Milly is super excited to get out on the sanctuary to see how spring is springing. Owen and Milly have seen dozens of spotted salamanders in our vernal pool. They have also seen wood ducks, mallards, and wood frogs too!
Although it remains mysterious to science how nature calms and restores our brain, it never ceases to amaze me how a brief respite walking through a garden to watch seedlings emerge after a long winter or sauntering through a woodland and hearing the songbirds sing for the first time in many months revitalizes the spirit.
Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
― Mary Oliver, How I go to the Woods
The woods and meadows at the Museum of American Bird Art are alive with sounds, sights, and spirit of spring – renewal and rebirth.
The wood frogs and spotted salamanders have come and gone from the vernal pools, leaving tens of thousands of eggs that will soon hatch. The young tadpoles and salamander larvae that emerge are tenacious. In their struggle to survival and transform, their tiny bodies expend so much energy that the pond is constantly full of tiny ripples that are visible only when you slow down, look closely, and remain still. Oh, what joy these splendid little puddles in the woods bring after a long winter.
While the vernal pool awakes, it’s bounty will nurture the nearby woods and the Barred Owl eagerly watches and waits…
Rarely does the moment arrive when everything seems to fit together perfectly and converges at just the right moment, but that’s probably why transcendent moments are so rare and special and our vacation campers had this type of moment this morning.
Over the past few weeks, we have been keeping tabs on a pair of Great Horned Owls and a single Barred Owl that have been very active in our wildlife sanctuary. For one week, a Barred Owl has been roosting during the day in the same tree in our pine grove, but was not there today. Alas, I thought our vacation campers wouldn’t get to see this amazing owl.
BUT the reason it wasn’t in it’s daytime roost was because it had taken up residence in a nest that was in perfect view of the trail in our pine grove. This is the first Barred Owl nest we have ever found on the sanctuary.
So with the snow sparkling in the mid morning sun, an owl resplendent in it’s nest, the first people to see it were our vacation program campers and the look on their faces just tells it all, so much more than words could.
“ Pay attention.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
On January 1, 2019, Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening entered into the public domain and I have been pondering the lines from that poem, especially
as I take people on programs through the wildlife sanctuary – like high school photography students, develop STEAM curriculum inspired by our natural world, and continue to learn about our amazing natural world right here in Canton. Whose woods are these…
As I quietly walked through our wildlife sanctuary, through a grove of tall, spindly white pines and oaks looking for the aforementioned great-horned owl, a white-tail flashed and a “herd” of deer bounded away my foot steps. My attention was draw to a quieter, subtle sound of faintly rustling leaves and breaking twigs gave away the location of a no longer resting coyote.
Here is a video from our trail camera of four white-tailed deer bounding across the pine grove late one afternoon this new year.
Here is a trail camera video from the past week of a single coyote a little past dawn moving through the pine grove.
Since the New Year, our wildlife sanctuary has been bursting with activity fueled by an eruption of pine cones. Each day there is a cacophony of squirrels, both red and grey, and seed eating birds, like red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, brown creepers, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadees, and more. The ground is covered with pine cones, including this pile near a vernal pool on the property.
A red squirrel moved frenetically – both eating pine seeds and remaining vigilant for predators – like the coyote and great horned owl that have both taken up residence in the pine grove.
As a raptor hunted near by and blue jay’s mobbed the bird, a grey squirrel hung tightly to the trunk of a tree and tried to blend in until the danger passed. Whose woods are these…
Robert Frost reading Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Sticks cracked, boots splashed in the stream, and the sanctuary burst with life as students from Canton High got into position to take the perfect photograph of our natural world. On December 11, Patricia Palmer’s photography class from Canton High School visited the wildlife sanctuary to take nature photographs. We spent time exploring near our vernal pool, pine, maple, and oak forest, and Pequit Brook.
Along the photography hike, we encountered lots of birds, including red-breasted nuthatches, a fisher (Martes pennanti), an extremely rare sighting, and a raccoon all curled up in a tree hole along the vernal pool trail. Special thanks to the Marilyn Rodman Council for the Arts for supporting these wonderful programs.
The light and reflections of the ice were wonderful. Enjoy these photos of the trip.
On November 27, a thin band of light illuminated the museum and dark, stormy clouds. The low fall sun illuminated the landscape around the museum. It was a beautiful and uplifting sight. Enjoy this photograph of the scene.
As the leaves have dropped to the meadow and forest floor, the beautiful fall color has not migrated from the wildlife sanctuary, but has transformed with color radiating from the birds and fruit that are ever-present in the fall and winter. The bright red berries, from cherries, crabapples, and dogwoods, have been attracting hundreds of birds each day, including cedar waxwings. We have been fortunate to photograph large flocks of waxwings on the sanctuary.
We hope you enjoy these photographs of the Cedar Waxwings from the past two weeks.
The Museum of American Bird Art and Mass Audubon has partnered with UNC Chapel Hill to participate in a Citizen Science Project called the Caterpillars Count. Caterpillars Count! is a citizen science project the measures seasonal variation (phenology) and abundance of important food sources for birds, primarily arthropods like caterpillars, beetles, and spiders found on the foliage of trees and shrubs.
We have a wonderful team of two volunteers and Sean Kent, the education and camp director, taking data on a weekly basis. So far we have monitored over 1,500 leaves for arthropods. Stay tuned!
On May 11 and 12, the Museum of American Bird Art had 16 members birding and raising money for Mass Audubon’s Bird-A-Thon, in which we observed 145 species! The MABA team has raised $2,350!, which is outstanding, but short of our $3,000 goal. All the money raised by MABA’s bird-a-thon team will go to supporting all the wonderful work we do at the museum, including exhibitions, summer camp scholarships, school programming and more. Please consider donating by clicking here.
Enjoy a few of the species we saw over the 24 hour bird-a-thon.
Nature in a minute to start off the week of April 9, 2018. We’ve had wood ducks spotted at the vernal pool 4 times over the past week. Here are a few wonderful new trail camera videos showing the wood ducks. They spent over three hours in the vernal pool on Saturday morning, April, 7, 2018. If you listen closely to the black and white video (it’s take at dawn ~5:15 am) you can hear the wood ducks talking to one another, it sounds a little bit like zippers opening and closing. Enjoy the following three videos.