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Friends of Mass Audubon Wachusett Meadow

Just a few of the “friends” I’ve had the pleasure to see these past months at the Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA.

Barred Owl
Red Squirrel
Phoebe
Sheep
Bobolink
Red-tailed Hawk
American Turkey
Black Bear
Red Fox
White-tailed Deer
Juvenile Raccoon
Great Blue Heron
Painted Turtles
Mallard Duck
Canada Goose
Black-capped Chickadee

Blue Snow Morning

A fast-moving snowstorm passed through last night, leaving a thick coating of snow that sparkled with a variety of bluish tints in the early morning shadows.

Beaver Wetlands

Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA is home to an eighty-five acre beaver wetland–one of the largest in Massachusetts. A sign along the trails reminds visitors that:

• Beavers are a keystone species, providing habitat for many other animals and plants.

• Beaver wetlands are highly advantageous to wildlife, providing wetlands in various stages from open water to wet meadows.

•These wetlands provide habitat for moose, great blue heron, wood duck, dragonflies, amphibians and aquatic plants.

One of several beaver lodges partially covered with snow.
Last Summer, this beaver could be seen munching on plants most evenings.
Boardwalk at the edge of the wetlands with the snow just melting.
The long expanse of reeds. Benches give visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the landscape.
A wood duck box. I was fortunate to view this shy species of duck last summer.
The wind-blown reeds close-up.
A Great Blue Heron visits the main pond most Summer afternoons.

Ice Art

Reflections on the melting ice combine with objects floating in the water layer to create a multi-layered natural art work.

Bluebird Break

Today’s high temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit encouraged the small group of bluebirds who remain in Massachusetts all year to enjoy the unusually snow-free Wachusett Meadow.

Winter Garden

The Winter garden displays the essential structures or “bare bones” of the landscape. For a photographer, the ability to see the interplay of cast shadows is a treat. The clear animal footprints add a sprightly decoration to the scene.

Tomato supports overlooking the herb and vegetable beds.
A bench to rest on between the morning glories and cucumber bed.
The sturdy butterfly bush still holding on to some of its leaves.
Stone wall with hydrangea in the distance.
Squirrel party!
Leaves on their way to becoming next year’s mulch.
Mainly oak leaves here, which take a bit longer to decompose.
The Zen garden was formerly a spot for outdoor grilling in the 1950s.
This bench overlooking the Zen garden was fashioned from recycled stair steps.
Stones gathered from the Rhode Island beaches.
The laurel trees are popular with birds, squirrels and rabbits.
Little creatures find the amaranth left in the circle enticing.

Winter Wolf Tree

This singular tree overlooking the wetlands at Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA is delightful in any season, but especially distinctive in Winter, when the details of its shape and the complex structure of its branches are on full display. I’m pleased that this photo was chosen as the current cover photo for Wachusett Meadow Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/MassAudubonWachusettMeadow/

Snow and Seeds

White-throated Sparrows, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Juncos don’t seem to mind a hop on the crunchy snow, so long as an abundance of seeds fallen from the bird feeders is on offer.

An Old-Fashioned New England Christmas

Old Sturbridge Village, the largest living museum in New England, recreates life in rural New England during the early 1800s. A recent visit during the Christmas season featured wagon rides, demonstrations of period arts and crafts, and a chance to experience what life in a simpler time might be like.

Hard-working horses were the main means of transportation.
The lamplighter at his nightly job.
Chestnuts roasting on a open fire.
Candles in the windows and evergreens brighten up the season.
Muddy roads!
Victorian Singers
The Cobbler’s Shop
The Potter’s Kiln
Potters at work.
Just for fun– Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas Present.
The interior of a well-to-do home.
Windows needed heavy curtains to keep the cold out.
Oxen were vital for working the rugged New England landscape.
Visitors gathered in the church to hear songs and stories of the season.
https://www.osv.org/

A New Year In New England

December brought snow, ice and temperature fluctuations, lending itself to a variety of seasonal photo opportunities.
Happy New Year from New England!

Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA
Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA
Old Sturbridge Village, MA
Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA

Morning Has Broken

This cheerful Gray Catbird, who I have named “Cat Stevens”, has returned for the Summer. His day (and thus mine, as well) starts around 5:00 a.m. with continuous merry outbursts of a variety of songs delivered from a nearby treetop.

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