Tag Archives: ducks

Easter In The Park (Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: April 21, 2019

Location: Boston Public Garden, 4 Charles St, Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There are several parking garages in the area and limited street parking

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers, sculptures, swan boats, trees, statues

Website: Boston Public Garden

Summary: The Ducklings were dressed in their Sunday bests as people thronged to Boston Public Garden to enjoy an unseasonably warm day at the park.

The Dressing of the Ducklings has become an Easter tradition for some time.

But, they are not only dressed up for the Easter holiday.  The ducklings, which were installed in 1987, have also been seen wearing jerseys of the home sports teams, particularly during the playoffs or other important points of the season.  They are also dressed up for other holidays or days of interest, most notably Mother’s Day.

The book “Make Way For Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey is the inspiration for these sculptures.  In the book a pair of mallards  decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in Boston Public Garden. Oh, sorry spoiler alert.

The ducklings are a favorite of the children who like to play with, and sometimes on, the statues.

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The ducklings aren’t the only sculptures at the park.

At the Arlington St entrance, there is a larger than life statue of George Washington.  The 22 foot granite statue stands on a 16 foot pedestal making the total height of the statue and pedestal 38 feet.

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Built by Boston painter and musician Thomas Ball, the statue took 4 years to complete.  Because of shortages of bronze casting due to the Civil War, it would not be completed until 1863.

The real beauty of the park is more natural.  Countless trees, flowers and plants adorn the park.

The views at the park are some of the most beautiful in Boston.  You may see the lagoon that I mentioned above where the ducklings are said to have resided.

I was surprised at how many people were at the park on what I thought would be a “family holiday” for most.  Seeing all of the people dressed to the hilt, I do think many people came to the park after their morning obligations were completed.  These visitors were having fun celebrating the day.

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This creative lady took the opportunity to paint at the park.

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Birds and other wildlife are abundant at the park. Fittingly, I did see a few mallards there.

Some animals are so used to seeing and interacting with humans they will eat from your hand.

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Dogs and even a cat were at the pet friendly park.

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Maggie, an 18 month old Aussiedoodle (Australian Toy Poodle), had fun retrieving a miniature sized ball.

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This brave cat named Blue, a 6 year old Orange and Siamese cat, went to the park with her mom.

Now the fun part.  How did I photograph this place?  Since I left early before the sun was high in the sky and it was overcast for most of my visit, it was easier than on some of the sunnier days,  For the most part, I shot with a 5.6 or 6.3 aperture. I even went down to 3.5 and 4.0 and I kept my ISO at 100 since lighting wasn’t an issue for this shoot.

I usually use the Aperture Value (or Aperture Priority) setting.  So, I didn’t worrying about controlling my shutter speed.  Until I photographed Maggie, of course.  To capture her motion as she rain I used a 320 shutter setting and I probably could have gone to 500 or higher.  The hardest part of photography, especially for us beginners, can be making sure all of the settings are correct before you click.  I can attest to this.  As I went into, gulp, manual mode I made sure to put my shutter speed at 1,000 to photograph Maggie.  But, I forgot to adjust my other settings.  So, I had a few black images in my LCD screen.  Once I made this correction the photos came out better.  This just goes to underscore the importance of looking at your meter and viewing photos in your screen and adjusting as needed as you shoot.

However, I would caution anyone from deleting files from their memory card.  For reasons that are far too technical for me to explain clearly, you can actually damage your memory card if you try to delete images from your card.  Everyone does or has done it, though.  In fact, I did it just the other day out of habit.  Here’s an article that explains it in greater depth: Why you should not delete images on your memory card in your camera

But, another easier way to explain this is to just say you don’t know what you can do to the image in LightRoom or PhotoShop (more on these applications in a future post).  But, take a look at this photo of Maggie, the dog I photographed at Boston Public Garden.

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I almost used this photo in my post.  But, I thought the other photo showed better motion and was an overall photo especially since this photo was too dark no matter how much I played with the settings in LightRoom.  But, considering what I had to work with it wasn’t too bad.  This is what the original photo looked like on my memory card before I edited it in LightRoom.

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Yes, that’s what the photo looked like on my card before I edited it.  I was so eager to photograph the cute little doggie that I only adjusted the shutter speed and not the aperture (it was at 22 when I took the photo).  I noticed the error and I adjusted my aperture and shutter speed accordingly (the photo I posted in the blog post above was at 5.6 aperture, 320 shutter speed, 160 ISO and 128 mm).  I should have used a faster shutter speed (500 or 1000) and adjusted the aperture as you can see some blur in her legs and a faster shutter speed would have eliminated this.

