Friday, August 28, 2009

Wachusett Meadows-Sunday

I spent about an hour at Wachusett Meadows Sunday morning arrving early enough to be the only person there so was treated to wonderful solitude. The sun was bright and the meadows were alive with life which made it the perfect way to end my week long vacation from work.

I can get lost here, and often do because all you have to do is look around and any stress you have disappears as you watch the birds, the butterfly's and search for the Northern Goshawk who remains hidden. The Milk Weed has long since faded, replaced by Goldenrod and Queen Anne's Lace which contrasted beautifully together to make for some really nice pictures. This is my favorite Audubon sanctuary in Central Massachusetts and I try and get there at least once a month even if I know I am not going to get any new birds.

A path from the beginning of the sanctuary that stretches out to the wetlands. Butterfly's are often here as well as dragonfly's of all sorts.

A shot of the wetlands. I didn't see much today except for Common Grackles, House Wrens, Eastern Kingbirds, Song Sparrows, Common Yellowthroats and 3 Great-blue Herons who flew away as I approached them. One thing I found interesting is that I didn't see or hear any Red-winged Blackbirds while I was there.

Another shot of the wetlands. They are so vast that it can be overwhelming at times. There is an old Heron Rookery located in these wetlands, but I don't think it was used this year.

Common Yellowthroat spotted in brush behaving in its normal fashion. There were also a couple of House Wrens in some thick brush to the left of the yellowthroat but it didn't want any part of me as it scolded its outrage at my intrusion and pishing.

One of my favorites, the common Song Sparrow.
Eastern Phoebe. It took me a few minutes to ID this bird as it was far away. One thing I've noticed lately is that I need to practice on ID'ing birds more. I realize I spent the vast part of the summer identifying birds by ear and got really good at it as I can pick up a song or call and imprint it in my mind much better than I can a field mark even if they are distinct. I still don't have any confidence in ID'ing birds by sight so chose to work more on by sound so it is making birding a little more challenging for me. I guess that's something I can work on now that birding is quieting down a little and birds are thinking about their journey south. I will be doing this with a new pair of binoculars I just bought online. For the past year I have not used bins much as I am not comfortable with them but I am starting to realize that I will need them this late summer and fall for Hawk Watching, Nighthawking, etc. so finally bit the bullet if you will.

And while on the subject of bins, many people have asked me how the heck I could have birded for the past year without them and believe it or not, it wasn't that hard! In fact, I am glad I didn't have them for my first 9 months of birding because it taught me to use my ears more and also peripheral vision because I don't have bins in front of me all the time which has helped me considerably in my birding. Now onto the next level though!

A Monarch Butterfly. If you look closely, you can see that the left wing looks a little different than the right wing and I thought perhaps something was wrong with it. I decided to brush it away a little to see if it could fly and it did manage to flutter away but not like most butterfly's I have seen. Maybe one of you more experienced butterflyers can figure this out as butterfly's are not my fortay!

Upside down Queene Anne's Lace
Tent caterpillar's nest (?)

Take care all! Forbush is supposed to go to Plum Island on Sunday which should be interesting to see what is there with this tropical storm headed our way this weekend.


madcobug said...

I loved looking at all your photos. Great shots. Helen

Kelly said... the shot of the Queen Anne's Lace from underneath. I've experimented with shots of Queen Anne's Lace as well--such a beautiful wildflower. It was my mom's favorite (so it has become one of mine too).

NCmountainwoman said...

There is something so comforting in re-visiting favorite places. Seeing the changes from month to month and yet feeling the sameness of it all. We all need a place like that and yours is beautiful. Lovely photographs.

The Early Birder said...

Hi Kim. I've been keeping an eye on your recent exploits - trail running AND photos. Early morning solitude in such a FAB location, what could be better. Now I am surprised that you haven't been using bins.....just wait and see what detail they reveal. Have fun.
Lol FAB.

Rich said...

Great pictures Kim. I have been without much internet but am so pleased to see you are still up and running. I seem to be hiding out in wilderness area these days.

MaineBirder said...

Outstanding series Kim! Been a long time since I have been to Wachusett Meadows. Might be a good trip next spring.


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