Saturday 25 February 2012

Bye-bye Boston.

The airline industry operates in a dynamic world where change, flexibility and cost effectiveness are an ingrained part of the culture. A new fleet of younger, prettier and above all lighter crew will be taking over the Boston routes from April. Us old hatless crew, complexions desiccated by a thousand transatlantic night flights and weighed down by years of experience will wave goodbye to one of our favourite destinations. We all felt little twinges of sadness and sciatica as, for most of us, this would be our last visit here and the stop was so brief.
It seemed more appropriate to toast the city one last time with my colleagues than to wander off alone to look at birds, so I had purposefully left my camera behind, but the girls' instinct to shop could not be overcome and I found myself with a spare hour before dusk on a stunning Massachusetts evening.

Many years ago, I took my first faltering steps into North American birding in Boston Back Bay Fens so I wanted to take a last stumble around the park before meeting up with my colleagues. It was strangely liberating to be birding with neither a camera nor even binoculars, but it occurred to me that I may end up writing a post and suddenly the urge to get pictures overwhelmed me. If you were one of the strangers that I may have inadvertently startled by asking for copies of your photographs, I apologise.

To Dionysius, who actually sent me some, thank you very much.

he Canada Geese were making a tremendous noise along the Muddy River and flocked on the lawns, feeding and depositing. The heads of the male Mallards looked stunning in the late afternoon light. A few White-throated Sparrows fed on the ground by the bridge near the rose garden.
In the Community Gardens, I met Annie who has set up feeders in her patch and visits every day. She had attracted Northern Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and Song Sparrow.

A young Red-tailed Hawk flew low across the allotments and settled in a tree above another garden filled with feeders. The weak winter sun had left the sky now and the hawk was silhouetted until it dropped down into the gardens scaring the passerines, but not managing to catch one.
I hope that the new crew will enjoy Boston as much as we did and that they will get out to see the beauty that it has to offer. Don't miss the Whale watching and as for the cemetery at Mount Auburn....
Given the cyclical nature of this business and the re-birth of ideas that keep a transient management busy, it is quite probable that the route will one day revert to the wizened fleet, but until then, "So long Boston".

Birds seen; 12

Canada Goose 200, Mallard 40, Red-tailed Hawk 1, Mourning Dove 10, Red-bellied Woodpecker 1, Black-capped Chickadee 6, Tufted Titmouse 4, House Sparrow 8, Song Sparrow 4, White-throated Sparrow 8, Northern Cardinal 4, Red-winged Blackbird 4.

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