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Heron Hang Out

A Great Blue Heron and its habitat.

Great Blue Heron, Wildlife Pond, Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA
It’s common to see a heron on or around the dead tree branches during the summer, especially during the late afternoon.
The water is unusually high due to the record-breaking rain in Central Massachusetts. Plenty of fish here to attract a Great Blue.
It can be easy to miss a heron, as they often blend in so well with their environment, and remain motionless for long periods of time.

Wachusett Meadow

A meadow is an area with shallow ground water that allows grasses and wildflowers to flourish. Meadows support a wide range flora and fauna that could not thrive in other habitats, including flowers for native bees and other pollinators.

A recent ramble through this habitat at Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow enabled me to study and appreciate the flowers and grasses up close. In turn, three common meadow creatures kept an eye on me as I walked.

Eastern Bluebird
Common Purple Vetch and Other Meadow Grasses
Wild Turkey

Red-winged Blackbird
Common Milkweed

For more information visit: https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/wachusett-meadow

To learn more about meadow habitats, visit http://www.magnificentmeadows.org.uk/conserve-restore/importance-of-meadows

All Are Welcome

It’s turkey time at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton, MA.

Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary
A group of thirteen baby turkeys, also called poults, strolled with their mother last evening at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon. Starting at the visitors’ entrance, they ambled across the front porch and over the lawn. Their destination? Bird feeders with fallen seeds underneath.

A Home For All Seasons

A beaver lodge is built for any kind of weather.

A summer evening is the best time to view beavers cruising the Wildlife Pond at Wachusett Meadow Audubon, but the beaver lodge at one corner of the pond is picturesque in all seasons. Canada geese are especially attracted to this home on the water.
Lodge in Summer
Fall
Winter
Spring

A Regal Visit

This stately Ringed-neck Pheasant dramatically paused on a high stone wall for a few moments. His flamboyant red face mask and iridescent blue neck feathers were clasped by a white neck ring. Completing this regal couture was a train of extravagantly long golden brown tail feathers edged with dark brown bars. After posing gracefully over the rocks, he exited with dignity into the nearby meadow.
I hereby name him, “The Posh Prince”.

Ringed-neck Pheasant, Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA

Painted (Turtle) Portraits

The Painted Turtle, common throughout Massachusetts, spends up to six hours a day basking in the sun. This turtle was doing just that at Wachusett Meadow Audubon’s Farm Pond in Princeton, MA.

This photo study includes side and straight-on views, close-up and long views, and some images that include the turtle’s vivid reflection in the water.

The turtle dipped off the log at the sound of hikers.
A close-up of some water lilies nearby.
This pond was man-made for the use of farmers when these acres were part of a large dairy farm.

Flotilla

The North American River Otter and the North American Beaver cruise the Wildlife Pond at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in the early evening.

A Grand Design: Beaver Architecture

Beavers build lodges from woven sticks, grasses, and moss plastered with mud. These architectural marvels can be up to 8 feet wide and 3 feet high inside. A lodge is designed with at least two underwater “doors” to provide instant swimming access, while a “skylight” hole at the top lets in fresh air. There are two main rooms inside – one near the entrance that is used for eating and drying off and another used for sleeping and raising the young. On average, between four and eight beavers live in a lodge.

Beaver Lodge, Wildlife Pond, Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA

A Real Head-Turner

This Sharp-Shinned Hawk has no problems keeping a look-out in all directions. It can turn its head 180 degrees.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Princeton, MA

Otter Pond

This photograph recently appeared on Massachusetts Audubon’s weekly Facebook feature, “Weekend Goals”. Wishing you a relaxing weekend!

Otter Pond, Wachusett Meadow Audubon, Princeton, MA

Just Add Bluebirds

Bluebirds arrive in Central Massachusetts during the month of March. Dozens of bluebird boxes in the meadow are ready for occupancy.

Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

An Ancient Companion

The Great White Oak at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary stands in a clearing on a popular forest hiking trail. It is considered a “near champion” at over fifteen feet in girth and over 250 years old. The nearby bench lends a quiet place to view it more closely.

Summit Trail, Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary, Princeton, Masachusetts

Winter Woods Gem

Encountering this unexpected “treasure” enhanced a recent Winter hike.

Beaver Bend Trail, Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

Through the Seasons

This beloved Northern Red Oak at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton, MA delights all year round.

Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Meadow Lands

The juvenile eastern bluebird keeps watch over the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton, MA.

Here’s Looking at You

This brilliantly colored Scarlet Tanager paused outside my window for a short while today, just in time to be added to the bird count of Massachusetts Audubon’s Bird-a-thon.

Mass Audubon explains that “its largest fundraiser brings together supporters from across the state to raise essential funds for nature conservation, education, and advocacy”.

Because of the virus, this year all sightings were completed from the areas right around the participants’ homes.

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