May 26, 2011

May - Visions of Life Creating Itself

Pink ladyslipper in evening backlight
With May come blossoms, courtship, and babies.  While many have complained about the relative coolness of this spring, I have enjoyed the opportunity to savor all of the unfolding life at a relaxed and comfortable pace.  From bare quiet landscapes to a cacophony of bird and frog songs and a festival of flowers and color, this month, like no other, reveals the power of the creative life force that we all share.
Shadbush bloomed began bloomed into early May this year, closer to its historical bloom time than it's been in a decade.
Bog violets at Great Meadows NWR, photo by Nancy Hartle
Love is in the air - Northern water snakes mating, the smaller male is wrapped around the female.

May 17, 2011

Special Photo Foray, Saturday, May 21, 9-11:30 am

Chestnut leaf highlights
Gowing's Swamp and Great Meadows
Boggy blooms and brimming pools, ladyslippers, vistas, and skyscapes.  Join me for a journey into the vernal landscape at Gowing's Swamp and Great Meadows NWR - two of Concord's most beautiful wetland wonderlands.  In an adventure of seeing, learning, and creating, we'll tune-in to the subtle colors emerging in the landscape, the softening light, and all the lively signs of the season.  Tips on composition, lighting, exposure, and depth of field will be shared along the way.  Bring a digital or film camera with which you are familiar.  All levels of experience are welcome.

Photo Foray -  Saturday, May 21, 9-11:30 am

Meet in the large parking lot at the Ripley School, end of Meriam Road, Concord, MA.

Fee:  $25   Limited to 12 participants, ages 9 - adult.

Pre-payment will secure your registration and assure any last minute logistical communications.  For registration details by mail, please email me at or call 978-369-4289 (and leave a message in VM box #1).  You can also pay directly and securely with PayPal or your credit card, using the button below:

May 15, 2011

May Walk at GMNWR - Spring surprises

Bog or Lance-leaved violet (Viola lanceolata), photo by Nancy Hartle
We had a calm and relatively dry morning for our May walk, with a soft green light and few biting bugs.  It began with the beating wings of two circling swans and a chorus of warbling vireo, Baltimore orioles, yellow warblers, yellow throats, and the incessant creaking and calling of redwing blackbirds and grackles.  Crab apple blossoms light up this dark day and perfume the air.

Several new walkers were introduced to some of the history and various plant communities at Great Meadows:  oak-pine forests, transitional lower slope woodlands, red maple swamp, shallow emergent marshlands, floodplain forest, and seepage areas.  Some of the plant highlights included northern sweet gale, marsh equisetum or horsetail, emerging swamp dogwood and northern arrowwood leaves, highbush blueberry blossoms, various floodplain trees, and some early spring mustards including cuckoo flower, winter cress, and garlic mustard.

Swallows were busy gathering low flying insects, chimney swifts were darting above the trees along the river, and a few new Canada goose goslings were out strolling with their watchful parents.

Walker Nancy Hartle discovered a small grouping of Bog violets on the eastbound segment of the dike trail (shown above), adding a new plant species to our Great Meadows list.

Stay tuned for upcoming walk and program dates through the coming months!

May 13, 2011

Monthly Great Meadows Walk - May

Cherrie (right) introduces some of the trees at Great Meadows.
Sunday, May 15, 9:30-11:30 am
Rain or Shine

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

Join me for spring revelry along the trails at Great Meadows.  This weekend marks the annual crescendo of spring songbird migration and vernal blossoming.  We'll explore the plant life, abundant birdsong and emerging snakes and turtles along the marsh, riverside, and woodland trails.  Remember your sunscreen and bring binoculars and a camera, if you have them.
Shadbush blossoms in early May
No pre-registration required.  A $5/person voluntary donation will be gratefully accepted.

Led by Cherrie Corey, naturalist and photographer 

Co-sponsored by Musketaquid Arts and Environ. Program  and Friends of the Assabet River NWR

Meet at Great Meadows NWR in Concord, MA.  (Monsen Road, off Rte. 62, driveway on left where road curves right.)

For questions, email or call 978-760-1933.