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Painted (Turtle) Portrait Redux

Out with the old, and in with the new: a turtle sheds its shell.

Last June, I photographed a turtle on this exact log at Mass Audubon Wachusett Meadow. Yesterday, the turtle I saw there was shedding its shell. As a turtle grows larger, the outer portion of the shell, called the scutes, must fall off to make way for the newer, larger scutes.

Monarch of the Meadow

Increased monarch butterfly activity is a sign of fall at Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary.

This thoughtfully placed bench at Mass Audubon’s Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect place to sit and contemplate monarch butterflies.
The North and South Meadows are ablaze with goldenrod in the late summer. Goldenrod is an important food source for monarchs.
The majestic monarch has a wingspan of three to four inches.
In addition to goldenrod, adult monarchs feed on a wide variety of nectar bearing flowers in preparation for their migration to Mexico.
With their striking orange and black coloring, monarchs are one of the most easily recognized butterflies in North America.
The goldenrod this monarch is feeding on does not cause allergies in humans. Ragweed, which blooms at the same time, is the allergy culprit.
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