The main point of me posting those photos is that virtually any photo is salvageable or at least you can “save” almost any photo, unless, of course, it is blurry.  So, please don’t ever delete in your camera!

I didn’t use a lens hood or any other device to limit sun glare since it wasn’t a particularly sunny day.  I did, however, use this when I was photographing the child on the goose sculpture.

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You slip on the lens and it can help to attract the child’s attention.  It also works with some dogs and other pets (and probably even adults!).  Isn’t it cute?  While I don’t sponsor items or advertise items,  I do like and recommend this item.  I will leave the link for this and other knitted “camera buddies” here in case you may want to look into purchasing one.

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I hope all of this info helps

 

 

 

 


Puffer’s Pond/Factory Hollow Pond (Amherst, MA)

Dates Of Visits: May 24 & 29, 2017

Location: Mill St, Amherst, MA (about half an hour north of Springfield, MA and an hour and a half southwest of Boston, MA)

Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a designated parking area for handicapped accessible vehicles.  All other vehicles should park on the side of the road on the right hand side of the road.  There is room for a dozen or more cars to park on this road.

Handicapped Accessible: Yes.  There is a paved path and designated parking for handicapped accessible vehicles.

Dog Friendly: No.  But, dogs are allowed on the Robert Frost trail that circles the pond.

Highlights: wildlife, fishing,trails,pond

Website: Puffer’s Pond

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Once the site of a village inhabited by the Norwottuck tribe, Puffer’s Pond (also known as Factory Hollow Pond, is now a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, nature lovers and hikers.

Puffer’s Pond is a small yet charming pond.  It is only 11 acres large and the water is an average depth of 5 feet deep with a maximum depth of more than 20 feet.

There are several access points to the pond.  The easiest most straightforward way to the pond is to park on Mill St and enter through the main entrance on that street.  There is also an access point farther up on Mill St with a wooden walkway.

The pond is home to herons, mallards, turtles, frogs, a variety of birds and an otter or two among other animals.

Walking through the park, we noticed a disturbance in the water and a head peaking above the water.

It appears to be an otter because when the mammal dove back under water the tail didn’t look like a beaver’s tail.

The views from Puffer’s Pond are beautiful.

The pond is also a great place to fish.  This particular fisherman didn’t have any luck (score one for the fish!).  Better luck next time.

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However, this fisherman had better luck.

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Or, you can go there to look out on the pond with a special someone.

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The Robert Frost Trail, a 47 mile trail that runs from the Connecticut River in South Hadley,MA to Wendell State Forest in Wendell, MA, runs past Puffer’s Pond.  Although it is a very long trail, the section of the trail that runs past the pond is very short (about .8 miles each way).  While dogs are not allowed in Puffer’s Pond they are allowed on the walking trails around the pond.

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Northeastern Poultry Congress (Eastern States Exposition Center, West Springfield, MA)

Dates Of Event: January 13, 14 and 15, 2017 (photos taken January 14)

Location: Eastern States Exposition Center (1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA), Mallory Building, Gate 9

Hours: January 13 3:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m., January 14 9:00 a.m. – 4:00  p.m., January 15 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Cost: Admission is free

Parking: Free ample parking is located at or near the Mallory Building parking lot

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, the Mallory Building is handicapped accessible

Dog Friendly: Service dogs may be allowed

Web Site: Northeastern Poultry Congress

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Duck, duck, chicken?  That is the theme at the Northeastern Poultry Congress this weekend at the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, MA.

The poultry congress has chickens and other poultry of all kinds.

In fact, there were rows and rows of chicken being displayed and/or sold.

I had never considered the beauty of a chicken, or other fowl, before.  They really are beautiful and interesting looking.  The chickens and other poultry were available for purchase and somee were being judged.  Adults and children could be seen carrying chickens for purchase.  I  was surprised how the chickens and other fowl didn’t seem to resist or peck when they were being held (always with their face toward the persons body).

There were also chicks in an incubator.

These turkeys made it through the holiday season.

There were also events for children such as an event where the children both judged and exhibkited different poultry.

Concession stands were also available, although I didn’t see fried chicken on the menus.

There were also vendors selling art, nick knacks and other items.

The poultry weren’t the only cute animals at the show.  One of the vendors brought her own little pet with her to the show.

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The Northeastern Poultry Congress usually only stops by the Eastern States Exposition Center once a year.  But, you may be able to catch it at other venues throughout the year (refer too the web site shown above to see if it is stopping by a venue near you). So, don’t be a chicken!  Stop by and visit the lovely poultry if you do notice it is in your area.


