Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Massachusetts Birding is the Best...and Worst

I think it become apparent fairly quickly to most of us birders that Massachusetts offers some of the best birding in the country. We really do get an excellent mix of inland and pelagic and tropic and boreal species. Depending on the time of year and distance to the coast one has the opportunity to see an enormous range of species in a wonderful range of habitat. We've all spent those beautiful June mornings walking along the South Shore or those brisk September mornings walking the North. I believe wholeheartedly that the months of May-October cast some kind of spell on the minds of we New Englanders. Those six months somehow erase our memories of the other six. Now I know there are some who'll say, "I love New England winters," and "oh the beauty of a winter's morn."  To you I submit the following photo of myself:
This "self-portrait" was taken this past Monday, February 18th at Great Meadows NWR in Concord. Incidentally, GMNWR is one of my favorite places to bird. This my friends is New England in the winter. This is the first time I have ever been birding and thought, "What the hell am I doing right now." I thought this as I was walking down the dike between the upper and lower pools. The ground was crusty with ice and snow. The wind was blowing at least 25 mph sustained, whipping snow and ice across the frozen pond, so loud that Superman couldn't have heard a call or a song. The sun, a blessing and a curse, blazed overhead. Giving me my only source of heat(perhaps 2 or 3 degrees) while contributing to my snow-blindness. The temperature was 25 and felt like -5 with the wind chill. This is frost-bite weather.

Now, I know the old "a bad day of birding..." saying but you all have to agree, its days like these that leave us longing for those May mornings when the Warblers are singing and the Magnolias are blooming.

All this said, I really do love the seasons in New England and we're fortunate to have all the public parks and shorelines that preserve and protect wildlife. Seeing the migrations and variations in action make this a great place to live and bird.  So here's to the winters. I contest that it is these moments(see above) that make us appreciate all the rest.

+/- 40 days until the first Warblers arrive. 

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