buffleheads, scaups, hooded and red breasted mergansers are what I’ve seen so far. Large flocks of red-winged blackbirds fill the trees along the shore of the lake.


Gorgeous reflections on the still waters at Delcarte in Franklin, but no migrating birds evident

I visited a different pond in Franklin for a morning walk and expected to see migrating visitors there as well at Delcarte, but other than some Canada geese, the ponds were empty.


Red-winged blackbird posing amongst the snow-covered cattails

A red-winged blackbird stopped to pose for me on some nearby cattails, still coated with snow from the recent snow storm (the cattails, not the red-winged blackbird).


Caught in mid-call…

The trails was frozen mud, slippery in a few places, but mostly a relaxed one-mile walk around the pond.

The still water offered a mirror for the blue sky with dramatic clouds overhead. Yet another winter storm is approaching, so any trail conditions I report will change by the next day. It felt good to stretch our legs, chat with a new hiking buddy, and explore. For now, the birds are on the move, and each day will bring new birds finding their way north. Which means we’ll have to come back, since we just never know what we will find on a visit to our local outdoor open spaces.DSC06621


Arizona M cropped picMarjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.

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