Saturday was a beautiful sunny fall day. This Rusty Blackbird was photographed in full fall plumage. Breeding adult males are black in color females gray. I rather prefer this out of breeding season look.
Rusty Blackbird (click on photos to enlarge)
Another bird with fall plumage I prefer over It’s breeding look is the European Starling. Not a popular bird for sure and many consider it drab, however in the fall it does look quite different.
Great Blue Heron
Passing the beaver damn I flushed out a Great Blue Heron. Fortunately it flew to a nearby spot even better suited for my photography needs.
I want to thank those whose blogs I follow, you have helped me become a better photographer. Not that I am in your league, some of you are amazing!
To those who follow me thank you, I am humbled. Just trying to improve my photography and share what I love about nature and The Great Swamp Conservancy.
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The muskrats natural enemy is the mink. They are so good in water they can swim backwards and stay submerged for 15 minutes at a time.
To learn more please visit http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/muskrat.htm
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Bull Thistle is an introduced wildflower to North America that many view as an invasive weed. Which ever your point of view there is no denying many of our animals use this spiny plant for food.
Post bloom, thistle down is produced. This will eventually allow the wind to carry seeds to new destinations. Unless of course an American Goldfinch (seen here) gets there first. Goldfinch are very skilled at removing the seed from the thistle down.
While Dark-eyed Junco’s and small mammals also enjoy the seed, Eastern Cottontail Rabbits and White-Tailed Deer enjoy the spiny leaves and stems.
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Images captured August 13 2016
A Killdeer search’s for food, taking advantage of the soft soil at the edge of a receding swamp. This being the result of a season with below average rainfall.
Nearby a Garter Snake (harmless) has left the safety of the tall wetland grasses where he resides. Vulnerability a price he will pay to bask in the warmth of the morning sun.
And on a hill overlooking both, a Robin is beginning its molt. Not pretty, but necessary. And when completed, a healthy new set of feathers just in time for the harsher months.
The dog days of summer are here, at The Great Swamp Conservancy.
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Images captured August 7 2016
One of three young Gray Squirrels who lost their parent on the road this spring.Fortunately the three were old enough to survive on their own. Often seen under the bird feeders getting seed. Or, if the door was open, running through the GSC store! Adorable and entertaining.
According to The Massachusetts Department of Wildlife and Fisheries after leaving the nest young squirrels will travel no more than 2 miles away.
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Image captured May 30 2016
Walking the trail and coming to the end of the Swamp to my surprise I encountered a small flock of Great Egrets. A bird almost hunted to extinction in the 1800’s for their beautiful feathers.I have seen them at Montezuma Wildlife Refuge but not at The Great Swamp Conservancy. Some were flying overhead, others perched together within the swamp. I assume they are migrating, stopping here for rest and nutrition.
I didn’t get good pictures of the Great Egrets, still, it was satisfying seeing them here. Those were my thoughts while putting away photography gear. Suddenly something caught my eye, an Osprey had landed on the telephone pole nearby. Grabbing the camera from the seat of my SUV I took a few photos.
It just goes to show, whether deep within the trail system or at the outer edges, pleasant surprises await you at The Great Swamp Conservancy’s East Side Trail System.
Images captured July 31 2016