Larches show outstanding color on a beautiful fall day

Seventeen of us found ourselves basking in bright sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures at Green Lawn Cemetery on this Sunday afternoon. Reports of crossbills had raised the pre-trip excitement level, but a stiff breeze threatened to make the birding a little more difficult than usual.

We did start slowly. Heading directly to Section J where crossbills had been reported earlier that week, we scanned the evergreens without much success. A few common fall birds made an appearance, and a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches drew some oohs and aahs, but crossbills were not to be found.

Green Lawn birders hunting for crossbills...or anything elseWe headed back to the famous “pit,” which was completely dry after our long hot summer. For a few moments, it seemed as though the birds must have been full after lunch, as none were in attendance at the feeders. In a few minutes, though, many of the usual suspects showed up, including both Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and a couple of White-breasted Nuthatches. They were joined by a late Red-winged Blackbird who seemed to think it was spring!

A cooperative Merlin shows offThe highlight of the day came next. One of our sharp-eyed participants spotted a bird in a non-too-distant snag. “Looks like a Merlin!” We headed that way and, sure enough, it was our winter-visiting small falcon. In the absence of crossbills, surely a Merlin was a wonderful consolation prize.

A walk to the bridge produced a few more nice birds, including a flock of 30 or more Cedar Waxwings. All in all, a relaxing walk on a beautiful day in a lovely setting with some fun birds – and birders – what’s not to like?