Mallard Magic!

mallard female camouflage
Isn't she gorgeous? What about her amazing camouflage?

flying mallard fenwick dam
The mallards were seen at the Fenwick Street dam in Framingham, MA.

flying mallard 2 fenwick dam
Of course, they flew away as soon as they saw me.

green mallard
A male mallard's head feathers are actually black. The shape of the feather is such that it reflects light in two opposite directions. If the light hits the feather at one angle, you see the color green.

mallard face front
If the light hit at a different angle, you see a blue or purple head color. It is call interference lighting. The same phenomenon is seen in pheasant's neck feathers and in hummingbirds.

mallard fenwick dam
Iridescent green head at the Fenwick Street dam.

blue green mallard
Iridescent blue under the bridge at Wickford Street.


The Nature of Framingham's One Year Anniversary!

This blog started on March 19, 2009. It's time to celebrate my anniversary! I was going to have a retrospective of the past year, but since I am already late, I decided to post pictures of my favorite subject instead. These were taken today, and I feel quite good about them.

great blue heron happy
The Great Blue Herons have returned to the Framingham rookery! Today we saw them updating their nests.

grear blue heron 3 27
They were flying back and forth over our heads, going from the island to the trees on the shore. We were fairly sure they weren't getting food in the trees, but what they were doing was a mystery.

great blue heron grin
Whatever they were doing, they seemed happy about it!

grear blue heron with twig
When we saw that most were carrying twigs and sticks back to the island, we realized they were updating their nests!

gbh big wings
Look at the length of those wings!

gbh touchdown
A gentle landing on a branch.


White-breasted Nuthatches in action

white breasted nuthatch sudbury river
An unusual perspective on a White-breasted Nuthatch.

nuthatch catches bug
Check out the bug he just caught!

nuthatch with bug
A much better view of the bug he caught. Also, check out those FEET! And the wicked claws on his feet! I never even noticed before.

nuthatch d100
A classic nuthatch pose. This was taken by my husband with the D100.

nuthatch running
My photographer husband also took the next two photos, which are utterly amazing. Look closely . . .do you notice that captured in MID-AIR as he ran up the tree?

nuthatch hopping
How about this amazing shot? He is mid-hop with the big BUG in his mouth!

nuthatch flight
We both got shots of a flying nuthatch that morning. This is mine . . .

nuthatch takeoff
Tom took this one.


Brown Creeper: A Completely Invisible Bird

brown creeper sudbury river
This is a Brown Creeper; a bird I am very excited about seeing and and very excited about adding to my lifelist. I've been keeping my eye out for one for almost a year without success.

creeper on tree
No wonder they are hard to find - they're virtually invisible! And they are TINY! Smaller than a nuthatch, thinner than a chickadee.

brown creeper sudbury river 2
They have a very distinctive curved bill. They also move very distinctly. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's ALL ABOUT BIRDS site, the Brown Creeper, "creeps along tree trunks, spiraling upward, picking invertebrates from the bark with its curved and pointed bill."

creeper open mouth
Check this out! Click here to view this photo larger, and see the bug in his mouth! He caught one!

creeper invisible
Perfect camouflage!


Mother Goose, Live on the Sudbury River!

mother goose sudbury river
I took about 1000 pictures of what I thought was a rare white goose, until she got close enough for me to recognize. Who could mistake the world famous Mother Goose?

canada goose sudbury river
Mother Goose was significantly larger than the two Canada Geese who were escorting her.

mother goose closeup
The domestic goose also came and begged for food, something one rarely sees in wild waterfowl around here.

canada goose framingham
The Canada Geese were begging also, which is also very unusual on the Sudbury River.

goose teeth
The domestic goose has teeth. Perhaps all geese have teeth, but I haven't seen them before!


Springtime has arrived in Massachusetts!

first spring flower 3/5/2010
Spring has officially arrived! There is a flower in my garden!

first flower
Today the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I saw a flower in the garden! What more could you want out of life? I don't know what kind of flower it is (I'd guess crocus, but I didn't know crocus were so fat at the bottom), but today it was the most beautiful flower in the world!

Northern Cardinals Look Stunning in the Snow

1 cardinal
Even a raging blizzard can't dull the brilliant red hue of our Northern Cardinals - especially the males.

female cardinal february 3
The snow sets off the lovely tints of female Cardinals, as well.

female cardinal february 2
She really is a beauty. Subtle rather than flashy.

Northern Cardinal swoop
This guy swooped in, grabbed some food, and then he swooped out again in a heartbeat.

northern cardinal snow
This photo and the next one illustrate the dramatic fluctuations of the weather in New England. When this photo was taken at 9:00 AM on Saturday, it was snowing heavily and there was 1/2 inch of snow on the ground.

Northern Cardinal no snow
By 10:30, just 90 minutes later, the sun is shining brightly and the snow has completely melted away. I could hardly believe it, and I was born around here! The bright sunshine didn't last more than an hour, however. By noon it was snowing again. It snowed for most of the day, and the heavy low-lying clouds made the world dark and gloomy once more. Oh well. Spring is just around the corner.


Chickadee in the Sun, Cardinal in the Snow

perfect chickadee
When the sun finally came out on Saturday, everything looked beautiful - including the brightly lit background. The Chickadee, of course, looks beautiful in any weather.

perfect chickadee 2
He seems to have a very hard time actually eating the seed he brought to the branch. A friend of mine pointed out that sunflower seeds are pretty huge when compared to the size of a tiny Chickadee. They do keep coming back for more, so it must be working out for them.

perfect chickadee 3
Trouble with the seed resulted in a dejected appearance.
View Large On Black to see his face clearly.

cardinal alone
An hour before the Chickadee pictures, the snow blanketing everything and kept falling. It does make a nice background for the male Northern Cardinal, though.

cardinal fight
The cardinal was not pleased when some presumptuous sparrows joined his table.

At 9:00 AM the backyard was truly a winter wonderland.

prickers snow
Snow Falling on Branches.


Downy Woodpecker and Tufted Titmice Seen on Saturday, Too

feb downy woodpecker
The strange and wonderful Saturday continued with a female Downy Woodpecker at the seed feeder.

feb downy woodpecker II
That is not where I'm used to seeing woodpeckers, but she seemed quite content to be digging around for just the right sunflower seed.

feb downy woodpecker III
She finds a good seed and holds it up to the light - probably enjoying the sensation of eating food that precisely matches her color scheme!

perfect titmouse 2
A perfectly lovely Tufted Titmouse was kind enough to pose for a portrait.

perfect titmouse
Note the yellow tint of the feathers under the wings. It is that coloring that makes me think the next image -

perfect titmouse 3
- is a photo of a Tufted Titmouse, also.