Feeding Time At Stanley Park (Westfield, MA)

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Date Of Visit: December 28, 2016

Location: 400 Western Ave, Westfield, MA (about 2 hours west of Boston, MA and about 20 minutes west of Springfield, MA)

Cost: Free

Hours: Presently open everyday 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. (hours change depending upon the season)

Parking: There are a few different parking areas.  The main parking lot on Western Ave has room for about 200 cars.

Handicapped Accessible: The playground area, fields and picnic areas are but the trails and many of the walkways are not.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: hiking trails, birds, wildlife, pond, flower garden, statues

Often considered the jewel of Westfield, Massachusetts, Stanley Parkis one of the prettiest parks in Western Massachusetts and it looks even more picturesque after a snowfall.

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Due to the recent cold spell and snow, the pond and much of the vegetation at Stanley Park had been iced over so they were eager to get some food.  As a disclaimer, most parks do not encourage you to feed birds.  But, if you do, there are certain foods you should never feed to ducks.  Bread is the biggest no-no on most list.  These are some better foods to feed to birds.

At any rate, visitors like to feed the birds at Stanley Park and that gave me an usually good chance to photograph some beautiful ducks.

There were so many birds congregating at the pond waiting for a nibble of food.

Luckily, one of the visitors at the park, Jim, brought some food for the hungry birds.

 

Jim’s dog took the birds in stride.

I have photographed Stanley Park before and, since it is very close to my mom’s house, I always try to make a visit out there as often as I can.So, you may sees posts about this park from time to time.

Stanley Park, or Stanley as it is more commonly known as, is a popular spot for dogs like Sansa is a 5 month old Siberian Husky.

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Below is a video of feeding time at Stanley Park:

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Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Sanctuary (Tiverton, RI)

Date Of Visit: December 14, 2016

Location: Seapowet Ave, Tiverton, RI (about an hour south of Boston and about 30 minutes  southeast of Providence, RI)

Cost: Free but donations are appreciated

Hours: Trails are open dawn until dusk

Parking: There is a lot which can accomodate about 5-10 cars

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Trail Difficulty/Size: 50 acres of easy but narrow trails, I couldn’t find a description of the trail lengths but it can’t be more than 4 or 5 miles total

Handicapped Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: No, Audubon sanctuaries are not pet friendly

Highlights:easy trails, blinds to hide behind bird watch, wildlife, streams and bodies of water, birds, scenic

Web Site: Emilie Ruecker Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: Emilie Ruecker Trail Map

As a preface, I am trying to post about as many of my trips from earlier this year before the end of the year.  So, I may be posting pretty much every day until the new year and into the beginning of the new year to catch up and start fresh in 2017.  Lucky you… ( :

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Tucked away just over the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border is a serene little trail with lots of surprises.

One of the cutest surprises are these blinds that you can hide behind to photograph or observe birds.

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The trails at Emilie Ruecker are easy enough to navigate and they are mostly loops so it is easy to stay on the trail. There are also maps displayed throughout the sanctuary.  The trails can be narrow in some areas.  Also, if you go on the red trails, it’s easy to go off track.  Just keep looking for the color coded trees to stay on track.

One of the cool things are the openings along the trails that allow you to get closer to the water so you can view the ducks and other birds.

You’ll also find the occasional bench to rest at.

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Although there is lots of wildlife at the sanctuary, the highlight for me was the beautiful scenic views.

If you look closely, you may see the outline of a deer just behind the branch of this tree.  Unfortunately, my camera couldn’t focus in time to get a better photo.

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Much like this deer, the birds at Emilie Ruecker were hard to photograph.

The birds in the water proved more easy to photograph.

These birds were very easy to photograph, as long as I kept my distance.  They were hanging out on the other side of the road across from the sanctuary on some farm land.

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Chestnut Hill Reservation (Allston/Brighton, MA)

Date Visited: September 24, 2016

Location: Beacon St, Brighton, MA

Hours: open everyday dawn until dusk

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a free parking lot next to the reservation that accomodates about 100 vehicles, there is additional metered off street parking

Park Size:20 acres, 1.5 circular trail loop

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 to 2 hours

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: nice views, reservoir, easy circular trail, popular with cyclists, joggers and dog walkers, lots of birds and other wildlife, shoreline fishing is permitted

Lowlights: trail can get congested

Web Site: Chestnut Hill Reservation

Trail Map: Chestnut Hill Reservation Trail Map

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Created in 1870 on marshes and meadowland to provide the city of Boston with an additional water supply, the Chestnut Reservior, the reservoir now acts as a pretty body of water encircled by a 1.5 mile circular trail loop.  The reservoir was taken off line in 1978 and is no longer needed for a water supply for the city of Boston.  But, it is still maintained as an emergency backup source for water.  Now, a plethora of birds and other aquatic animals thrive in the reservoir.

