Rising Tide of Green

White-tailed deer at Nahant Marsh's beaver pondApril at Nahant Marsh was a time of great change. April began with a few tentative wisps of delicate green rising from the recently thawed earth, and the first vanguard of returning birds. It ended with green bursting out everywhere, wrapping the marsh in a thickening green haze, and a crescendo of multiple layers of birdsong.

Returning sandhill crane peers through the willows at Nahant MarshThe fog of green, still golden and airy in April, grew denser as May moved in. April and May are the most amazing months in the marsh as it comes back to life in a rising tide of green. The reawakening green is filled with a rush of creatures who by all appearances are pleased with the new, milder season. A season of life and joy.

Red-winged blackbird bathes in a beaver pond at Nahant MarshThe pools and ponds of water at Nahant Marsh are a magnet for the creatures. The water itself is bursting with life, producing and attracting an amazing variety of living things. Many of them are not obvious, even now. The birds are pretty easy to observe if you are quiet, though. The more northern species have gone on by, but those that plan to stay are staking their claims, singing their spring songs.

Mallard Drake at Nahant MarshApril and May are the best times to see the birds, while they are loudly announcing their presence and before the rising green closes over them. Later, as spring arches into summer, they will become quieter and the fully leaved out vegetation will conceal much that lives there.

A wood duck drake on a green reflection in Nahant Marsh's beaver pondWood ducks were among the earliest arrivals, chasing the very edge of the ice, coming to Nahant before April even started. I can’t tell if those early birds moved on farther north and different wood ducks moved in, but the marsh once again is host to quite a number of wood duck pairs clearly checking out likely nesting spots. Nahant Marsh will once again host a new generation of these striking birds.

The front lawn of the Education Center, once torn up and muddy from construction work for the expansion, is also sprouting a fresh new rising tide of green. It is a beautiful, hopeful season full of promise and new beginnings. Be sure to take some time to enjoy it, don’t let it get away!

Blue-winged teal pair rests and grooms at Nahant Marsh

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