Friday, June 11, 2010

Hancock Hill

View of Boston Harbor Islands from Hancock Hill, Blue Hills Reservation

A couple of hours at the top of Hancock Hill, a most magical place. From the loud trilling of the pine warbler, chipping sparrow, and worm-eating warbler (!) on the way up, the large new chickadee, titmouse, and chippie families along the way, to the awesome prairie warbler/field sparrow/eastern towhee sound-scape at the top. A glorious morning.

Towhees dominated, less skulky than usual (of course, there are fewer places to hide).

A favorite scene: a towhee and a prairie warbler stake out the tops of adjacent trees and pretty much counter-sing. Video below captures the scene.

A lot of counter-singing/chasing among the numerous prairie warblers themselves. One chase brought two blindingly yellow males about ten feet from where I was sitting. No photos, but I did capture a sound recording (which also features an irritated towhee that the warblers also chase away).

I don't get to see and hear enough field sparrows normally. Up on Hancock Hill they are abundant and are now raising children. I saw the chick below being fed a large ripe blueberry by a parent.

The trip up the hill from the designated Hancock Hill parking area is a bit arduous and is tricky on the way down, but today it was very quiet (except for the pile-driving construction crew nearby and normal car/airplane noise). I was surprised not to see more birders given the glowing reviews of the hill on MASSBIRD yesterday. I highly recommend it.

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