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Friday, April 26, 2013

May Birdwatching at Mount Auburn

By the time my wife and I arrive at Cambridge's Mount Auburn Cemetery at 6:30 am, the parking lot around the fountain is already full and minivans with birders from across New England are streaming in. We find a spot and stroll over to where we find our guide for the morning, Carol Decker, Director of Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. As if on cue, a red-tailed hawk flies overhead while to our left, a vibrant Baltimore oriole sits on a branch, twig in beak. While I’m always thrilled to see a hawk, especially as a diversion from writing when the large bird rests on a branch outside my office window, it is the orioles, scarlet tanagers, vireos, and the queen of neotropical migrants, the warbler, that has coaxed us to leave our pillows prematurely and arrive at this Cambridge birding hotspot. Wintering in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, even South America, these enticing songbirds make their way north to New England and Canada to breed in the summer months. 
Mass Audubon schedules most of their spring walks at Mount Auburn the first two weeks of May, when the warbler migration reaches its peak. Anyone with a love of nature is urged to sign up, even a novice birder like myself. Sure I have a trusty pair of binoculars sitting next to me as I write, to savor that brightly yellow goldfinch when he inadvertently comes across my bird feeder, but I don’t memorize bird calls or carry a checklist. Perhaps that’s the reason why my wife and I found this outing last May to be so special. The colors on the backs and bellies of these birds were so spellbinding that I found it to be the aviary equivalent of going snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/26/13 at 12:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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