Photographs taken with a point-and-shoot camera journaling everyday life in Central Massachusetts and beyond.
All Posts byjmankowsky
I live in Central Massachusetts in the United States--a wonderful area for nature photography. Using a standard point-and-shoot camera, I celebrate the nature found here in a variety of local landscapes throughout the changing seasons.
This northern cardinal, high above me on his windy perch, spotted me photographing him. With feathers rustling in the wind, his watchful eye followed me attentively. With a sudden flash of brilliant red, he swooped down to command the bird feeders, constantly checking out the action around him. It wasn’t until he was at ground level that he seemed curiously unconcerned with the small mammals hunting for seeds with him.
Winter birds such as the white-crowned sparrows and dark-eyed juncos have been appearing at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton, MA. Surprisingly, I spotted an eastern bluebird still hanging around with them. Perhaps he belongs to a group that has wintered here in recent years.
These finches paused long enough for me to spot “purple finch identifiers” : the males sported slight peaks on their heads with raspberry coloring on both the heads and backs. The female, although more subtly colored, had clearly visible distinct white marking above the eyes .
I never tire of watching the transformation of the monarch butterfly. In Massachusetts, this population seems to be on the rise after several years of dwindling numbers. What a pleasure to marvel at monarchs in my own yard once again!
This juvenile red-tailed hawk frequented the Wachusett Meadow Audubon for several days last week during hawk migration time. It perched quietly in trees near the main buildings, watching the comings and goings of nature enthusiasts. I can’t help but wonder if it was gathering strength for the long journey ahead.
I was startled and delighted to spot this red fox kit in my backyard. It didn’t run away until called sharply by its mother, so I had ample time to enjoy its large black twitching ears and black legs, as well as its white-tipped tail, which is a key differentiation between a gray and a red fox.
In mythology, foxes are often described as sly and cunning. This kit, like most young animals, didn’t bring those characterizations to mind. It was completely charming in all its innocence, curiosity and playfulness.
Bluebirds and tree swallows tour the many “houses for rent” at the Wachusett Audubon in search of perfect accommodations. What a melodious and cheerful sight! I wish everyone could experience “the blues” this way!
A few days ago, I highlighted a beautiful Canada goose I named Nike in honor of its incredible wings. Yesterday, I was able to consider in more depth features of this prevalent New England bird.
Canada geese arrive at this pond at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in early Spring and raise families before leaving in the Fall. Likeable and easy-going, they are comfortable co-existing with human visitors. I was able to easily photograph their famed “goose necks”, intricate layers of feathers, startling dark eyes, and bills that are perfectly attuned to their habitat. Because of my intimate visits with them, I no longer consider these engaging and attractive birds “just ordinary geese”!
Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way For Ducklings” (1941) is a classic children’s story of a mallard couple who raise a family in a park in Boston, Massachusetts. When I was a primary school teacher, I read this imaginative book dozens of times to my students.
It was wonderful to pass a peaceful hour observing a real mallard couple at the Audubon. Their vibrant colors, patterns and serene presence were delightful. It was easy to understand why McCloskey chose to feature these creatures in his story.