Weather at Bedford, Hanscom Field, MA - via NOAA's National Weather Service

Thursday, July 23, 2009

quick birdwatching

I was out doing errands and it didn't make sense to go home before I picked up my son from camp, but then I got there way early. Luckily, there is a wetland across the street from where he is at camp this week, AND I have started keeping a pair of small binocs in my glove compartment. SO I figured I'd check out the scenery since I thought I'd seen a kingfisher as I drove in.
And indeed I had. In about 20 minutes I saw the kingfisher fly around a few times and eat something (a crayfish?), though I missed its dive. I also saw several flickers hanging around one of many dead trees in the area, a blue jay, two crows sitting quietly in another dead tree, several robins and several red-winged blackbirds, and had a catbird scold me from a nearby shrub. In addition, I heard bullfrogs and saw a couple of (song?) sparrows. Not a bad way to spend time!
Here's a picture of the area.

Monday, July 20, 2009

turk's cap lily

Here are some pics of the turk's cap lilies I mentioned earlier today. The tallest are around seven feet tall.


We've actually had quite a few nice days in a row now - it finally feels like summer. The day lilies are blooming and the turk's cap lilies are beginning to bloom. And lots of baby birds around. Up in Maine over the weekend we saw a mama mallard with two ducklings, and yesterday a mama turkey with a whole brood of poults (baby turkeys) - I couldn't count them all (we were driving), but I bet there were at least 12. And then a bunch of wrens - I think they must have been fledging, judging by the tentative behavior and the fact that there were several in the same area.

You can barely see the sky from my house these days, with all the trees in full leaf. Usually that is a good thing in the summer - keeps the heat down inside the house - and now that the weather is warming up, I think we'll appreciate it again. Sometimes I wouldn't mind a little more sun, but then I can go for a walk to one of the meadows nearby, or up on the power lines, where there is a lot of edge habitat and I can get a great look at lots of cool stuff. Plus, the blueberries on the power lines are coming ripe, and they make a really tasty snack!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

catching up...

Yeah, yeah, I know, but I've been busy. I went kayaking again, and hiking to the alpine zone in the White Mountains. The mountains were foggy and rainy, unfortunately - we never made the peaks.
Yesterday I had two great hawk sightings. First, on a morning walk, I got to watch a Cooper's hawk preening, and then later, out on the Concord River, I had a Red-tail circling over me for quite some time - I guess he/she didn't like me in that territory!

Here's something I've been watching grow all over my area for the past couple of weeks, and finally got the camera out. Indian pipes are one of the weirdest plants around. The have no chlorophyll, so rely on certain trees and fungi to parasitize, though not fatally. They are really cool looking imho, and pretty as well - very delicate and sort of secretive, somehow.

And here is an update on that robin's nest on my outside light. Look, two babies! They have fledged now, and are gone into the wide world.

And lastly, a yellow jacket nest that I came across this afternoon. Fortunately it was off the path, so I didn't step on it. I've done that before, and it is no fun! Anyway, I didn't hang around for too long, for obvious reasons, but I did watch for a few minutes, and snapped a couple of photos. The nest was more on the ground than in, and you can see that it is partially buried under the leaves. Pretty sneaky, if you ask me!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


We've finally had some nice weather the past two days, and I've been kayaking with my husband. Yesterday we went on the Charles River and today we spent three hours on the Ipswich River. A wonderful way to spend time! My husband is very good at spying any sort of wildlife. I'm slower at seeing it, but I am better at IDing things. So - we make a good team.
We saw lots of stuff out on the water, but some of the interesting things were:

A musk turtle laying eggs - right by the boat ramp at Elm Bank Reservation! I didn't know it was a musk turtle at the time, but now I do. We also saw one basking, along with a painted turtle. We saw lots of painted turtles also - more on the Charles than the Ipswich. Both rivers were, not surprisingly, quite high, but that made the boating easy - except when the current got too strong.

Pickerelweed - very pretty, and one that I felt I should have been able to identify right away, but wasn't. Anyway, now I know what it is. We saw pickerelweed on both rivers. And that leads me to another sighting.

We saw muskrats! I've never gotten a good look at one before, and today I saw two, napping. My husband saw one swimming, he thinks - he definitely saw something, but wasn't sure what it was. Anyway, muskrats like to eat pickerelweed. And they like to live in marshy areas, which much of the Ipswich river is like. We also saw lots of evidence of beavers, including several lodges, but no actual beavers.

On the Ipswich today, I saw a cedar waxwing, and many eastern kingbirds, at least, I think that's what they were. We saw lots of redwing blackbirds and tree swallows, and a great blue heron flying, as well.

All in all, two lovely days - maybe summer really is here!

Friday, July 3, 2009

more rain...

Well, I happened to see a neighbor on my walk this morning and he told me that in the past 36 hours (this was at 7am) we had had 4 1/2 inches of rain. Ugh! We did get some sun this afternoon, followed by another thunderstorm - then a little more sun, and now I think I hear thunder again. But maybe it is just fireworks... I can always hope, right?

This photo has nothing to do with anything, really - it is from 2/06 and shows my kids on Stinson Beach in northern California. BUT the sky is blue and the sun is shining, so it seemed like a good image to put up today.

At least the weather forcast for the weekend looks promising....