Author Archives: Ryan D.

About Ryan D.

Where: Mass Audubon Headquarters, Lincoln | Who: A Vermont girl with maple sap in her veins | Favorite part of the job: Exploring sanctuaries with camera in hand.

Woodchuck © Alyssa Mattei

Take 5: Where Did All the Woodchucks Go?

Woodchucks (also known as groundhogs) are among the few “true hibernators” found in Massachusetts. In late summer they begin to put on weight in preparation for the move to their winter dens, often located in wooded areas. From October through March, woodchucks settle in for a long snooze and turn their metabolisms waaaaay down to burn as little energy as possible. While hibernating, a woodchuck’s body temperature drops from 99°F to 40°F, and its heartbeat drops from 100 beats per minute to 4 beats per minute! Visit our Nature & Wildlife pages to learn more about woodchucks.

They may not be conscious to appreciate it, but here are five photos of woodchucks from our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest for you to enjoy.

Woodchuck © Alyssa Mattei

Woodchuck © Alyssa Mattei

Woodchuck © David Zulch

Woodchuck © David Zulch

Woodchuck © Diane Lomba

Woodchuck © Diane Lomba

Woodchuck © Ronald Vaughan

Woodchuck © Ronald Vaughan

Woodchuck © M Leach

Woodchuck © M Leach

 

Red-bellied Woodpecker © Leigh Scott

Take 5: Peek-a-boo!

This week’s Take 5 is a fun roundup of animals playing peek-a-boo with the camera. Whether they’re curious or camera-shy, these cute critters sure do make great hide-and-seekers.

Thank you to everyone who has submitted images to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. We’ll be announcing the winners of the 2018 contest soon, so stay tuned!

Barred Owls © Fred Harwood

Barred Owls © Fred Harwood

Painted Turtle © Michael Ross

Painted Turtle © Michael Ross

Weasel © Steve Flint

Weasel © Steve Flint

Otter © Amy Severino

Otter © Amy Severino

Red-bellied Woodpecker © Leigh Scott

Red-bellied Woodpecker © Leigh Scott

© Glenn Rifkin

Take 5: Bottoms Up!

Waterfowl exhibit a whole host of different feeding behaviors, like diving, grazing, or foraging. The most common, however (or at least the most commonly recognized) is “dabbling” or “tipping”. Dabbling ducks like the Mallards pictured below will simply “tip up” in shallow water to forage on the aquatic plants along the bottom. Swans, geese, and teals also display this behavior, although their varying neck lengths allow each species to access food at different depths. It’s a perfectly practical adaptation but one that can certainly be amusing to watch.

Here are five photos of Mallards dabbling away for your amusement. All of these photos have been submitted to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Bottoms up, duckies!

Mallards © Glenn Rifkin

Mallards © Glenn Rifkin

Mallards © Nicole Mordecai

Mallards © Nicole Mordecai

Mallards © Kris Bates

Mallards © Kris Bates

Mallards © Keith Gerrard

Mallards © Keith Gerrard

Mallards © Denise Cote

Mallards © Denise Cote

Holiday Brush Owl

Mass Audubon’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide is Here

Have you heard? Now through Sunday, November 18, Mass Audubon members can save 20% on our fantastic selection of nature-themed gifts, toys, books, and more in the Mass Audubon Shop.* Visit us in person at the Mass Audubon Shop at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln or check out a selection of offerings in our online store.

If you need some inspiration, find the perfect gift for everyone on your list in the 2018 Holiday Gift Guide, from birders to bee-lovers and from go-out-for-adventurers to stay-in-and-entertainers.

And remember, every purchase from the Mass Audubon Shop goes directly to support our mission of protecting the nature and wildlife of Massachusetts.

*Some exclusions apply. Valid in-store and online. Discount will be applied at checkout in the Mass Audubon Shop online store.


Audubon Bird ClockGifts for the Birder

Fill your home with the sights (and sounds) of the wonderful world of birds.

See all Gifts for the Birder >

 

 

Bee Kitchen TowelGifts for the Bee-Lover

Bee devotees will love our selection of pollinator-themed home decor, apparel, and toiletries.

See all Gifts for the Bee-Lover >

 

Stainless Steel Multi-toolGifts for the Adventurer

Check out these nifty gadgets and outdoor gear for your next adventure.

See all Gifts for the Adventurer >

 

 

Kids Fisherman VestGifts for the Young Explorer

Find great games, toys, puzzles, and apparel for the youngest Nature Heroes on your list.

See all Gifts for the Young Explorer >

 

Bird Corkscrew/Wine OpenerGifts for the Entertainer

Liven up the party with drinkware, home decor, recipes for “wildcrafted” cocktails, and so much more.

See all Gifts for the Entertainer >

Mass Audubon 32-oz Frog NalgeneGifts for the Mass Audubon Enthusiast

Show off your Nature Hero pride with hats, t-shirts, drinkware, and more.

See all gifts for the Mass Audubon Enthusiast

© Glenn Rifkin

Take 5: People in Silhouette

Silhouettes are a fun technique to play with in your photography. They convey mood and emotion in a unique, dramatic way and because the lack of detail leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination, silhouettes tend make it easier to picture yourself in the scene and feel like you’re really there. The key is lighting: the subject needs to be backlit (placed between the light source and the camera) so that the background remains well-lit while the subject is underexposed and very dark, if not entirely black.

Here are five beautiful photos featuring human silhouettes in nature, all submitted to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Feel free to use them as inspiration the next time you have your camera out and want to give silhouettes at try! The 2018 photo contest is closed but we’ll be revealing the winners soon so stay tuned!

© Glenn Rifkin

© Glenn Rifkin

© Andrew Dai

© Andrew Dai

© Rosemary Sampson

© Rosemary Sampson

© Jack Leigh

© Jack Leigh

© Melissa Asher

© Melissa Asher

Canada Goose © Davey Walters

Take 5: Comin’ In Hot!

Clear the decks, because these five birds are coming in for a landing, and they are comin’ in hot! These photos were all submitted to past years of our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2018 contest is closed, but the judges are hard at work picking the winners, so in the meantime please enjoy these five fantastic action shots and go capture some new images for next year’s photo contest!

Osprey © Dennis Durette

Osprey © Dennis Durette

Wood Duck © Paul McCarthy

Wood Duck © Paul McCarthy

Canada Goose © Davey Walters

Canada Goose © Davey Walters

Greater Yellowlegs © Rachel Bellenoit

Greater Yellowlegs © Rachel Bellenoit

Canada Goose © Marco Jona

Canada Goose © Marco Jona

"Onion Bagel Pholiota", Pholiota aurivella/limonella © Ed Anzures

Take 5: Fantastic Fungi

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have noticed it’s been a banner year for mushrooms (although, “under a rock” might not be the worst place to find evidence of fungi). The classic “stem-and-cap” mushroom is typically the first thing that comes to mind when most folks think of a fungus, but estimates indicate there may be more than 2-3 million species of fungi worldwide, outnumbering plants by 10-to-1!

Biologists initially thought fungi were a part of the Plant kingdom since they have a similar lifestyle: largely immobile, often grow in soil, and produce “fruit” or fruiting bodies. However, Fungi received their own kingdom distinction in 1969 and it is now believed that fungi are actually more closely related to animals than plants—they are both “heterotrophic,” meaning they can’t produce their own food like plants, which photosynthesize. In short, both fungi and animals eat other things to get their energy, using digestive enzymes.

So the next time you’re in the produce section at the grocery store and reach for a package of mushrooms, remember that you may be more closely related to those baby bellas than the avocados across the aisle!

Here are five fantastic fungi you can enjoy thanks to submissions to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Visit our website to see and download a handy Fungi By the Numbers guide and keep an eye out for fungi on your next nature walk.

