Needless to say, the day started out well, and so we headed to Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary to see what we could see. At least five more Red-tailed Hawks graced up with their presence along the highway, and five more were hunting at Daniel Webster. Along with the Red-tails at Daniel Webster we also saw a Northern Harrier and a Cooper's Hawk.
There were absolutely no people at the sanctuary other than a group of guys working on the power lines. With most of the snow melted the ground was mushy, and the river had broken its banks. The areas of boardwalk were just barely above water level, with most simply at the same level as it. Mostly being open, low fields, the sanctuary was turned into a slushy marsh.
Walking across one of the fields I began to hear a cacophony of bird noises. Heading in its direction it became clear that the noises were being made by Red-winged Blackbirds. We eventually pinpointed the sound to a small patch of phragmites by the river. The sound was overwhelming; a mix of songs, calls, and other disjointed noises. We strained to see even a single bird but were unsuccessful for at least five minutes. Finally, a Red-winged Blackbird flushed from the reeds, uttered a single warning note as it flew away from us and dropped back into cover. Suddenly as if a plug had been shoved in our ears, all was absolutely quiet. The almost deafening noises of the Red-winged Blackbirds had come to a full halt, presumably because of that one, barely audible in the racket, warning call. Amazed we began to walk away, leaving the blackbirds to their silence. As we walked, three Red-winged Blackbirds flew in and dropped into the phragmites, showing their glowing red wing patches in the process. They uttered a few calls, and slowly the other blackbirds built back up to the crescendo.
The other bird related highlight of the day were at least four Eastern Bluebirds, feeding in the flooded fields, flashes of brilliant blue as they flew from perch to ground and back to perch.
Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield, MA
Canon EOS 7D, 400mm f5.6