Sterling Forest was eerily quiet yesterday. I've never seen the place that
empty, of birds and people. I still ended up seeing 55 species, including
14 warbler species ,(I've never been so disappointed with such a high
count). There was one golden-wing at the base of the hill, heading north on
the power line trail at the end of Ironwood Dr. Further north, up the hill
was a Brewster's warbler singing his little heart out. In fact, I saw more
Brewster's warblers yesterday than I did golden-wings, one on the power
line trail and one on the rifle range trail on the east side of Long Meadow
Rd. And what's really amazing is that I'm fairly certain those are the
exact same Brewster's I saw, in those exact same spots, singing the same
unusual songs,  the last time I was there, 2 YEARS AGO!

The other thing that struck me was that the golden-wings are going to be in
trouble there and for once the culprits aren't humans. It's the beavers.
They've dammed up the stream that runs through the swamp at the bottom of
the hill on the east side of the power line trail (as you head north),
creating an enormous pond and inundating a large tract of golden-wing
nesting habitat. Beaver ponds that drowned warbler habitat at the rifle
range and Blue Lake have been recently drained and the tussock sedge that
the warblers nest in has regrown, but the beavers cut down so many trees
and drowned so many others. The golden-wings (in Sterling Forest at least)
like their nests to be in swamp forest not open swamp so I don't know if
they are going to be able to move back in. It's hard times for everyone
these days.

C. Klein


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