Monday, May 13, 2013

Early Rainy Visit to Mt. Auburn

Least Flycatcher, Mt Auburn Cemetery.
After dropping my wife off at the airport at 5:30 am, I debated whether to drive up to Plum Island. Missing the exit to 93 North made the decision for me. It would be Mt Auburn Cemetery. Before 6 on a Sunday morning it took 5 minutes to get from Newton Corner to Mt Auburn. (This is less time than usual.) I got there just as they were unlocking the pedestrian gate. Game on.

And then, almost immediately, I was overwhelmed. I don't know what it is about the Mt. Auburn soundscape during the height of warbler migration. Maybe it is the dense fiber of yellow-rump songs that you have to listen through. Maybe it is the prospect of some unusual, less familiar song (Cape May or bay-breasted) that you don't want to miss. All I know is that I am still intimidated by it. See what you can make of the soundscape below.

At Mt. Auburn I usually find myself withdrawing to some quieter zone away from the blast of warbler song (and the assemblies of birders "on" something good). In search of moments. I had a couple.

1. I watched a lone northern rough-winged swallow as it flew back and forth skimming the surface of Willow Pond. Somehow the plainness of the bird accentuates the beauty of its flight.

2. I listened as a lone wood thrush (reportedly the first this year) sang at the Dell, the holiest of Mt. Auburn sites.

By 7:30 I was ready to leave. As I drove off the rain started coming down in torrents.


1 comment:

Chris Rich said...

I went there today as the end part of a video clip survey of the Watertown Branch Rail Line remnant.

There is interest in making a bikeway of some of it.

I exited the old rail bed just after where it crosses under Mt. Auburn Bridge and headed over to the august necropolis of finials and mouldering yankee oligarchs.

Yup, it's become a drag. I sat on that old half log bench thingie overlooking the dell pond and saw all these people who seemed avid to scratch things off of lists, aging first wave boomers now in mid 60s doing gear ostentation displays that almost parody the more serious displays the avians are up to.

These people are restless and can't sit still and just listen for the time it takes for the living world to reveal itself.

God, they clutter the place. It was much quieter in the 70s and 80s when these denizens were off on some other ostentation regimen probably involving disco balls or something.

I have a night at the Innermost House at Ipswich River MAS tomorrow. That whole area is etched in memory since JFK was alive.

And George Patton once roamed the area sharing cigars and brandy with Bradley Palmer.

And Appleton Farms is equally impressive.

Bobolinks were out in force at Bay Farm in Duxbury yesterday. I imagine they'll be going nuts at Ipswich River tomorrow.

Video will ensue.