Last weekend I walked the full loop and had the pleasure of encountering several interesting birds. First off, on the high side of the loop, I spotted a Barred Owl flying silently through the trees before perching and peering through the branches back at me. I then explored the beaver pond, which is largely dry due to the drought. At the beaver pond there were a wide variety of woodpeckers, but the highlight of the day was two Pileated Woodpeckers that were being chased around by a juvenile Sharp-Shinned Hawk. The hawk is actually smaller than the large woodpeckers, so it would not have known what to do if it had actually caught one. It was likely just entertaining itself and learning how to pursue birds.
This summer’s drought has affected waterways all over Massachusetts, including our very own beaver pond. The small amount of water that remains, however, offers valuable habitat to a variety of animal species. Recent sightings at our beaver pond include a Green Heron and several Spotted Sandpipers, two species that had not been previously seen on the sanctuary grounds. The presence of sandpipers reflect the fact that the pond has begun to resemble a mudflat, a type of environment that they typically thrive in.