Close

Frozen Meadow Trek

Photos from a winter walk at Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton, MA,

It was a chilly 22 degrees at Wachusett Meadow today.
The Beaver Lodge was coated in snow and surrounded by ice.
A light layer of ice on the snow in the South Meadow shone in the low winter light.
Bluebird houses, abandoned until the spring, are a familiar sight along numerous trails.
The cross country skiers and snowshoers who trekked before me made my hike a bit easier today.

Follow the Fur

Eastern Gray Squirrel, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

Most Eastern Gray Squirrels don’t have the brown face and back stripe that this one, seen under the feeders at Wachusett Meadow, does. That makes it easily identifiable, and a perfect candidate for following this winter. I’ll be noticing how much time it spends under the feeders, how far it travels along the nearby stone walls and trees, its feeding habits, and its social interactions.


Critter Conference

An important meeting was held today under the birdfeeders at Wachusett Meadow.

Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

Feeder Friends

The ground around the feeders at Mass Audubon Wachusett Meadow bustles with familiar visitors during the winter months.

White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Tufted Titmouse
Eastern Blue Jay
Northern Mockingbird
House Sparrow

Suet Duet

Nuthatches and woodpeckers were engrossed in the suet feeders at Wachusett Meadow today. Meanwhile, the Wildlife Pond glowed with the rusty hues of late fall in Central Massachusetts.

White-Breasted Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker
Wildlife Pond, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, Princeton, MA

Lily Pad Launch

Autumnal lily pads dance within and over the Wildlife Pond.

Wildlife Pond, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

Wetland Colors

The vegetation surrounding the Beaver Wetlands is bursting with gold, orange and crimson this week.

Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, Princeton, Massachusetts

Heron Hike 2

The foliage in Central Massachusetts is becoming more brilliant each day. Swamp maples surrounding the beaver lodge at Wachusett Wildlife Sanctuary are nearly at peak color.

Meanwhile, the juvenile Great Blue Heron featured in the previous post is still roaming the sanctuary. It seems in no rush to migrate, perhaps because of the warm weather this week.

Beaver Lodge, Wildlife Pond, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary
Juvenile Great Blue Heron, South Meadow

Heron Hike

Vibrant ponds and the sight of a Great Blue Heron stepping out across the meadow combined to make a memorable fall hike at Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary.

Rock Fire Pond
Great Blue Heron
Wildlife Pond

Meadow Magic Hour

Late August meadows in New England foretell the bold autumn tree colors yet to come.

On a late August evening, Wachusett Meadow in Princeton is awash in gold tones and green shadows. The top of the boathouse rises up mysteriously behind tall wildflowers.
Looking across the stone wall to the North Meadow, raking light accentuates patches of green mown grass that contrast with alternating waves of white asters and goldenrod.
In storybook fashion, a shady path descends into the South Meadow.
Autumnal reds and yellows carpet the landscape.
Corridors of Joe Pye Weed capture the eye.
Wild asters surprise with their spiky yellow globes.
Unsurprisingly, I am not alone in admiring this magical habitat.

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.
%d bloggers like this: