Date: 3/1/17 11:45 am From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: W-b NUTHATCHES EXCAVATING NEST IN DEVILâ€™S DEN SP
When Devil’s Den State Park was established as a Great Depression job creator, it was far away on rough Boston Mountain roads, with visitors few and far between. Now pretty spring weekends produces the great urban outflow and the Den overfloweth with noise, traffic jams, lines on trails, no place to park.
Today it was back to Depression era: almost no one except a few retirees who have no one to please except imagination. Perfect for Harvey’s Buttercup and White-breasted Nuthatches.
Nuthatches have started a nest in Camp Area A, around 30-35 feet up in maybe a Southern Red Oak, Quercus falcata. They’ve found a cavity formed by an old limb scar. I sat down at a picnic table and relaxed. Usually one going in and out, followed by the other, sometimes both disappeared inside, yakking away the whole time, and sometimes removing rotten wood.
I assume they’re enlarging what nature started as a limb broken off in a storm. The scar tissue forms a nice little porch-lip. The lean of the tree should keep rain out. Earth-smart those nuthatches are – walking upside down on limbs and all -- and today had the world to themselves.
My initial ambition in driving down to the Den involved Harvey’s Buttercup, a local wildflower that pops up its elegant leaves and yellow petals early spring. My favorite Devil’s Den rock – back slid down from the top now where it is handy to visit near the parking lot – was covered with early botanical excitement, including Spring Beauties and hard-working Harvey’s, really cranking out those yellows.