"Bear Tooth", Hericium americanum © John Zywar

“Bear Tooth”, Hericium americanum © John Zywar

"Fly Amanita", Amanita muscaria © Bruce Gilman

“Fly Amanita”, Amanita muscaria © Bruce Gilman

"Onion Bagel Pholiota", Pholiota aurivella/limonella © Ed Anzures

“Onion Bagel Pholiota”, Pholiota aurivella/limonella © Ed Anzures

"Turkey Tail", Trametes versicolor © Kathryn Dannay

“Turkey Tail”, Trametes versicolor © Kathryn Dannay

"Yellow Morel", Morchella esculentoides © Brigitte Flick

“Yellow Morel”, Morchella esculentoides © Brigitte Flick

 

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

Take 5: Migrating Waterfowl

Fall is a great time to see a variety of waterfowl as they pass through Massachusetts on their way to their wintering grounds. Brant, Surf and White-winged Scoters, and Red-breasted Mergansers are best viewed along the sea coast, while Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Ducks are more likely to be found in marshes or on open bodies of freshwater anywhere in the state.

To see waterfowl to best advantage, join an expert naturalist during a guided fall waterfowl program at one of Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries. Or simply enjoy these five spectacular images of migrants you might be lucky enough to spot yourself, all previously submitted to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Female Red-breasted Merganser © Nicholas Corvinus

Female Red-breasted Merganser © Nicholas Corvinus

Northern Pintails at Joppa Flats © Ken DiBiccari

Northern Pintails at Joppa Flats © Ken DiBiccari

Buffleheads © Myer Bornstein

Buffleheads © Myer Bornstein

Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega

Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega (also pictured: Mallard ducks)

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

© Ken Conway

Take 5: Fall Color

All across Massachusetts, the landscape is lighting up with the brilliant colors of fall foliage. Accordingly, we are sharing five photos of stunning autumnal color from past entries to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2018 photo contest is now closed, but stay tuned for updates as we sort through the thousands of entries to find the next batch of big winners!

To help you get even more in the seasonal spirit, check out our guide to the Top 10 Fall Foliage Hikes at Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, get tips for taking great fall foliage shots from some of our top photography program leaders, and find a list of their upcoming fall foliage photography workshops in our program catalog.

Happy leaf-peeping!

© Ken Conway

© Ken Conway

© David Ennis

© David Ennis

© Eric Luth

© Eric Luth

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary © Christine Lockhead

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary © Christine Lockhead

© Michael Rossacci

© Michael Rossacci

Goldenrod © Katharine Randel

Take 5: Glorious Goldenrod

Ah…ah…AH…CHOO! Feeling a bit sneezy these days? Well, we’re here to clear the air—goldenrod is not to blame for your seasonal allergy woes. This bright, ubiquitous, late-flowering plant has been framed by the real culprit, ragweed, which blooms around the same time and often nearby. Ragweed’s light, dusty pollen is easily carried on the wind to hay-feverish noses but goldenrod’s pollen is much too heavy, making the latter all the more appealing for pollinators!

There are at least 15 species of butterfly and moth caterpillars that feed on the leaves and stems of goldenrods and the many species of insects that can be found on goldenrods, pollinating the flowers or feeding on their leaves and nectar, are far too numerous to count! Research from Cornell University suggests that Monarch butterflies actually face their greatest food shortage in the fall as they are migrating south, usually along the coast; so while milkweed is the primary food source for Monarch caterpillars, the adult butterflies rely on nectar from wildflowers such as goldenrod to fuel them on their long journey.

So before you go pulling goldenrods out of your yard or garden as a nuisance weed, give them a second chance. You might just be reward by a visit from some hungry butterflies. Here are five beautiful photos of goldenrod from our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest entries. The 2018 contest is now closed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some gorgeous photography year-round!

Read and print out our By the Numbers: Goldenrod and learn how to plant a native pollinator garden in your backyard on our website.

Tri-colored Bumblebee on Goldenrod © Ellen Pierce

Tri-colored Bumblebee on Goldenrod © Ellen Pierce

Orange Sulphur on Goldenrod © Richard Welch

Orange Sulphur on Goldenrod © Richard Welch

Monarch Butterfly and Goldenrod © Kim Caruso

Monarch Butterfly and Goldenrod © Kim Caruso

Monarch Butterfly on Goldenrod © Karen Lund

Monarch Butterfly on Goldenrod © Karen Lund

Goldenrod © Katharine Randel

Goldenrod © Katharine Randel