Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fire and Ice

We had freezing rain which left everything a mess.  There was a hard layer of ice on top of everything, making walking dangerous unless you have the appropriate gear.  I knew this was a perfect day for microspikes.  As soon as the sun started hitting the icy trees, I ran out of the house.

First stop:  Hopkinton State Park.  The sun had been up for at least an hour and was shining through a glittering forest and highlighting the treetops against the blue sky.  My photos don't do it justice.  It was stunning.

As it turned out, the forest was not the best place to be, because that sun hitting all that ice created a rain shower under the canopy.  That makes it impossible to get nice photos and protect the camera, so I decided to head over to BHCL before everything melted off and enjoy what I hoped would be icy meadows.

Second stop:  Breakneck Hill Conservation Land

 More sun lighting up the frozen tree tops

 I think this is my favorite.

House Finch

Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015: The Year in Review

Here's a little recap of Things with Wings in 2015, my fourth year of blogging about the beauty and wonder of my time spent in nature:

1,423 Posts with 91,728 views

Butterflies:  65 species (same number seen in 2014); 10 of them were new "life" butterflies!!!

Birds:  207 species of birds (up from 164 in 2014); 28 of them were new "life" birds!!!  This was my first time seeing more than 200 species in a single year and mostly due to a mid-winter trip to Florida.

Memberships:  Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Massachusetts Audubon Society, New England Wildflower Society/Garden in the Woods, Forbush Bird Club, North American Butterfly Association (local chapter is Massachusetts Butterfly Club), The Trustees of Reservations, and the Gateway Camera Club.

Insects:  0 tick bites (thanks to the pre-treated insect repellant long pants that I faithfully wore throughout the tick season)

# New Places I Visited in Massachusetts: 12.  I may need to work harder on this category in 2016!! 

Field Trips:  4 field trips, 1 butterfly census and 1 butterfly festival with the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, 1 field trip with the Brookline Bird Club, 2 field trips with the Forbush Bird Club, 1 whale watch, and 1 fall foliage weekend getaway with the Gateway Camera Club.

Town Halls:  89

Miscellaneous:  1 bumblebee Identification training in Southboro; 1 amphibian survey at Beals Preserve; Astrophotography class at Nubble Light.

Favorite Photos:

Merry Christmas, and thanks for looking back with me!  Hope Mother Nature is good to you in 2016!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Checking in at BHCL

30s but sunny and windy

Breakneck Hill was putting on a good sky show.  Birds were flocking about, including the solitary Northern Mockingbird (below), at least nine Blue Jays, five Northern Cardinals and about a dozen Dark-Eyed Juncos and European Starlings.

 Northern Mockingbird

 Blue Jay

 Northern Cardinal

That sky!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Catching up on the Blog

I haven't had as much time or motivation for nature walks lately, but here are the highlights since my last posting:

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (12/10)

 American Goldfinch

 American Robin

 Great Blue Heron

Breakneck Hill Conservation Land (12/12)

 European Starlings

Hopkinton State Park (12/15)

 Pixie Cups (lichen)

 Garter Snake (in December!)

 Dark-Eyed Junco

Chestnut Hill Farm: