Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rare Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

There's been a lot of buzz lately in birding circles about a rare duck at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, Massachusetts.  Call me crazy, but I really wanted to see it.  So, I drove 24 miles one way in rush-hour traffic and took a walk on a dreary, overcast evening.  I wasn't there one minute before I met a photographer who had already spotted the Black-Bellied Whistling Duck just to the right of the causeway (at the first bridge).

Larry Warfield's blog explains the duck's presence by comparing it to someone vacationing in New England.  It usually reaches only the southernmost parts of Arizona or Texas, so to be seen in Massachusetts is a true rarity.

It really is a pretty duck.  It spent most of the time underwater, digging.  You can see some slime hanging from its bill when it is above water.  It was incredibly calm and unbothered by the small group of photographers who gathered at the bridge.  It must be used to the attention by now.

Also spotted a few other beauties:

Great Egret

Great Blue Heron

Goldfinches were all along the sides of the causeway trail.

Red-Winged Blackbird (female)

Lotus closeup

The lotus have really taken over the impoundments.  I suppose it's normally like this in summer, but this was the first time I've seen it.   It's nice to visit a place throughout the year and see the changes of the seasons.  To see photos of my other visits to Great Meadows, check out Great Meadows in June,  March,  February. and January.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Today's theme was hawks.  I saw one this morning in the marsh next to the Sudbury River.  Snapped 2 photos, and it was gone.  I'm guessing it is a juvenile red-tailed hawk, but I can't be certain.

Later, I saw three circling high in the sky above the Tennessee pipeline.

I think these are the same three juveniles that were born in the neighborhood this year to broad-winged hawks.

A little bit later, it seemed one or two landed in my yard.  I went out to investigate and was able to spot one in the oak tree out front.  It was calling to another one in a different tree out by the street.  I never saw that one.

Rainy Afternoon at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

In spite of dark, threatening skies yesterday afternoon, I decided to head over to Tower Hill Botanic Garden and try to get a walk in.  It was sprinkling lightly when I arrived, but then it stopped and I was able to enjoy the grounds and beautiful gardens without rain!  The colors were more dramatic in the low light.  (Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Today's Bugs and Birds

I drove out to Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston in spite of the gloomy skies and actually enjoyed a rain-free walk in the gardens.

 Tachinid Fly
I thought this looked like a flying mouse.  This was the first time I ever saw one of these.

 Cabbage White

Dragonfly (unidentified)

 Pearl Crescent

Hover Fly

Wild Indigo Duskywing

 Pearl Crescent

Moth (unidentified)

Golden Digger Wasp

 Goldfinch (male)

Gray Catbird

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Today's Blooms

Some of these were taken at Garden in the Woods and some were taken at Stearns Farm, both in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Garden in the Woods:

 Great Golden Digger Wasp


 The meadow at Garden in the Woods

 Small-headed Sunflower

Hummingbird Moth at Scarlet Bee Balm

Stearns Farm CSA:

 Eastern Purple Coneflower

Flowers are for sale at Stearns Farm for 25 cents a stem.