Thursday, June 2, 2016

Barn Swallows at Hopkinton State Park

It wasn't exactly a peaceful walk at the park.  There were mowers, weed whackers and other workers preparing for summer throughout the lower beach area.  I tried to avoid them as best I could by staying near the water's edge.

The first thing I noticed were three Killdeer chicks.  They were already "teenagers".  How sorry I was to have missed the baby phase, when they are all leg with just a little puffball on top.  These teens' legs still look a bit large for their bodies, but they are definitely leaning more toward adulthood.


The bathhouse by the beach is very busy with Barn Swallows flitting about.  One was sitting on the chimney, several are already sitting on nests in various crevices around the building.  There is an open hallway from front to back and the birds sometimes fly right through.  Today, the windows to the bathrooms were open, and occasionally the birds were perching on them.  A mother and daughter entered the bathroom while I was walking nearby, and I heard them scream and then saw them looking and pointing at the birds!

The Barn Swallows are a beautiful bird, and today I felt lucky because two landed on a branch and briefly preened their feathers while I watched.  So often, they are on the building or on their muddy nests, and that just isn't as pretty a picture!

Barn Swallow

On the far side of the water, I spotted a snapping turtle creeping across a cement pipe.  If you look closely, you will also see a Spotted Sandpiper on the same pipe.  Popular spot!  I bet it was warm in the sun.  I walked over, but by the time I arrived, both turtle and sandpiper had gone elsewhere.

Spotted Sandpiper

Eastern Tailed-Blue

Blue-Eyed Grass (so far it had escaped the mowers)

Barn Swallow on its less-than-attractive nest

sitting on the bathroom window ledge

another on its nest

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