Red-tailed Hawks

Charles river red tail Cambridge
Red-tailed Hawks are EVERYWHERE! This one landed right on top of my head on Soldiers Field Road across from the Charles.

Charles river red tail Cambridge 3
He was not a bit afraid of me or the cars or anything. The same day, I saw 14 Red-tails from inside my car. Some were above the highway, while some were in the brush a few feet away from the Sudbury River.

Charles river red tail Cambridge 2
Consider yourself blessed if you get this close to a red-tailed Hawk. These are gorgeous, intelligent, adaptable, and ingenious hunters who can survive anywhere!

redtailed hawk framingham
This is why its called a Red Tailed hawk!

redtail 3 01 11
Red-tailed Hawk carrying his meal. I think it's a mouse!


Peter's Northern Shoveler!

Petes northern shoveler
Photo by Peter Wrublewski

I think this photo of a Northern Shoveler is absolutely incredible. I'm not bragging, because it was taken by my son, but I really wish I could claim it as my own.

Petes shoveler 2
Photo by Peter Wrublewski

I've never even seen a Northern Shoveler - although I desperately want to see one. I want to see one this close, too!

Petes northern shoveler 2
Photo by Peter Wrublewski

Here's an interesting angle! A Northern Shoveler coming right at your face!

Petes shoveler
Photo by Peter Wrublewski

This was taken down the cape somewhere. They stopped the car near the water, and he was just a few feet away from them. I admit to being equally lucky when looking for the Greater White-fronted Goose, but I'd much rather see a Shoveler!


Spring has finally arrived!

Karens Crocus

Spring really has Sprung, now!

Crocus for Karen
These crocuses are for Karen, whose bulbs were all eaten by bunnies last year.

more crocus for Karen
More croci from the front yard.

aunt ceels robin
A Robin for my Aunt Ceel, who saw one two weeks or so ago,


Greater White-fronted Goose

greater white fronted goose Sharon 3 17 2011
Pete and I took a wrong turn, and before I could turn around I saw a flock of Canada Geese and SOMETHING DIFFERENT swimming in Lake Massapoag! I left the car in the middle of the road - still running, even! - and there he was! We had been back in Sharon for all of five minutes!

greater white fronted goose Sharon two 3 17 2011
A very nice woman let us enter her yard to get these shots.

greater white fronted goose Sharon three 3 17 2011
No one we talked to near Lake Massapoag was even slightly interested in a rare goose. One women said she couldn't care less! Too many oglers maybe?

greater white fronted goose Sharon four 3 17 2011
Our family lived in Sharon for 15 years, so we are almost residents, too.

greater white fronted goose Sharon five 3 17 2011
An hours drive each way, and we might have missed him if I didn't take one wrong turn!


Last Year We Had Flowers!

first spring flower 3/5/2010
This time last year, spring had sprung here in Framingham,MA! Check out my post from March 5, 2010.

If there are crocus now, they are under the snow!


Bluebirds in the Snow

Winter bluebird
An Eastern Bluebird in the snow is not as unusual as I once thought. Like the American Robin, bluebirds sometimes winter in Massachusetts. On the other hand. he may have spent the winter in a warmer climate and only recently returned.

Pete's  winter bluebird
My son took this photo, which nicely shows the patterns and colors on the male Eastern Bluebird.

march bluebird female
Female Eastern Bluebirds are usually describes as having more muted coloring than the males, but this one didn't look blue at all to me. In fact, initially I denied that it was a bluebird at all!

March bluebird
Eastern Bluebirds like to perch at the tippity-top of branches, poles, etc. as they scan for prey. This habit makes them easier to spot than many small birds.

march backyard Blue Jay
I returned home to find a more familiar blue bird waiting for me. We have had as many as eight Blue Jays in the back yard at the same time this winter.


Nesting Great Horned Owl!

Nesting Great Horned Owl
A nesting Great Horned Owl! I haven't even seen a Great Horned Owl since I left California 26 years ago - never mind seeing one on a nest. You could kill me now and I would die happy! I should point out that I didn't find the owl myself. This owl was discovered by an amateur naturalist named Lois. This is Lois's nesting Great Horned Owl.

Great Horned Owl through the trees
Great Horned Owls were magical to me long before 'Harry Potter.' When I live in California, a Great Horned owl flew right over my head almost every night when I went walking in a wildlife sanctuary. If you are lucky enough to experience the majestic and supernaturally silent flight of a Great Horned Owl even once in your life, you are very lucky. It happened to me hundreds of times, and each time it was sheer magic.

First Owl
Would you have known this was an owl if you saw it yourself? I wouldn't, and I consciously look for owls almost all the time. If I had been walking through these woods in the snow, though, I wouldn't have noticed it. Congratulations, Lois!


Fantastic Flight Photos!

mrs mallard landing
My husband took all of these fantastic birds in flight group. He is awesome at the action shots! This is a female mallard coming in for a landing right under the bridge.

sudbury river mallard female
Female Mallard after the crash landing.

duck shadow
My husband also captured an incredible series of this mallard in flight with his shadow on the icy water.

mallard flying framingham
Another of the mallard with reflection.

ring necked little
This is a ring-billed duck in flight, taken from an unusual angle. I love that eye!


Common Mergansers: Birds of Prey?

male common merganser
Yes! Common Mergansers, too! I haven't accomplished much in the way of seeing new species this winter, but at least I got Hooded Mergansers, Red-breasted Mergansers, and now Common Mergansers. Yeah!!! The Common Merganser males are very regal looking.

female common merganser 3 1 11
Like the other merganser's, Common Merganser females have that crazy 'I Love Lucy' hair. But a careful look reveals that she, too, is a very attractive duck.

merganser eats huge fish
You wouldn't believe the size of the fish she swallowed ! It was almost as big as she was. It took a long while to choke it down, too!

merganser eats huge fish 2
I never in my wildest dreams imagined they ate fish this size! After she ate it, you could still see it flopping around inside her neck and belly.

common merganser eating frog
He's eating a frog! Where did he get a frog in the middle of winter? My son said they dig the frogs out of the mud at the river bottom where they are hibernating.

Who knew that Common Mergansers were bloodthirsty predators?


Two Wonderful Wood Ducks!

woodie day 2
There were TWO gorgeous Male Wood Ducks at the Sudbury River on Saturday. This is the larger of the two.

wood duck large 2 2011
There was quite a significant difference in size between the two males. The smaller one had a rounder, more compact body.

wood duck framingham day 2
I am still awed by the fact that the most beautiful of all ducks can be found less than a mile from my house! They're all over this town, but most have no idea they even exist.

smaller wood duck day 2
I wish I could find a female and get a good shot of her. They are beautiful, too.