Category Archives: Take 5

Least Tern © Sandy Selesky

Take 5: That’s a Mouthful!

Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to talk with your mouth full? Apparently, these birds never got the memo. Here are five photos of birds that may or may not have bitten off more than they can chew, all submitted in the past to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2019 photo contest is closed, but we’ll be announcing the winners soon, so stay tuned!

Least Tern © Sandy Selesky
Least Tern © Sandy Selesky
Great Black-backed Gull © Susumu Kishihara
Great Black-backed Gull © Susumu Kishihara
Great Blue Heron © Jennifer Atwood
Great Blue Heron © Jennifer Atwood
Eastern Phoebe © Amy Severino
Eastern Phoebe © Amy Severino
American Robin © Raju Murthy
American Robin © Raju Murthy
Looking up at a colorful canopy of red, orange, and yellow leaves against a bright blue sky © Lian Bruno

Take 5: Things Are Looking Up

Things are really looking up these days…or at the very least, these photographers are!

This week’s Take 5 features photos of the forest canopy, all of which were submitted in the past to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2019 photo contest is now closed, but we’re hard at work judging this year’s submissions and can’t wait to announce the winner, so stay tuned!

Looking up at a colorful canopy of red, orange, and yellow leaves against a bright blue sky © Lian Bruno
© Lian Bruno
Looking straight up at a green forest canopy © Elizabeth Ninemire
© Elizabeth Ninemire
A vibrant orange and yellow tree top © Brad Millman
© Brad Millman
Looking up at a green forest canopy from the ground with a tangle of roots in the foreground © Carrie Coffey
© Carrie Coffey
Looking straight up a tree trunk at a vibrant yellow canopy © Elizabeth Ninemire
© Elizabeth Ninemire
Indian Pipe © Steven Basso

Take 5: “Ghostly” Indian Pipe

You may have spotted a strange little white flower growing in dark parts of the forest—often around beech trees—and mistaken it for a fungi, but Indian Pipe (a.k.a. Ghost Pipe) is actually an amazing kind of plant.

It contains no chlorophyll so, unlike most plants, it is white or pale pink in color instead of green. Without chlorophyll, it can’t make energy from the sun through photosynthesis, so how does this “ghostly” little flower get its food? Indian Pipe is parasitic, stealing its nutrients from certain fungi that in turn have a symbiotic relationship with tree roots.

Because it doesn’t need sunlight for energy, it can often be found in very shady spots on the forest floor and its ephemeral (short) growth cycle means it only appears for brief periods, usually after a rain that breaks a longer dry spell.

With their “ghostly” pallor and “sinister” parasitic appetite, these fascinating flowers make for a great way to celebrate Halloween, don’t you think? Enjoy these five photos from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest and have a happy, spooky Halloween!

Indian Pipe © Robert DesRosiers

Indian Pipe © Robert DesRosiers

Indian Pipe © Joy Yagid

Indian Pipe © Joy Yagid

Indian Pipe © Steven Basso

Indian Pipe © Steven Basso

Indian Pipe © Rachel Gorman

Indian Pipe © Rachel Gorman

 

Indian Pipe © A Grigorenko
Indian Pipe © A Grigorenko
White-breasted Nuthatch © Jorge Tavares

Take 5: Upside-Down

This week, we’re taking a look at things from a different perspective…upside-down! In-flight or on foot, these birds are turning things around with either their flexibility or aerial acrobatics on display. Enjoy these five photos from past submissions to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest (now closed for 2019), but don’t crane your neck in the process. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Red-tailed Hawk © Donald Arthur
Red-tailed Hawk © Donald Arthur
White-breasted Nuthatch © Jorge Tavares
White-breasted Nuthatch © Jorge Tavares
Black-capped Chickadee © Kim Caruso
Black-capped Chickadee © Kim Caruso
Peregrine Falcon (top) and Red-tailed Hawk (bottom) © Ramkumar Subramanian
Peregrine Falcon (top) and Red-tailed Hawk (bottom) © Ramkumar Subramanian
Black-crowned Night-Heron © Lisa Irwin
Black-crowned Night-Heron © Lisa Irwin
Eastern Chipmunk © Susumu Kishihara

Take 5: Don’t Get Cheeky With Me

The industrious Eastern Chipmunk spends its days, especially this time of year as the weather is getting colder, gathering and storing food in their burrows, which will sustain them during the winter. 

Seeds, berries, nuts, and fruit are the mainstay of the chipmunk’s diet, but they also eat insects, insect larvae, slugs, snails, and earthworms. Occasionally they will eat birds such as sparrows, juncos, and starlings, bird’s eggs, frogs, and small snakes.

Folks who enjoy watching the antics of chipmunks in their yards are all too familiar with their iconic cheeks. Chipmunks possess cheek pouches in which they store food before depositing it in their burrow. Researchers have reported watching a chipmunk stuff nearly six dozen black-oil sunflower seeds into its pouches!

Learn more about chipmunks (including what to do if one accidentally finds its way into your house) on our website and enjoy these five fun photos of chipmunks literally stuffing their faces, all submitted in the past to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Eastern Chipmunk © Susumu Kishihara
Eastern Chipmunk © Susumu Kishihara
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Eastern Chipmunk © Richard Cartier
Eastern Chipmunk © Richard Cartier
Eastern Chipmunk © Carianne Roche
Eastern Chipmunk © Carianne Roche
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Eastern Chipmunk © Colleen Bruso
Red Maple Leaves © Renee Sack

Take 5: Take It Or Leave(s) It

Fall foliage is coming in slowly but surely across Massachusetts. Pops of red, orange, and gold pepper the forests and hillsides as nature begins to wind down for the impending winter.

