Saturday, May 17, 2014

Quick Hike at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land

I stopped at Breakneck Hill Conservation Land because, well, it was on my way home (like I need an excuse!).  I thought I'd just take a quick walk in and see if there were any warblers about, but I got distracted by other things and ended up taking a normal length walk there.  Today's surprise was in the wetlands.  The little island in the center was full of writhing, probably mating, snakes.  Pretty cool to see!

 Northern Water Snakes

At least two Baltimore Orioles have staked out territories at BHCL.  This one is near the paved road going up the second hill.  If you listen for its flute-like song, then you can start to look for the bright orange.  Pretty easy to find.

Baltimore Oriole


Baltimore Oriole #2 has staked out his territory at the corner of the orchard where you turn up the path along the thicket (the back of the area the cows were in this week).  He is a bit more shy, singing from the depths of the green leaves, but if you hang out a few minutes, he will come out to tell you to get lost.

Baltimore Oriole #2

Continuing on this trail, you may hear an Indigo Bunting singing.  I was able to spot him straight back about halfway up the trail.

Indigo Bunting

Cabbage Whites and Clouded Sulphurs were flitting over the meadows in good numbers today.  Also, if you pay close attention, you may notice that the tiny Eastern Tailed-Blues have returned as well.

Eastern Tailed-Blue


Juvenal's Duskywing

Yellow-Rumped Warbler


There were quite a few YR Warblers in the trees at the top of the paved path.  This one was the most cooperative.  Most were shy.  I also spotted one Chestnut-Sided Warbler, but it stayed high in the trees and flew off pretty rapidly.

I walked through the Town Forest on the way back to the car but didn't see any butterflies in the woods.  The last thing I saw was a Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle, and I like the face-first perspective!

 Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle

I also made a quick loop through Wildwood Cemetery in Ashland, where I found a pair of Baltimore Orioles at their nest.  Nice!  Will report them to Mass Audubon!

 Female Baltimore Oriole at the nest

Male Baltimore Oriole

(The old section of the cemetery is loaded with them right now.)

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