Tag Archives: photography

Eastern Screech-Owl © Amy Powers-Smith

Take 5: Owl Things Considered

It may still be cold and wintery outside, but things are heating up for our breeding owl species. Late winter is the height of the courtship and mating season for most owl species so there’s a good chance you may hear a “hoo’s hoo” of mating calls (although not all owls make “hoo” sounds!) on your next stroll through the forest. Great Horned Owls, for example, are one of our earliest breeders and begin hooting to attract mates as early as December.

Many owls roost in tree cavities during the day and those that do will also lay their eggs in tree cavities, although a roosting cavity is not necessarily also a nesting cavity. Lots of nature photographers love to capitalize on this fact to capture some wonderful photos of “owl peek-a-boo”. Here are five great shots of owls in tree cavities that were entered into our annual photo contest. For your own chance to glimpse one of these gorgeous raptors, join one of the dozens of Owl Prowls happening at our sanctuaries this time of year.

Eastern Screech-Owls © Peter Bartholomew
Eastern Screech-Owls © Peter Bartholomew
Eastern Screech-Owl © Richard Cuzner
Eastern Screech-Owl © Richard Cuzner
Barred Owls © Fred Harwood
Barred Owls © Fred Harwood
Eastern Screech-Owl © Amy Powers-Smith
Eastern Screech-Owl © Amy Powers-Smith
Eastern Screech-Owl © Jeff Martineau
Eastern Screech-Owl © Jeff Martineau
Indigo Bunting © Amy Powers-Smith

Take 5: 2018 Photo Contest Honorable Mentions

This year, more than 4,000 images were submitted in the Mass Audubon Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest—another record year! It wasn’t easy to determine the winners with so many incredible entries, but thankfully we always allow for a handful of Honorable Mentions outside of the main categories so we can highlight some of our favorites that just barely missed the cut.

Here are five Honorable Mentions that we loved from the 2018 photo contest. See all of the winners and runners-up on our website and get some tips for capturing a winning photo for next year’s contest.

Indigo Bunting © Amy Powers-Smith
Indigo Bunting © Amy Powers-Smith
Lighthouse © Jason Taylor
Lighthouse © Jason Taylor
Orange Bluet Damselfly © Sherri Vanden Akker
Orange Bluet Damselfly © Sherri Vanden Akker
Red Eft © Anna Mitchell
Red Eft © Anna Mitchell
© Melissa Knowles
© Melissa Knowles
Eastern Bluebird © Cheryl Rose

Take 5: Winter Songbirds

Whether you’re briskly pacing across Boston Common or gazing out your kitchen window into a snow-covered suburban backyard, birds can be seen all winter long. The birds featured below are some of the most commonly seen species in winter all across Massachusetts, and many of them will readily come to bird feeders.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but many urban and suburban avian visitors in the winter months will belong to one of the species below. See a longer list of cold-weather Massachusetts birds on our website and enjoy these five beautiful photographs from our photo contest archives.

American Goldfinch © Alex Renda
American Goldfinch © Alex Renda
Cedar Waxwing © Bernard Creswick
Cedar Waxwing © Bernard Creswick
White-breasted Nuthatch © Jonathan Eckerson
White-breasted Nuthatch © Jonathan Eckerson
Tufted Titmouse © Kim Nagy
Tufted Titmouse © Kim Nagy
Eastern Bluebird © Cheryl Rose
Eastern Bluebird © Cheryl Rose
Harlequin Duck © Carol Duffy

Take 5: Winter Ducks

Winter is a wonderful time to see some colorful characters around your neighborhood—namely wintering waterfowl. In late fall and winter, the majority of waterfowl species return to wearing their bright and more colorful breeding plumages and with more than 25 species of ducks, geese, and swans that regularly spend the winter in Massachusetts, you’ll have lots to add to your birding list.

Here are five species of ducks you may spot hanging around lakes, ponds, rivers, and ocean-side viewpoints, depending on their preferred habitat. Learn more about wintering waterfowl in the winter issue of Explore member magazine and find an expert naturalist-led winter birding trip hosted by a wildlife sanctuary near you.

All of these photos were submitted to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Check out the recently-announced winners of the 2018 contest today!

Harlequin Duck © Carol Duffy
Harlequin Duck © Carol Duffy
Red-breasted Merganser © David Peller
Red-breasted Merganser © David Peller
Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega
Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega
Common Eider © David Sheehy
Common Eider © David Sheehy
Northern Pintail © Roger Debenham
Northern Pintail © Roger Debenham
Other Wildlife Under 18 Winner © Francis Morello

Take 5: 2018 Photo Contest Winners (Under 18)

There are a lot of talented young people taking beautiful nature photographs and we were lucky enough to have many of them submit their work to the 2018 Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

We highlighted the 18 and Over photo contest winners a couple weeks ago, so now let’s appreciate some of the winners of the Under 18 categories. You can browse through all the winners from this year and past years on our website.

Other Wildlife Under 18 Winner © Francis Morello
Other Wildlife Under 18 Winner © Francis Morello
Mammals Under 18 Winner © Jordan Kanes
Mammals Under 18 Winner © Jordan Kanes
Plants & Fungi Under 18 Winner © Sean Henderson
Plants & Fungi Under 18 Winner © Sean Henderson
People in Nature Under 18 Winner © Nicole Nelson
People in Nature Under 18 Winner © Nicole Nelson
Birds Under 18 Winner © Davey Walters
Birds Under 18 Winner © Davey Walters
Birds 18 and Over Winner © Kim Caruso

Take 5: 2018 Photo Contest Winners (18 and Over)

The votes are in and the judges have made their picks—the 2018 Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest winners are in!

The entries this year were beyond impressive, especially in the oft-overlooked People in Nature category. Your birds, mammals, insects, landscapes, and portraits really wowed us.

See five of the 18 and Over winners from this year’s contest below and browse through all the winners from this year and past years on our website.

Grand Prize/Landscapes 18 and Over Winner © Evan Guarino
Grand Prize/Landscapes 18 and Over Winner © Evan Guarino
Mammals 18 and Over Winner © Victor Zigmont
Mammals 18 and Over Winner © Victor Zigmont
Birds 18 and Over Winner © Kim Caruso
Birds 18 and Over Winner © Kim Caruso
People in Nature 18 and Over Winner © Diana Chaplin
People in Nature 18 and Over Winner © Diana Chaplin
Plants 18 and Over Winner © Matt Cembrola
Plants 18 and Over Winner © Matt Cembrola
Dark-eyed Junco © Andy Eckerson

Take 5: So Many Sparrows

Sparrows have a reputation for being a bit tricky for beginning birders to identify. Thankfully, the colder months are a good time to get some practice in, with several common species overwintering here in Massachusetts, including American Tree Sparrows, White-Throated Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos (yes, they belong to the sparrow family!). Most sparrows are primarily seed-eaters and are often seen feeding on the ground, so a good place to look for them is on the ground beneath your bird feeders where the seed naturally falls.

A great way to hone your sparrow-identification skills is to spend time with more advanced birders and learn on-the-fly (pun absolutely intended). See a list of upcoming birding programs at our sanctuaries to find a trip near you and enjoy these five diverse photos of sparrows from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Savannah Sparrow © Phil Doyle

Savannah Sparrow © Phil Doyle

Song Sparrow © Mike Shachook

Song Sparrow © Mike Shachook

Dark-eyed Junco © Andy Eckerson

Dark-eyed Junco © Andy Eckerson

White-Throated Sparrow © Katherine Sayn-Wittgenstein

White-Throated Sparrow © Katherine Sayn-Wittgenstein

Fox Sparrow © Alberto Parker

Fox Sparrow © Alberto Parker

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