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November Jewels

Winter friends spotted on a recent visit to the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton MA. Wide-ranging colors and bursts of energy lift one’s spirits on a gray New England day.

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Snack Time

My point-and-shoot camera makes it easy to capture spur of the moment bird photos while enjoying a Fall walk.

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The Open Skies Lie Ahead

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.

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The Blues

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!

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Nike Up Close

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”!

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Make Way For Mallards

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.

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Ground Level

During a brief hiatus between snow squalls, there was time for food and companionship.

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Beware of Ticks!

Yesterday I overheard some hikers bemoaning the presence of deer ticks. I think this red squirrel concurs with them. After checking itself, it was ready to move on.

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You Otter Know…

…Spring has finally arrived in Massachusetts! At the Wachusett Meadow Audubon the river otter is sunbathing, the sheep are exploring the melting farmyard and the cardinal is chirruping his heart out high up in the budding trees.

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Red-Winged Flash Mob

Bold red-winged blackbirds let you know when they are near! They most often travel in groups, chattering noisily to each other from tree-tops before abruptly swooping out to a new destination.

They startled me recently when I witnessed them suddenly plunge from the pines to join a few grackles in a flash mob at the bird feeder.

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Walking on Thin Ice

The adaptable Canada Geese are back on the pond, and don’t seem to mind that it is still partly frozen. After a bit of slip-sliding away on the ice, what could be better than a quick “polar dip”?

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Two More Spring Arrivals

Hurrah for two common birds: The house finch and the brown-headed cowbird. They arrived at the Audubon just a few days ago.

This single finch was easy to spot among the chickadees at the feeders, while the brown-headed cowbird was part of a large flock who alternated between the tall pines and the feeders. The cowbirds seemed perfectly happy to mingle with the red-winged blackbirds and grackles. I love the cowbirds’ songs, which are described as “a variety of whistles, clicking and chattering calls”.

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