Here’s a confession: until last Sunday, I’d never seen a female Red-winged Blackbird.
But then, driving along the canal in the city’s South Holyoke neighborhood, I saw a male perched on a chain link fence. I pulled over, hoping to snap a photo. The bird flew away. And then it started to rain.
Several more males landed on utility wires overhead. When they flew away, they flew down toward the canal, out of sight over the steep bank. When the rain died down, I scurried under a fence to see where they were going.
At the water’s edge was a band of reeds and cattails, and two female Red-winged Blackbirds were busy snatching insects and tending to their well-camoflaged nests.
Some of the photos below may make this spot look like a bucolic marsh, but looks are deceiving. Across the canal is a row of factories. Back up the bank and across the street is a tire store.
It’s a world inside a world, and it’s one I’m glad to have discovered.
Here’s a slideshow of photos from the outing: