Monarch Butterfly © Rachel Bellenoit

Take 5: National Pollinator Week!

June 18–24 is National Pollinator Week and we’re celebrating these wonderful and critical creatures that provide a much needed and under-appreciated service to us and to the natural world. The vast majority of flowering plants on earth need help from pollinators to reproduce; we need pollinators for our food supply and to support healthy ecosystems.

Enjoy these five photos of pollinator butterflies you’re likely to see in Massachusetts and learn what you can do to support pollinators.


Monarch Butterfly © Rachel Bellenoit

Monarch Butterfly © Rachel Bellenoit

 

Eastern Tailed Blue © Nanci St. George

Eastern Tailed Blue © Nanci St. George

 

Baltimore Checkerspot © Brendan Cramphorn

Baltimore Checkerspot © Brendan Cramphorn

 

Black Swallowtail © Amy Dahlberg Chu

Black Swallowtail © Amy Dahlberg Chu

 

Pearl Crescents © Kristin Foresto

Pearl Crescents © Kristin Foresto/Mass Audubon

What To Do This Weekend: June 16-17

Enjoy a weekend paddle, celebrate Father’s Day, look for fireflies, pick strawberries, go on a scavenger hunt, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Canoe at Arcadia

Cape Cod

Go In Search of Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds at Wellfleet Bay to learn about the connection between the two and the sanctuary’s research on horseshoe crab populations. (adults, registration required)

More on Cape Cod and Islands

South of Boston

Find out if you have what it takes to compete with the woodpeckers, eagles, and owls of the world as part of Avian Avengers at Tidmarsh in Plymouth. Learn about the superpowers of the feathered friends you can find right in your backyard. (adults, registration required)

Practice Yoga at Allens Pond in South Dartmouth with nothing but the sounds of birds and nature serving as the backdrop to your practice. (adults, registration required)

Using dip nets, microscopes, and other tools explore all things aquatic as part of a free Ponding Program at Luddard’s Ford Park in Hanover. (all ages, registration required)

More South of Boston

Greater Boston

Head to Drumlin Farm in Lincoln to dig in the dirt, meet some berry-loving animals, and pick your own strawberries to take home as part of Strawberry Day. Events are planned all day, while strawberry picking will be 10-noon (or until they’re gone).

Celebrate Father’s Day early with a relaxing Canoe Trip on the Charles at Broadmoor in Natick. Watch the morning mist rising off the river while we keep an eye out for Great Blue Herons and other birds gliding over the water. (adults and children ages 12+, registration required)

Go on a Dad and Me Scavenger Hunt at Moose Hill in Sharon. Once you decipher your first clue, head out on the trail to get to your new destination and find the next clue while enjoying the sights and sounds of the sanctuary.

Enjoy a free Coastal Bird Walk at Belle Isle Marsh in East Boston. Belle Isle Marsh offers a unique birding experience as it is close to urban life, but also has a highly productive coastal ecosystem. (adults, registration required)

Take walk around the field at Stony Brook in Norfolk to explore the lives of the Tree Swallows and Purple Martins that travel thousands of miles annually to nest in those boxes in our field home. (adults, registration required)

Enjoy Breakfast at Great Blue (with Dad). Meet at Trailside Museum in Milton for a light breakfast. Afterwards, go on a guided hike to the top of Great Blue Hill with a naturalist. (adults and children ages 3+, registration required)

During Natural Engineering at Boston Nature Center, find out what animals can carry 100 times their own weight or burrow into the ground to make a house with wood and spit. (families, registration suggested)

Spend part of your Saturday morning at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton having fun, exploring and discovering nature, listening to engaging stories, and creating art during their weekly Nature and Art Discovery Program. (families, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

North Shore

During Wildflowers & Watercolors with Joppa Flats, you’ll learn about wildflowers as you walk through their natural habitats. Back at Joppa Flats in Newburport, sketch what you’ve found, then paint them with watercolors. (adults, registration required)

More on the North Shore

Central Massachusetts

Look for Fireflies at Pierpont Meadow in Dudley. On this beautiful night hike, spend an evening in appreciation of these remarkable insects, learn about some of the challenges they face, and find out what you can do to help. (adults, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

As part of Turtles at Laughing Brook in Hampden, meet a live turtle, learn amazing facts about turtles, and take a walk to the pond to quietly search the shore for basking turtles. (adults and children, registration required)

Celebrate the coming of summer and Father’s Day with a leisurely Canoe Trip. Watch for wildlife (Great Blue Herons, beavers, dragonflies, and songbirds) and learn how to identify wetland plants (pickerel weed, buttonbush, and royal fern). (adults and children ages 8+, registration required)

More in the Connecticut River Valley

Goldfinch at Birdbath © Paula Stephens

Take 5: Bath Time!

“Splish, splash I was takin’ a bath…”

Today’s Take 5 is all about birdbaths! Many folks are taking advantage of the warm weather this time of year to spruce up their yards; landscaping to attract birds and wildlife is a fun way to make your home more welcoming for both animals and people.

Birdbaths are a great addition to your yard for a variety of reasons: they attract birds to your yard that don’t typically eat seeds (meaning you might not see them visiting your feeders), they provide a supply of fresh water for drinking, bathing, and cooling off in hot weather, and—as you’ll see from some of the photos below—they can also attract a variety of other fascinating wildlife.

A few things to bear in mind: Most birds prefer water shallower than 2”, so if your birdbath is deeper you can make it more welcoming by adding stones or gravel to the bottom or providing a larger rock or branch to perch on. Window collisions are always a concern near buildings, so either place your birdbath well away from windows or close enough so they can’t pick up enough speed to injure themselves should they collide with the glass after taking flight.” Learn more about choosing a good birdbath (or making your own!) on our website. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has some great information on safe placement of birdbaths and feeders.

The five photos below were all submitted to past years of our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest, which is now open for 2018! Send us your best shots of wildlife, plants, landscapes, and people in nature for consideration.

Eastern Bluebird at Birdbath © Pam Anderson

Eastern Bluebird at Birdbath © Pam Anderson

Raccoon at Birdbath © Lisa Gurney

Raccoon at Birdbath © Lisa Gurney

Northern Cardinal at Birdbath © Jack Bakker

Northern Cardinal at Birdbath © Jack Bakker

Albino Squirrel © Paula Sheehan Gaudet

Albino Squirrel © Paula Sheehan Gaudet

Goldfinch at Birdbath © Paula Stephens

Goldfinch at Birdbath © Paula Stephens

Snapshots of Bird-a-thon 2018

Mass Audubon’s annual fundraiser, Bird-a-thon took place in early May. Bird-a-thon 2018 participants have been sharing their photos and memories with us. Here are some of our favorites.

Gabby, Age 4, and Jack, age 2, honorary members of Team Blue Hills, view a Barred Owl fledgling.

John Zmud of Team South Coast Sanctuaries caught this Common Tern mid-meal.

Members of Team Stony Brook enjoyed the sunrise at Quabbin Reservoir.

Devin Griffiths of Team Moose Hill always gets great shots, like this photo of a Blue-Winged Warbler.

Team Habitat spotted this Hooded Warbler.

The rain couldn’t stop these birders from Team Broadmoor from getting the most out of their trip to the South Shore.

Mother and Daughter duo Lindsay and Susan got to many birding spots in Middlesex County.

This Cattle Egret, spotted at Cherry Hill Reservoir, didn’t look thrilled about the rain.

View more Bird-a-thon 2018 pics in the event photo album. Want to add your Bird-a-thon pictures? Email them to us.

The birding may be over, but the fundraising competition is still going strong*. Many teams are close to reaching or surpassing their goals. You can support a Bird-a-thon team or participant by making a donation. Funds raised through Bird-a-thon support nature education, land and wildlife stewardship, and so much more.

Want to participate next year? Join the Bird-a-thon mailing list to be alerted when 2019 registration opens.

* Team and individual fundraising prizes are announced in late June, based on fundraising results as of June 15, 2018.

What To Do This Weekend: June 9-10

Go on a bird walk, search for wildflowers, look for fireflies, practice outdoor yoga, learn outdoor survival skills on a river, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Starflower, Lysimachia borealis

Starflower (Lysimachia borealis)

Greater Boston

Go on a free Coastal Bird Walk at Belle Isle Marsh in East Boston. Belle Isle Marsh offers a unique birding experience as it is close to urban life, but also has a highly productive coastal ecosystem. (adults, registration required)

Young nature explorers can build and take home an animal that you made out of LEGO and  explore outside to learn about the amazing wildlife that lives in your neighborhood as part of  Nature and Art STEAM Lab: LEGO Critter Creations at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton. This month’s theme: Turtles. (families with children ages 7-10, registration required)

During Firefly Friends at Blue Hills Trailside Museum, enjoy a little ice cream, make a craft, and find out how you can make your backyard more firefly friendly. Then venture outside into the night to go looking for these flashing insects. (families, registration required)

Enjoy a Spring Wildflower Exploration at Broadmoor in Natick. Learn about asters, milkweed and other essential flowers for pollinators, and much more. (adults, registration required)

Go on a Fungi Walk at Drumlin Farm and learn how to distinguish a bolete from a gilled mushroom. In addition, find out about the crucial and sometimes astonishing roles these fascinating life forms have in the ecosystem. (adults, registration required)

Get tips on how to keep yourself and your family safe during Outdoor Safety for Beginners at Boston Nature Center. (adults)

More in Greater Boston

South of Boston

Go on a 2.5-mile beach walk at Allens Pond in South Dartmouth and Westport to look for Sea Glass to Canvas. After the walk, make a beach-inspired work of art using the materials found on our shores.

Take an Amphibian and Reptile Ramble at Tidmarsh in Plymouth. If we’re lucky, we may get up close and personal with some of these fascinating creatures! (adults and children ages 6+, registration required)

Using dip nets, microscopes, and other tools explore all things aquatic as part of the free Family Ponding at Island Creek Pond in Duxbury. (all ages, registration required)

More South of Boston

Central Masschusetts

Take part in Outdoor Yoga at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton to connect with your breath, body, mind, and nature. This class is appropriate for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. (adults, registration required)

This month’s Essential Nature Series at Broad Meadow Brook is all about Amphibians. Over the course of two Sundays, gain a thorough understanding of local nature, natural communities, and habitats. (adults, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

Explore the world of Dragonflies and Damselflies, jewels of the insect world, at Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton. Learn tips on how to identify the common species in our area and go for a walk to find them. (families with children ages 8+, registration required)

Get an Intro to Digital Photography at Laughing Brook in Hampden. Topics will include best practices for capturing an image, understanding exposure and focus, and using both manual and automatic exposure settings.

More in the Connecticut River Valley

Berkshires

Join Pleasant Valley for a walk at Post Farm Marsh in Lenox, a perfect place to look and listen for Wrens, Rails, and Other Marsh Birds.

More in the Berkshires

North Shore

During the Youth River Survival Canoe Challenge at Ipswich River in Topsfield, kids can learn the basics of canoe safety, paddle strokes, and the river knowledge. On Perkins Island, they will be challenged to craft a paddle out of natural materials, and then test it out on the paddle back to the mainland. (children ages 9-14,registration required)

Adults can enjoy Birds and Brunch via a morning canoe trip along the Ipswich River. Paddle upstream to Perkins Island and enjoy a yummy quiche and biscuit brunch with coffee and juice. (adults, registration required)

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More in the North Shore

Become a Certified Field Naturalist

Mass Audubon is launching a new, first-of-its-kind program in Massachusetts that will give you the skills and confidence to become a Field Naturalist!

During the 11-week Field Naturalist Certificate (FNC) Program, gain in-depth knowledge of organismal groups and how they are connected while taking part in field research, monitoring, and communication training. Mass Audubon Certified Field Naturalists will make a difference in their community through volunteer service projects that support our local natural resources.

Upon successful completion of the classes, fieldwork, and volunteering component, you will receive certification, signifying your expertise as a Field Naturalist.

Who Should Attend

This college-level course is geared to anyone looking to gain deeper knowledge of the natural world in a professional setting. Ideal for those who want to take a more active role in habitat management, educational programming, advocacy, and citizen science as a volunteer or for those that are beginning a career in the environmental field.

Course Dates

The certification program runs from August 29 to November 17, 2018, meeting Wednesday evenings (6:30-9:00 pm) at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester and every other Saturday (9:00 am-4:00 pm) at locations around Central Massachusetts.

In addition to the course meetings, all participants are required to complete 40 hours of independent environmental stewardship/volunteer work.

Course Modules

Through lectures and hands-on field work participants will gain a comprehensive, integrated understanding of:

General ecology Mammals
Trees (dendrology) Fungi (mycology)
Plants (botany) Aquatic biology
Birds (ornithology) Climate and weather
Insects (entomology) Environmental interpretation
Amphibians and reptiles (herpetology)

Course Goals

  • Understand and be able to articulate the importance of sound ecological management principles, climate change resilience, and land protection
  • Sharpen your ability to advocate for the environment
  • Develop a sound base of knowledge of Central Massachusetts’ ecology and natural history
  • Learn field research techniques and methodologies
  • Gain the tools to continue learning about the environment on your own

Cost

$1,100 members and $1,300 nonmembers

Learn More & Register

For more information, email Martha Gach or reserve your space by registering online.

Eastern Box Turtle © Kevin McCarthy

Take 5: Turtle Takeover

There are 10 species of turtles in Massachusetts, ranging from the tiny bog turtle, which measures 3-4” long, to the prehistoric-looking snapping turtle, which can grow up to 19” long. In addition, five sea turtles visit our shores, occasionally becoming stranded on beaches. Although many turtle species live in the water, all must breathe air and lay eggs on land.

With so much variety, it’s hard not to love these impressive, ancient reptiles, so here are five photos of native turtle species from past entries to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Please remember, although it’s wonderful to observe and appreciate turtles from a distance, it’s usually best to leave them to their business, especially those species that are protected by state or federal endangered species acts. Learn more about what to do in various turtle encounters on our website.

Snapping Turtle © Jim Morelly

Snapping Turtle © Jim Morelly

Wood Turtle © Jim Morelly

Wood Turtle © Jim Morelly

Painted Turtle © John Aberhart

Painted Turtle © John Aberhart

Eastern Box Turtle © Kevin McCarthy

Eastern Box Turtle © Kevin McCarthy

Diamond-backed Terrapin © Alyse Roe

Diamond-backed Terrapin © Alyse Roe

Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary Overlook

What To Do This Weekend: June 2-3

Check out a new wildlife sanctuary, attend a nature festival, purchase native plants, go on a hike, get photography tips, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

New overlook at Tidmarsh in Plymouth

New overlook at Tidmarsh in Plymouth

South of Boston

Get to know Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Plymouth during the Tidmarsh Open House. Explore newly created trails, participate in one of many guided walks, meet the Tidmarsh team and special guests, and learn about opportunities to get involved.

North River in Marshfield is also hosting their Native Plant Sale and Open House. Take a guided bird walk, tour the garden, check out the Barry Van Dusen watercolor exhibit, and talk with master gardeners about what to plant in your garden.

More South of Boston

Cape Cod and Islands

Take some time to unwind before summer madness during Self Care Sunday at Felix Neck in Edgartown. Attend a Guided Meditation and Labyrinth Walk, Vinyasa Flow Yoga, a Guided Kayak, or all three! (adults, registration required)

Explore the moors of Marconi in evening In Search of Whip-poor-wills with Wellfleet Bay. Listen for their plaintive call and learn about the fascinating natural history of this insect-eating, nocturnal bird. (adults, registration required)

More on Cape Cod and Islands

Greater Boston

It’s time to get your hands in the dirt, spruce up your yard, and go native! Stop by Moose Hill on Saturday or Sunday to shop our Annual Native Plant Sale.

Get 10 Great Tips for Spring and Summer Photography at Broadmoor in Natick. From tricky lighting to moving wildlife, we’ll cover these and other challenges as we explore beautiful late spring and early summer habitats around the sanctuary. (adults, registration required)

Spend part of your Saturday morning at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton having fun, exploring and discovering nature, listening to engaging stories, and creating art during their weekly Nature and Art Discovery Program. (families, registration required)

Go on a free Coastal Bird Walk at Belle Isle Marsh in East Boston. Belle Isle Marsh offers a unique birding experience as it is close to urban life, but also has a highly productive coastal ecosystem. (adults, registration required)

Join Drumlin Farm on a field trip to Hike the Quabbin Reservoir and experience the beauty, wilderness, and diversity of birds and habitats. We hope to see Hooded Mergansers, flycatchers, tanagers, Common Loons, Bald Eagles, and swallows. (adults and children ages 15+, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

North Shore

Head to Ipswich River in Topsfield for the Audubon Nature Festival. Throughout the day there will be live owl presentations, face-painting & henna, children’s games and activities, craft demonstrations, a butterfly plant sale, and more.

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More in the North Shore

Central Massachusetts

Go on a Saturday Morning Bird Walk for Adults at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. We’ll teach you the basics of birding and bird identification during an easy-to-moderate walk along the trails.  (adults, registration required)

Take a Family Hike to a Great Blue Heron Rookery at Rocky Hill in Groton. Our expert guide will teach you how to spot blue herons, as well as beavers, muskrat, and other wetland creatures. (families with children ages 7+, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

Canoe the Arcadia Marsh, Connecticut River oxbow, and the Mill River on this leisurely canoe trip. Learn about the wildlife that inhabits these areas and the ever-changing landscape. (adults, registration required)

Try your hand at Traditional Chinese Nature Painting at Arcadia in Easthampton and Northampton. Learn the meditative skill of preparing ink. Practice landscape, tree, and flower styles and compositions while delving into the philosophical importance of painting. (adults, registration required)

More in the Connecticut River Valley

Berkshires

It’s Family Fun Day at Pleasant Valley in Lenox. Enjoy nature exploration activities, live-animal presentations, music, and nature arts and crafts.

More in the Berkshires

Cedar Waxwing © Stephen Kent

A Sweet Bird-a-thon Victory

The rain may have dampened their scopes, but definitely not their spirits. Congratulations to these winning teams!

Cedar Waxwing © Stephen Kent

With an impressive 237 species, the winner of the Brewster Cup (most species recorded statewide) is: Team Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

This year’s Forbush Award winner (2nd place in species recorded statewide) is back in the winner’s circle with 231 species: Team Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

And, we are thrilled to welcome our 2018 County Cup winner to the winners’ circle (highest percentage of county par value): Team Arcadia and the Connecticut River Valley Sanctuaries (Hampshire County, 152/140, 109%)

Stay tuned for a master list of species recorded during Bird-a-thon 2018. Want to contribute to the Bird-a-thon 2018 photo album? Email us your photos. View the Album→

The Competition Continues

The birding may be over, but you still have time to help your favorite team raise important funds. Fundraising totals, awards, and prizes for teams and individuals are announced in mid-June. Donate→

Thank You to Our Sponsors!


Presenting Sponsor: Camosse Masonry Supply


Lead Sponsor: Eversource

Media Sponsor: 90.9 WBUR
Supporting Sponsor: ARE Demo & Excavation, Inc.
Community Sponsors: Dune Jewelry, MetLife, Lennox & Harvey, Lauring Construction

Erica_TworogDube

What To Do This Weekend: May 26-28

Go on a wildflower walk, take a beach ramble, look for birds, learn about horseshoe crabs, and more at a wildlife sanctuary this weekend.

Allens Pond © Erica Tworog Dube

Cape Cod

Go In Search of Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds at Wellfleet Bay to learn about the connection between the two and the sanctuary’s research on horseshoe crab populations. (adults, registration required)

More on Cape Cod and Islands

South of Boston

Look for Ospreys, Kestrels, Tree Swallows, Purple Martins, and Bobolinks and find out how to match bird songs to species during Phenology at Daniel Webster in Marshfield. (adults, registration required)

Learn about Wetlands at Oak Knoll in Attleboro. Begin indoors with a presentation, then head out with a teacher naturalist for a guided tour through marsh, stream, swamp, pond and vernal pool habitats. (adults and children ages 5+, registration required)

Go on a Memorial Day Beach Ramble at Allens Pond in Westport and South Dartmouth and explore the flora and fauna along our Beach Loop Trail. (all ages, registration required)

More in South of Boston

Greater Boston

Enjoy Saturday Morning Birding at Blue Hills in Milton. With its variety of habitats and number of nesting species, the Blue Hills is one of the best places in Greater Boston. (adults, registration required)

Join Habitat on a 6.5-mile morning Western Greenway Hike through Belmont, Lexington and Waltham to explore forest, meadow, and wetlands. (adults, registration required)

Spend part of your Saturday morning at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton having fun, exploring and discovering nature, listening to engaging stories, and creating art during their weekly Nature and Art Discovery Program. (families, registration required)

Drop in at Stony Brook in Norfolk for Recyclemania to make a treasure out of some “trash.” You’ll be amazed at the art you can make with a little creativity and a lot of things you might throw away. (children)

Look for Breeding Birds of Upper Mill Brook Conservation Land in Wayland with Drumlin Farm. You could see Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Great Blue Herons, kingfishers, rails, warblers, and more. (adults, registration required)

Experience the wonders of spring on a guided Spring Walk around Boston Nature Center.  Observe spring flowers in bloom, listen to the birds, and watch for animals tracks in the fresh mud. (adults and children ages 4+, registration required)

More in Greater Boston

North Shore

It’s Turtle Time at Ipswich River in Topsfield. Visit areas where turtles like to nest and bask, look at and touch real turtle shells, and with a little luck we’ll see if we can summon our resident snapping turtle, Godzilla. (families, registration required)

Search out avian activity in the Newburyport/Plum Island area, one of the best year-round birding locations in the country, as part of Saturday Morning Birding. Beginners and birders of all levels are welcome. (adults)

More on the North Shore

Central Massachusetts

Hunt for the Ephemeral Woodland Wildflowers at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton including trout lily, fringed polygala, and lady slipper. (adults and teens, registration required)

More in Central Massachusetts

Connecticut River Valley

Take a  Bird Walk at Graves Farm in Williamsburg to sharpen your bird identification skills. See and learn about the many birds that pass through our area at this time. (adults, registration required)

Sharpen your bird identification skills during the spring migration season during Early Morning Birding at Laughing Brook in Hampden. See and learn about the many birds that pass through our area at this time.

More in the Connecticut River Valley

Berkshires

Listen and look for Waterfowl and Warblers as well as, flycatchers, and other birds around the beaver ponds and woodland trails of Myrin Preserve in Great Barrington. This trip involves easy walking on relatively level trails. (adults, registration required)

Take a leisurely Wildflower Walk at Cold Brook in Otis to search for early blooming flowers. We’ll learn to use guidebooks and apps to look up plants we discover along the way. (adults, registration required)

More in the Berkshires