Sunday, September 30, 2012

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Rain, rain, rain... and the Patriots were not looking too good in the 1st half of today's game.  The sun started to show through the clouds, so I grabbed my camera bag and drove over to Concord.  It was pretty dark looking in that direction, and began misting during the drive, but I remained hopeful.  There was plenty of parking because of the poor weather, and after just about 20 minutes, the sun came out, some of the clouds cleared away, and it was a lovely time for a hike.

I had a gut feeling that today would be my day to see a Sora.  When I walked out on the boardwalk, I looked off all sides and saw nothing.  But, apparently, it was there, and I spooked it, because it squawked loudly as it lifted off into flight.  I was in shock watching it go, and never got a good photo!  Still, it was awesome to see it, and I know that there is a chance I can find it there again.

Here are some of my other birding highlights:

 Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron #2

Great Blue Heron #3 (do you see it?)

 Song Sparrow

 Swamp Sparrow

Red-Winged Blackbird (female)

There were a couple kinds of warblers eating seeds on the sides of the trail.  I was watching them, and taking photos, when suddenly a marsh hark came in low over the reeds on the left side of the trail and zig zagged from weed to weed, trying to catch one of the birds.  He didn't have any luck, and I was in shock (again) and got no photos except for his departing flight.

Marsh Hawk

 Palm Warbler

 Palm Warbler staring at me

Palm Warbler

Pretty foliage this year!

To go to other blog posts featuring Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge wildlife, click on any of the following links:

Looking Back: May - September 2012

New Butterflies:

I photographed 19 varieties of butterflies that I had never seen before:  Appalachian Brown, Banded Hairstreak, Common Sootywing, Coral Hairstreak, Fiery Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Harvester, Hoary-Edged Skipper, Hobomok Skipper, Horace's Duskywing, Karner Blue, Least Skipper, Leonard's Skipper, Palm Warbler, Peck's Skipper, Silver-Bordered Fritillary, Striped Hairstreak, Tawny-Edged Skipper, White Admiral, and a White M Hairstreak.

I can't pick a favorite from this list.  The Giant Swallowtail was a rare and beautiful sighting, and I saw only one and it happened to come right to my yard.  But.....I drove 2 hours to see the Karner Blue in its native habitat.  Besides those two, I climbed Blue Hill to see the White M and Coral Hairstreaks, both real beauties, and for a skipper, you can't beat the Hobomok Skipper which posed beautifully on a wet day.  It's too hard to choose!

Giant Swallowtail

White M Hairstreak

Coral Hairstreak

Karner Blue

Hobomok Skipper

Biggest Surprise:

I caught photographs of a fox that had just killed a squirrel.  That had to be my favorite surprise from this time period!  Second to that would be the day I walked on the Wellesley College campus and saw several white-tailed deer.  I caught a photo of two juvenile deer running side-by-side through a meadow.   Another highlight was seeing and photographing my first ever porcupine at Irving Nature Park in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.

New Birds:

I have seen more "first" birds  since April:  Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Blue-Headed Vireo, Bobolink, Common Eider, Common Loon, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Towhee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Great Egret, Green Heron, Indigo Bunting, Least Sandpiper, Northern Parula Warbler, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Semi-Palmated Sandpiper and Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

Out of these, I'd say my favorite was the Green Heron.  What a strange-looking bird!  

My second favorite was the Common Loon, which we saw while on a loon cruise on Squam Lake in New Hampshire.

New Places:

This blog has taken me to more new places:  (1) Horn Pond in Woburn, (2) Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary, (3) Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge,  (4) Wellesley College, (5)  Blue Hill Reservation, (6) Dunback Meadow, Lexington, (7) Karner Blue Butterfly Easement, Concord, NH and Eastern Point Wildlife Sanctuary in Gloucester.   See my "Links" page for web sites, where applicable.

Favorite Photo:

It's hard to pick one favorite, but I really like this Amberwing dragonfly photo.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mass Audubon Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

I hadn't visited Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary since April, so I drove down to Norfolk this afternoon to take a walk around.  There was not another soul on the boardwalk, and I enjoyed a fair amount of bird activity.  The fall colors were lovely around the water.  This is a nice sanctuary, and I highly recommend it.  There isn't a huge trail system, but the views are lovely, and if you like water birds, it is a good place to see them.

Canada goose

Great Blue Heron

Northern Parula Warbler

Swamp Sparrow (a life bird!)
 Thanks again to Alan M. of The Forbush Bird Club for help with the ID

Yellow-Rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

 Yellow-Rumped Warbler (nice view of yellow rump)

 Mute Swan Parade

 Wood Ducks

 Eastern Phoebe

 Porcelain Berry

Chipmunk (you knew that, right?)

 Blue Jay

I nearly forgot!  While I had my camera trained on a Northern Parula Warbler that was in a low bush overhanging the water, there was suddenly a loud splash and the warbler was there one minute and gone the next.  I'm assuming it was a snapping turtle, although it happened so fast, I can't be sure.  Poor little bird!

Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

I cut the corner off a gallon-sized baggie to make a "rain hat" for my camera and set off for a hike at the Broadmoor.  I always like it there on days like this because fewer people inevitably equates to more wildlife sightings.  And I especially love wood ducks!

mid 50s
misty, dark and cloudy

Click on any photo for an enlargement.

 Fall Foliage

 Northern Cardinal

 Wood Ducks!

Great Blue Heron

 Wood duck

Wood ducks (left) and Great Blue Heron (right)

 Liked this one for the reflection.

Eastern Phoebe (juvenile)

Gray Catbird

 Downy Woodpecker