Sunday, September 23, 2012

Horrors on the Field View Trail

Accipiters, Ridge Hill Reservation, Needham, MA
Something was wrong. I had just started through the grass towards Field View Trail and all the birdsong I could hear was condensed in a single scrubby tree--what sounded like a dozen chickadees chattering at once.

About midway down the trail I hear the piercing "Kee-ah!" of a red-shouldered hawk. Then a horrible squeal and a rustle of grackles, a river of them streaming overhead. Aha, I thought.

As I stepped out onto the easement by the swamp I discovered I had underestimated the horror. Two accipiters (I'm guessing Cooper's but I couldn't get a clean look), three accipiters, no FIVE accipiters, all cruising the wetlands. At one point a stupid-brave blue jay acting alone came out to harass one of them, and was doing fine until others showed up (I think it got away). At any rate, one tiny sharp-shinned hawk is usually enough to put the wetland in panic mode. Five at once--that's just excessive.

A parallel horror--gas line easement clear-cutting. Actually, that part's fine--it took care of all the invasive buckthorn that's been crowding the trail. Whoever did the work, though, apparently didn't know there was a wetland on the easement and made a significant cut into the wet area before turning back.
Wetland north of Field View Trail, Ridge Hill Reservation, Needham, MA
To make matters worse, instead of trying to find an alternative path to the northern easement section (The Beard Trail is nice and wide and is easily accessed from the road) the clear-cutters drove their bobcat (I'm guessing from the tread-marks) back and forth through the very narrow Field View Trail.
Tread-marks on Field View Trail
The trail, not in terribly good shape to begin with, is now significantly ripped up (and quite wider in parts now!)

Horror-chaser: A singing brown creeper (they are now migrating through in big numbers).

1 comment:

Chris Rich said...

Rough,

Equipment operators are rarely known for finesse but I have seen it.

There is lots of Raptor activity afoot.