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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

Heron Celebration With Bonuses

Statuary from a local yard sale celebrates the recent surprising visit of a Great Blue Heron to our Zen garden.

A few weeks ago, a Great Blue Heron graced our Zen garden for a few moments before flying into the nearby woods. We began hunting for a heron statue to commemorate that event.
Serendipitously, a friend spied a pair of small heron statues at a yard sale shortly after the extraordinary visit.
In pride of place, the first heron now stands patiently in the “reeds” of the white stone river .
The second heron found a home in the zinnia garden.
As another bonus, a pair of wandering ducks was also found at the sale.
They are energetic and curious.
We never know where the ducks will wander. Hurrah for yard sales!

Iridescence

Glistening Ruby-throated hummingbirds will be heading south for the winter soon.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary iridescence is:

1 : a lustrous rainbowlike play of color caused by differential refraction of light waves (as from an oil slick, soap bubble, or fish scales) that tends to change as the angle of view changes
2 : a lustrous or attractive quality or effect
The Ruby-throated hummingbird is found throughout Massachusetts during the warm months. This female paused on the branch of a nearby apple tree recently, providing me with a close-up of her luminous feathers.

How I Miss Them!

A mysterious bird disease is affecting the Southern and Mid-Atlantic states.

Birdbaths in my yard, usually a focal point for visiting birds, have been turned over at the urging of Massachusetts Wildlife officials. Although not yet reported in Massachusetts, a mysterious bird disease has affected many Southern and Mid-Atlantic states. Since late May there have been numerous reports of dying birds with swollen eyes and crusty discharge, as well as neurological problems. In lieu of the bright colors and uplifting energy our feathered friends provide, I offer these digitally altered photos, hoping the birds will be back flitting around my yard soon, and in good health.

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.

Stopover

Summer friends.

Whether these birds perched on bird feeders, fence posts, tree branches, or telephone wires, I’m glad they paused long enough for me to snap a photo during the past two weeks.

Baltimore Oriole
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Phoebe
European Starling
Gray Catbird
American Goldfinch
Cedar Waxwing
House Sparrow
American Robin
Off to the open skies once more.

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.

Pond Party

Canada Geese goslings explore both open water and pond edge environments under the watchful eyes of their parents.

Canada Geese, Princeton, Massachusetts

Another “Bluebird”

Tree Swallows, with their deep-blue iridescent backs, are the first swallows to return to Massachusetts in the Spring. They compete with Eastern Bluebirds for nest boxes. These swallows were perched on the bluebird boxes at Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary.

Hawk Eyes

Red-tailed hawks have excellent vision; they can spot a mouse from 100 feet in the air. Hawks can see the colors that most humans can, as well as those in the ultraviolet range that humans cannot see.

Young Red-tailed Hawks, like the one pictured, have pale yellow eyes. The eyes darken to brown as the birds get older.

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

An Uncommon Visitor

Pine Grosbeaks usually inhabit Canada or the far West of the United States. However, this was an “irruption year”, when large numbers of the birds flew south in search of more available food. This bird took no notice of me as I walked up close to her to take pictures. Instead, she focused on an easy meal of crabapples ripe for the taking.

Eastern Towhee

Towhees usually stay hidden in the undergrowth, but this brave one ventured out to a nearby bird feeder, hopping on both feet to snatch up fallen seeds.

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