Birds of prey seemed to be the theme of this walk. At the oxbow lookout in the stormwater wetlands we saw a juvenile hawk either a red tail or broad winged. In the storm water wetlands we observed two swans that carved out a small patch in the icy water. Later at little pond we saw hooded mergansers, cormorants, a belted kingfisher, and a bald eagle swooping over the water then landing in a tree. On the walk back looking in the trees we saw not one but two great horned owls. This is the first time in years that great horned owls or any owl has been seen at the alewife reservation. It was truly a great walk.
FAR is delighted to have these wonderful insect photos
because of your “extention tubes”. This is very exciting for us
Recently I acquired some extension tubes for my camera which allowed me to try my hand at some up-close insect photos. The insects of the Alewife Reservation have been my (sometimes) obliging subjects these past few months.
Coming from the birding world, this was a change of pace for me. There was a surprising amount of insect diversity to be seen and photographed here along the wildflower meadows on the north side of the reserve! I was very pleased to find this space saved for outdoor passive recreation as well as crucial habitat for the wildlife community here. And so close to public transportation!
I have been entering each of these records into iNaturalist.org to help science record the occurrence of these species in our area. I encourage everyone to submit their photos so we can flesh out the abundance of wildlife found at Alewife! There are currently 306 species totaled here (ranging from deer to bald eagles to dragonflies) with many more just waiting to be added.
So the next time you are walking the trail or boardwalk and stumble across a curious bug, bird, plant, or mushroom, snap a pic and upload it to iNaturalist. There, a community of fellow citizen scientists will help identify it and we can keep track of all the life dependent on this habitat.
Happy trails! -Mike Mulqueen
The black crowned night heron have been scarce this year in this area… but at least 2 were born at Alewife Reservation….here is a young baby just out of a nest…. and what s/he will look like as an adult….the BCNH come north to breed and will leave in mid fall…they have used this same nest for several years….
Two resident herons, mated pair for several seasons, this year brought 3 handsome fledges to the world!… Although they did not nest on the Reservation (herons usually nest in groups), they have returned and fledges were with them. As they learn to fly and hunt, you may see them around…. Look for a full size great blue with a totally blue crown….the white won’t come until nearly a year old…They will mature into adulthood in abut 2 years… Congratulations!…..welcome to the world!
There were a number of incredible animals out today. Walking though the storm water wet lands I saw a Merlin siting in a tree eating a song sparrow, some blue jays came by and harassed the merlin for a little while then they left and the merlin began to eat. Further down at the oxbow there were a number of Canadian geese, some mallards, an american black duck, and a fairly young blue heron, about a year old. At the exit to little river in the storm water wetlands there were four blue herons (three in picture) all are adults and were siting together. On the other side of the river close to the meadow before the north trail there was a red tailed hawk eating a grey squirrel. Later on I saw a coyote walking along little pond, it was fully grown and looked very healthy. Winter usually means a decrease in wildlife sightings yet today there were many more animals than I expected to see. Defiantly one of the best walks I’ve ever had at Alewife.
Eagle flight captured at Alewife
Photo by George McLean