Friday, September 30, 2011

Different Reasons to Visit

People come to Great Meadows for a wide variety of reasons. Friday morning was busier than most at the refuge; by noontime the parking lots were full.

I had come to capture some of the maintenance activity that happens at the refuge. Ziggy was there with the chipper. He and Alan were cutting down many of the maples that were growing into the banks of the dike.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;
You can barely see Ziggy and his chainsaw cutting down the cluster of maples

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;
Forty five minutes of cutting is rapidly turned to wood chips and recycled into the refuge


Every morning I was at the refuge this summer, I would encounter Mora who was obviously pregnant, speed walking to stay in great physical shape. While I was helping Alan and Ziggy by dragging branches they had cut to the chipper, I saw her for the first time in a couple weeks with her new son Phineas. She stopped for a brief moment to let me take their photo.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;

A large group from Temple Sinai in Brookline came to the refuge for a wonderful walk on a sunny day to enjoy God's creation, hold a small service for the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and spend time in fellowship. For a change birds got to hear people singing and the blowing of the shofar. Before they left, the children enjoyed using the telescope and the views from the tower.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;


Back in the refuge the sparrows are very active up and down the trails. They are often seen along the edges of the trails and in the reeds. One very cooperative subject worked his way up a cat tail until he was perching on the top, reminding me of this summer's Marsh Wrens.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;


Wandering around the refuge several other sights caught my eye.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;
While the ducks are generally skittish, this pair were feeding amongst the smart weed creating a classic Great Meadows image.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;
Ladybugs are everywhere (well it just seems that way) if you look close enough

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;
This explosion of mushroom occurred in the last week. It wasn't here the last time I walked by.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110930 &emdash;

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Glimpses of a Walk

Wednesday morning, I stopped by Great Meadows for a morning stroll to enjoy a sunny day before several days of forecast rain arrived.

Some post I have encountered a photographic "vein" that I mine and share those results. Other times, I visit with a certain predisposition, like shooting landscapes or birds, and share the results. Today was just take a walk and see what caught my eye. Some sights were new, others are old favorites but remarkably cooperative or slightly different than previous photos of that subject.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;
Click on this image to see the detail in the moth

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;
Milkweed seeds departing the pod

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;
Mushroom pushing aside the leaf litter to expose itself to the world

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;
YACG - Yet Another Canada Goose

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;
Great Blue Heron flew so close, I could barely fit it in the viewfinder

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;
Chickadee looking for food under the lichen

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;
Goldfinch on Evening Primrose with Spider Web

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110928 &emdash;

Monday, September 26, 2011

They Are Everywhere!

Monday I unsuccessfully attempted another time lapsed video of a day at Great Meadows. The video of the early morning so greatly exceeds the rest of the day, that my Rose Mary Woods moment was just my preliminary edit. Please take a moment to watch the fog, mist and sunlight dance across the upper impoundment.



Autumn is my favorite time of year. Whether cuased by divine creation or random chance you must admit that the fall interplay of color and light is one of the special aesthetic joys of living in New England.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;
Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;


Wandering out the Cross Dike Trail you could not help to notice that spider webs were everywhere. Draped in morning dew, they sparkled like diamond necklaces. The spiders were equal opportunity weavers, even the lowly tick trefoil was bejeweled.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;


With the onset of fall, the population of dragonflies has been greatly reduced. The reddish Meadowhawks are the perfect complement to the earth tone pallet of fall. I have been noticing more damselflies. The dragonflies that persist are now much larger.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;


Most of the flowering plants have turned to seed. The few splashes of floral color are like small paint splatters that were not cleaned up after the summer's painting. Down in the shade of the cattails I saw this chicory plant blooming. The insect was a bonus.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;


Turtles were not quite as prolific, but I encountered several during the day. This tiny baby snapping turtle was crossing the dike trail along the lower impoundment. When it encountered me, it wasn't sure how to react and just froze until I retreated to a safe distance. Along the observation deck several painted turtles were sunning themselves. One appears to have caught the "planking" craze. I wondered what his plan was to get back down.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;


More ducks have been visiting the refuge. Wild ducks are skittish so they are often found hiding and feeding among the aquatic vegetation of the impoundments. Occassionally you will observe them closer to shore...until they realize you are watching them. The best observations are as they take off and land.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;


While waiting for more ducks to arrive I was lucky to observe these Great Blue Herons fighting over a fish. One had caught this large fish and the other flew over to get his fair share of the food. The fisherman was able to scare away the thief and focus his energy on exactly how he was going to swallow that fish.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;


Will all the wet weather fungi and mushrooms of all types are prolific, especially in the woods. Here are a few more species that I haven't shared before or are better photographs.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110926 &emdash;

Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn Veggies

The weather forecast for the weekend is rain, clouds, and more rain. They forecast a brief 3 hour window Friday morning before it would start raining. Not wanting to get shut out of photography at Great Meadows for a whole week and with rumors of warblers in the area, I set out to get some quick photos before the rains descended.

Arriving on site with my long lens in hand, the bird activity was minimal and warblers were not being observed. However, in the brief 4 days since I was last here the refuge has started to explode with color! Trees that were green on Monday, were not starting to turn. Since birds weren't readily available, I used the long lens to shoot foliage close ups.


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
Smartweed turning on the Dike

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
A view towards the trees near the tower


With the slow morning, I was enjoying a relaxed conversation on the Dike with Will and Alan. Soon the Fish & Wildlife folks arrived. We are always curious about their activities so we wandered over to inquire what they were doing today. Amber Carr accompanied by interns Kristen and Ryan were going to be doing vegetation surveys in the lower impoundment.

Amber Carr is one of the Fish & Wildlife Biologists and was nice enough to explain the process before they set off in their canoe. So now rather than complaining about the weight of the long lens with nothing to photograph, I was now happy I had it. Without it I would not have been able to take these photos of them in action from the shore.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
Amber prepares to show me the process

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
About 30 data points in the lower impoundment have been identified for data collection

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
The flip side contains the GPS locations of each data point. Next to it is the sheet where they report the species observed and the percent of the area it occupies.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
They nominally use a canoe, but it is easier to drag it through the water than paddle it through all the vegetation


Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
Kristen monitors the GPS and provides directions to the next data point

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
Arriving at their data point they throw out this rig which defines the area to be surveyed

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
Ryan is examining vegetation while they log the results

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
They also measure the height of the vegetation and the density in a three meter area. Amber is holding the measuring pole at the waterline, while Kristen determines the height of the vegetation.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
Then they begin the slow walk to the next data point



Here are a couple bonus shots from the morning.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
If you look closely you will notice ladybugs everywhere. Here one is on the smartweed.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
Alan was "complaining" that I didn't have enough birds in flight. So these ducks are for him.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;
It's not clear whether there are more lady bugs of frogs. If you are paying attention you will hear frogs jumping off the edges of the paths to safety as you walk by.

Light Chronicle | Photography: GM20110923 &emdash;

I slowly crawled up to this Leopard Frog, stopping to take photos as I went. I finally got so close that with my macro lens I could not fit the whole frog in my viewfinder. Will saw how close I was and inquired if I had glued the frog to the ground. Being so close I had to take this portrait shot. I try to avoid stressing or scaring the subjects, but often times if you are patient enough and make very small moves over time some animals will allow you close.