To help you enjoy the fall colors, here are five photos from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest featuring close-ups of leaves in full fall regalia. Get the most out of fall with our fall foliage guide, including the timing of various tree species, great fall foliage hikes, and tips for capturing your own spectacular fall photography.

Red Maple Leaves © Renee Sack
Red Maple Leaves © Renee Sack
Fall sugar maple leaves and waterfall © Michael Rossacci
Fall leaves and waterfall © Michael Rossacci
Fall Leaves © Mariann Bucina
Fall Leaves © Mariann Bucina
Sugar Maple Leaves © Derrick Jackson
Sugar Maple Leaves © Derrick Jackson
Virginia Creeper © Joan Lacey
Virginia Creeper © Joan Lacey
Red-shouldered Hawk © Brian Rusnica

Take 5: Red-shouldered Hawks

Throughout September, birders and raptor-lovers have kept a careful eye on the sky on warm days, looking for “kettles” of hawks, climbing slowly upward in a spiral pattern on rising thermals (warm air pockets). September is prime season for fall hawk-watching, particularly for the Broad-winged Hawk, which is so numerous at times that hundreds or even thousands of birds have been reported in a day, but if you haven’t had a chance to get out there yet, there’s still time!

Although the total number of migrating hawks begins to decline after mid-September,  the variety improves by late September and early October when more of the larger, less common raptors are moving. These include the Cooper’s, Red-tailed, and today’s featured raptor, Red-shouldered Hawks.

These distinctively marked beauties are typically smaller than a Red-tailed Hawk but larger than a Broad-winged Hawk. Adults have reddish banding on their breasts and black-and-white banding on their tails.

These five photos have all been submitted in the past to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Today is the last day to enter the 2019 contest, so submit your photos now! You can also learn more about fall hawk-watching, including how to gauge the best time of day and weather conditions, on our website.

Red-shouldered Hawk © Lee Millet
Red-shouldered Hawk © Lee Millet
Red-shouldered Hawk © Richard Alvarnaz
Red-shouldered Hawk © Richard Alvarnaz
Red-shouldered Hawk © Sandra Taylor
Red-shouldered Hawk © Sandra Taylor
Red-shouldered Hawk © George Brehm
Red-shouldered Hawk © George Brehm
Red-shouldered Hawk © Brian Rusnica
Red-shouldered Hawk © Brian Rusnica
Peregrine Falcon Tom Skala

Take 5: August 2019 Facebook Favorites

Over the course of the 2019 Photo Contest, we will be highlighting 5 photos from the previous month’s entries on Facebook and asking fans to select their favorite. This is just a fun way of sharing some of the amazing entries and doesn’t have to do with the official judging process.

You can pick your favorite by “liking” it on Facebook. Not a Facebook user? Let us know your top pick in the comments. And, there’s still time to enter the contest—the deadline is September 30!

American Toad copyright John Yurka
American Toad © John Yurka
Beach landscape at sunset copyright Marc Bouvier
© Marc Bouvier
Boy on the beach in winter copyright Richard Formato
© Richard Formato
Bee copyright Simi Rabinowitz
© Simi Rabinowitz
Peregrine Falcon copyright Tom Skala
Peregrine Falcon © Tom Skala
Belted Kingfisher © Christopher Ciccone

Take 5: Shake It Off

We all know that haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, but if you take after these finely feathered friends, all you have to do is shake it off! To get your week off on a positive note, here are five birds that really know how to let things roll, like water off a…well, you get the idea.

The photos in this fun collection were all submitted to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The 2019 photo contest closes on September 30, so submit your own nature photography today!

Mallard (male) © Krysta Bertoli
Mallard (male) © Krysta Bertoli
Belted Kingfisher © Christopher Ciccone
Belted Kingfisher © Christopher Ciccone
Mallard (female) © Jim Housley
Mallard (female) © Jim Housley
Black-capped Chickadee © Chad Parmet
Black-capped Chickadee © Chad Parmet
Mallard (male) © Srimanth Srinivasan
Mallard (male) © Srimanth Srinivasan
Eastern Milk Snake (juvenile) © Ashley Gibbs

Take 5: Snake My Day

We’ve given snakes some love on this blog before, but they’re just so cool it seemed like time for a redux. This time of year, as young people everywhere are heading back to school or leaving home for college, the young of many species of snakes are also setting out on their own in the world.

Some species, like Ringneck, Milk, and Eastern Hognose snakes, lay eggs during the summer that hatch in August or September while others, such as Copperheads and Northern Red-bellied Snakes, give birth to live young anywhere from mid-July through September, even into October in the case of Eastern Garter Snakes and Northern Watersnakes.

Massachusetts’s 14 species of native snakes can be found everywhere from wetlands to woodlands, from rocky hillsides to stone walls, and from forests to fields. You might even find an Eastern Garter Snake or Eastern Milk Snake hanging out in your basement, generously helping to remedy any rodent problems you might be having!

Enjoy these five photos of native snakes, all submitted to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Submit your own wildlife photography to this year’s contest and learn more about snakes on our website.

Eastern Ribbon Snake © Kathy Diamontopoulos
Eastern Ribbon Snake © Kathy Diamontopoulos
Northern Copperheads © Mark Lotterhand
Northern Copperheads © Mark Lotterhand
Eastern Hognose Snake © Patrick Randall
Eastern Hognose Snake © Patrick Randall
Eastern Milk Snake (juvenile) © Ashley Gibbs
Eastern Milk Snake (juvenile) © Ashley Gibbs
Northern Water Snake © Holland Hoagland
Northern Water Snake © Holland Hoagland