Saturday 9 August 2014

Belle Isle Marsh, Boston, August 2014

The Boston transport system tried to thwart my attempts to reach Belle Isle Marsh by digging up my transfer station at Government Center and then truncating the Blue Line so that trains only reached as far as the airport transfer station. Shuttle buses took punters the rest of the way to Wonderland, stopping at the Blue line stations along the way. I am given to understand that planned work to Government Center will last for 2 years as of March 2014.

Anyway, I eventually reached the marsh which was very quiet for a Saturday afternoon. A few dog-walkers and a couple of joggers were the only other visitors for most of my time there. This morning, the birds had been very quiet at Boston Back Bay Fens and this continued into the afternoon at Belle Isle Marsh.

The path describes a circle around a slightly raised mound which was bursting with wildflowers on this early August weekend and the buzz of insects drowned out any bird noise. The insects in turn were over-powered by aircraft that passed over as they took off from Boston’s Logan airport very close by.

The tide was high and I hoped that a few waders might have been pushed up into the marsh. A few patches of water with muddy edges could be seen from the tower, but the only waders that were in evidence were spooked by a boat speeding along the distant channel. I would hazard a guess at Semi-palmated Sandpiper.

A Merlin flew over with a small bird clutched tightly and an Osprey was seen in the distance.
Back in the car park, a Cooper’s Hawk flew into a dead tree and stopped long enough for a photo.

Opposite the Blue Line’s Suffolk Downs Station is Leverett Ave. At the bottom is a small path that runs back into the marsh. It cuts through the reeds and a small patch of woodland until it reaches a platform that overlooks Rosie’s Pond at Google Earth ref; 42 23 18.94N 70 59 35.84W. This proved to be the most productive area of the visit with Warbling Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler and Eastern Kingbird seen here. A Grey Catbird followed me for nearly half the length of the path, scolding all the way.

Bird list for Belle Isle Marsh; 25
American Black Duck 1, Double-crested Cormorant 3, Great Blue Heron 4, Great Egret 7, Osprey 1, Cooper’s Hawk 1, Merlin 1, Herring Gull 35, Mourning Dove 25, Chimney Swift 6, Downy Woodpecker 2, Eastern Kingbird 3, Warbling Vireo 1, American Crow 1, Barn Swallow 5, American Robin 15, Grey Catbird 4, Northern Mockingbird 2, European Starling 80, Cedar Waxwing 8, Yellow Warbler 1, Song Sparrow 4, House Finch 1, American Goldfinch 6, House Sparrow 15.

Belle Isle Marsh is very close to the Boston Metro’s Suffolk Downs Station on the Blue Line. It only takes about 10 minutes from downtown Boston and costs around $2.25 one way.
There are no facilities apart from a bulletin board at the car park.

A tower and a jetty give good views out across the marsh.

For a previous post from Belle Isle Marsh, see the link below;

Visit the dedicated USA and Canada page for more posts from Boston, including Mount Auburn, Back Bay Fens and Pleasure Bay.

Birding, Birdwatching, Boston, Massachusetts.

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