While the reservoir itself is only located in the Boston area, Chestnut Hill area of the park, which includes parts of Boston, Brookline and Newton, includes a swimming pool, skating rink.

The reservation has some beautiful views of the Brighton/Allston, Chestnut Hill and surrounding areas.  The clouds provided a pretty, albeit threatening, touch.  There are pretty flowers along the trail and, as you can see from some of the photos, the circular loop around the reservoir is very easy with only subtle, if any, inclines.  You can see the two skyscrapers of Boston (the John Hancock Tower – the glassy blue colored building on the left – and the Prudential Tower – the brownish building with the long antenna on the right).  You can also see the stylish top of one of the buildings of the Boston College campus in the first few photos of this group.

There is also an abundance of wildlife at the reservoir.  Mallards, Cormorants, Canadian Geese and a variety of other birds inhabit the reservoir.

This Cormorant had just got his or her lunch.  In the last photo the Coormorant had eith er lost the fish or just swallowed it (you can choose to believe whichever makes you sleep easier tonight).

Birds aren’t the only inhabitants of the reservoir.  Turtles and other aquatic animals occupy the reservior as well.  It’s a little hard to see butt at the bottom of the second photo there is a huge turtle.

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Since it was such a nice day outside, there were a variety of dogs at Chestnut Hill Reservation.

ViVi, a 4 year old Beagle and Cocker Spaniel mix, showed off her talents of doing a pirouette and playing patty cake to beg for treats.

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Buster is a 9 year old English Lab and Retriever mix, or the best combination ever!

Bella is, appropriately enough, a 2 year old toy poodle.  Doesn’t she look like a toy?

Luke, a 2 year old Lab, was a little shy but warmed up to the camera nicely.

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Thank you!

Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

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Borderland State Park (North Easton, MA)

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The Nature Trail And Cranberry Bog At Patriot Place (Foxborough, MA)

 


Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary (Pittsfield, MA)

Date Visited: September 3, 2016

Location: Holmes Rd, Pittsfield, MA (it is not clearly marked – it is about 2 miles down the road on the right hand side if you coming from the east)

Cost: Free but donations are appreciated

Parking:  There is room for about a dozen cars (see photo below)

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Trail difficulty: Easy

Park Size: 253 acres, 3 miles of trails

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 to 2 hours

Dog Friendly: No, dogs aren’t allowed on MA Audubon trails.

Highlights: pretty plants and flowers, a lot of wildlife, ponds, home to a community garden

Lowlights: Park is a little hard to find, some trails may be inaccessible or difficult to hike particularlywhen it rains

Web Site: Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary

Trail Map: Canoe Meadows Trail Map

I am always surprised at how some of the more beautiful areas to visit seem to be tucked away in the most unlikely places.  It’s almost as though they are meant to be kept a secret for just the few people who are adventurous enough to find it.  Such is the case with Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary.  Tucked away on a busy side street in the otherwise sleepy town of Pittsfield, MA, Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary (ironically, you can’t launch a canoe or any watercraft there) is a haven for birds, the occasional water faring mammal or amphibian and beautiful flowers.

The paths at Canoe Meadows are clearly defined and there are benches, bridges and boardwalks along the trail.

What stood out most to me about Canoe Meadows are the colorful plants and flowers and the trees.  The colors of the plants are so vibrant and the trees are nothing short of majestic.  I love the mix of pink, purple, white and yellow flowers as you can probably tell by my photos.

There are also a lot of bees at Canoe Meadows pollinating this time of the year.  There is a bee inside this flower.  You may be able to barely see the bees sticking outside of the flower.

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There are plenty of birds at Canoe Meadows.  They do like to hide.  So it is hard to get good photos of them.

I spotted this heron as he was flying away.  I just wish I saw the bird earlier.

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I also saw this chipmunk, one of the more common residents of the meadow.

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There were also lots of frogs at the meadow.

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Unfortunately, I did not see any of the otters, beavers and other critters that are said to inhabit this meadow (although I did see evidence of their existence there).  If you go early in the day or are very quiet, you may have better luck.  Good luck if you do try!

Similar Places I Have Visited In New England:

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Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

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The Nature Trail And Cranberry Bog At Patriot Place (Foxborough, MA)

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