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South Holyoke

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

(c) Greg Saulmon 2013

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.

I waited.

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:

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