Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Birds where you find them

Every year, my wife and I go to Readercon, a literary Science Fiction convention in Burlington, Massachusetts. It's held at a Marriott hotel in the middle of a bunch of corporate campuses, about a mile from a huge mall. There are lawns and some trees, but it's doesn't look like a promising area.

Behind the hotel, between its parking lot and the parking lot of the office building next door, is a scruffy little wood, maybe an acre. There's a little pool, a puddle really, which I think is fed by the overflow pipe for the hotel swimming pool. There's a path between the parking lots through the wood, and I like to take a little walk there when there's an hour without any panels I want to see.

There are always a few birds around--Nuthatches, Robins, Mourning Doves, Catbirds. Sometimes a cardinal sings from someplace across the road, or a Titmouse.

Friday I spotted a little movement down in the shrubs at the edge of that puddle. Something small and furtive. Then I heard a rattling call, like the dial of a rotary phone. What could that be?

I waited. A catbird sang nearby, a nuthatch called further away. Then a wren popped up on a low branch.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Marsh Wren, Burlington MA
what's a nice bird like you?

Big white eyestripe, like a Carolina, but pale below and a grayer brown on top than a Carolina...Marsh Wren? It turned on the branch, and I had a glimpse of white stripes on the upper back. It got my camera up and the bird turned to face me, and sang that rotary trill again, then flew off right and down and sang again and again as it moved farther away.

That's only the second Marsh Wren I've ever seen. They're rarely seen in New York--it was a big deal when one showed up in Central Park on migration last year. I think they're common breeders in Massachusetts, but I'd never thought to find one behind a hotel. Birds are where you find them.

No comments:

Post a Comment