May 30, 2010

At the Ready!

As I passed by, a visitor asked, "why would the refuge allow these folks to advertise their canoe for sale here?"  I offered that it's poised for the big water chestnut harvest next week.  Gettin' any emails, Alan?

Tufted Loosestrife in Bloom at GMNWR

The small colony of tufted loosestrife (Lysimachia thrysiflora) burst into bloom this week during the hot spell. A native member of the Primrose Family and unrelated to purple loosestrife, this is a lovely yet hard to spot wildflower that prefers cool, wet and protected wetland areas.

May 27, 2010

Screech Owl Birth Announcement

Screech owl

While Michael Kolodny was processing his recent photos of the Great Meadows screech owl, he was surprised to see an owlet emerge in the image of one of them.  Follow the link to his photos,

May 23, 2010

Monthly Walk at Great Meadows - Sunday, June 20, 7:30-9:30 am

An early start on this first summer walk, brings us the wonders of the lush landscape at its freshest.  Enjoy the lingering dew, choruses of birdsong, wildlife encounters, and many new summer blooms before the heat of the day arise.  Bring binoculars and repellent.
No pre-registration required. A $5/person voluntary donation will be gratefully accepted.
Co-sponsored by Musketaquid and Friends of Assabet River NWR
Meet at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, MA
(Monsen Road, off Rte. 62, driveway on left where road curves right) 

May 22, 2010

A Beautiful Caterpillar Resource

If you're interested in butterflies, moths, and their caterpillars, Sam Joffe's photos and field notes are a must see.  Sam has documented the caterpillars of Massachusetts in stunning photographs and detailed field notes.  He will be exhibiting his photos at Mass. Audubon's Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary from June 2 - July 30th.  Also see his photo and field note archive at  All of Sam's photos can also be seen on his website,
Sam hopes to join one of our monthly GM walks in the near future. 

May 15, 2010

Fringed Polygala is Blooming

Polygala paucifolia, also known as Gaywings, is a tiny, delicate beauty that blooms in mid-May in some mature Concord woodlands.

May 10, 2010

Poison Ivy - Don't Touch!

Poison ivy is abundant this year, bolstered by this spring's added rainfall and ever increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.  It's various spring guises are pictured here.

May 9, 2010

Storm Light

Walking out the Great Meadows dike trail in search of the light play at the end of yesterday's storm, I was greeted by these heavenly displays.
Imagine the amazing double rainbow reflecting off the
water.  I missed it but these walkers savored the moment.

May 8, 2010

Martha's Point in Concord

Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

I joined Emily Wheeler and others for a short walk around Martha's Point yesterday, in search of columbine and other spring flowers.  The dry, rocky outcrops that rise above the silty soils along the Sudbury River's eastern shoreline support an interesting mix of native and introduced beauties.  In addition to sessile-leaved bellwort, starflowers, and canada mayflower all in bloom, we did find the beautiful wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), hairy solomon's seal (Polygonatum pubescens), and common barberry (Berberis vulgaris).  Where woodlands met a driveway, we also encountered health escaped swaths of white Vinca or periwinkle (V. minor var.) and Golden dead-nettle (Lamium galeobdolon).  See all in the Concord Wildlands 2010 photo album..

Great Meadows Twilight Walk Recap

Several joined in a twilight walk at Friday evening. The air was still and the water calm as the weather began to shift from blue skies to gray. Songs of returning birds filled the air and buds, maple keys, and leaves were noticeably larger from earlier in the week.

Phantom-like clouds of "schooling" gnats hung under leafy bows and another ghostly flying species made dense clouds of synchronous movement above the dike trail, but very little biting from any of them.  These are a feast for the likes of the swallows we saw patrolling the pools and the first appearance of several teetering nighthawks.  A handful of spotted sandpipers dropped in for a night's rest.  Marsh wrens were bubbling enthusiastically all along the dike trail punctuated by the common moorhen calling from the same location it occupied last year.  Our walk carefully wove through a long line of Canada geese parents and their fetching little golden chicks.  Different parenting styles and chick personalities were very much in evidence last night.  Though the sunset colors were few, it was a sublime evening.

May 5, 2010

Monthly Walk at Great Meadows - Sunday, May 16, 9-11 am

Led by Cherrie Corey, local naturalist and photographer.

A continuing series of monthly walks exploring the landscape,
plants, and seasonal wonders of Great Meadows in Concord.

Engage in the full swing of spring along the shorelines and trails
as the fresh green, song-filled landscape greets us at every turn. 
Bring binoculars to view the many returning birds.
No pre-registration required.  A $5 voluntary donation will be gratefully accepted.
Co-sponsored by Musketaquid Arts and Environment Program.

Meet in the parking lot at Great Meadows NWR in Concord (Monsen Rd., off Rte. 62, driveway on left where road curves right).

May 4, 2010

Twilight Walk at Great Meadows - Friday, May 7, 6:30 pm

Led by Cherrie Corey, local naturalist and photographer.

As the sun goes down, Great Meadows comes alive.  We’ll walk quietly together in the evening glow as the scent of spring flowers and chorus of bird and frog song fill the air.  Come enjoy the magic and new life in this special hour along the dike trail.   
No pre-registration required. 
Co-sponsored by Musketaquid Arts and Environment Program.
Meet in the parking lot at Great Meadows NWR in Concord (Monsen Rd., off Rte. 62, driveway on left where road curves right).

Oh, Pachamama!

One of many mothers nurturing new life this spring at Great Meadows.  When she stood up, out scurried five downy chicks.