GILDED WOODS: A PHOTO A WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Gilded

I did not have a gilded dome to display or even a gilded hallway. What I did find was a golden pond, made golden by the incredible glow of the glowing leaves surrounding the pond.

On the lake were ducks, mostly mallards but also a few canvasbacks and the odd diver. Ducks get along so well. They are content to float with any kind of other ducks who may arrive. Nor have they any objections to whatever geese or swans might land in their waterway, either.

Gilded woods

Ducks are content to be in the water. They don’t fight, they don’t battle for the best nesting position or to be the leader of the floating feathered armada.

Living on golden pond

And then, with a slight change of light, the woods turns gold

And soon, the mallards are swimming across a truly golden lake.

Mallards on flowing gold

More golden ducks

WHITIN’S POND – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #22: Pond

Whiten’s Pond isn’t really a pond. It’s really a widening of the Blackstone River before the dam. Most of our ponds are really widened parts of a river with the exception of Webster pond, the word I cannot pronounce or spell.

I guess I can add one of that also. That’s a true pond. Maybe it’s a lake. It’s big enough and deep enough.

That would be Lake Chargoggaggoggmancogmanhoggagogg.

On the pond in summer

Twilight at the pond

Flying across the pond

Autumn at Lake Chargoggaggoggmancogmanhoggagogg

THE DAM AT THE POND

Dam at Whitins Pond

This is a dam that’s hard to find. You can hear it from the road, but you can’t see it without going around the big brick building that was formerly — you guessed it — a mill. A cotton mill, I believe.

A perfect water lily
A perfect water-lily

Funny to finally discover this dam after passing so near for more than a dozen years. You really can’t see it from the road, which is where we usually shoot from and I probably heard it, but didn’t pay attention. It’s an interesting dam, not like any of the other local dams.

It’s not very tall, perhaps 10 or 12 feet. Water doesn’t flow over the dam as much as it comes through holes in the dam, set at various heights in a long crescent.

The waters spits out and onto a plateau of flat rocks. I’m not sure what this design was intended to accomplish, but there must have been some special purpose in the design.

Close up at the dam

The old mill used to be an antique cooperative until last year. They recently converted it to an adult activity center. The senior center in Uxbridge is tiny, so this is definite upgrade. The building has been beautifully restored and its location, adjacent to the river and Whitins Pond … well, it couldn’t be lovelier.

 

SWANS AND THE POND AT NORTHBRIDGE – GARRY ARMSTRONG

It was quite the day for taking pictures. Not only were the swans enthusiastically cozy, but it was the last nice day of that entire week. We had a few minutes of sun today, but I think our first clear day will be Monday. If we are lucky.

The swans walked right up onto the land and gave me that look which screams: “FEED ME!” Sadly, I had nothing to hand out.

We’ve been following the life and times of our local swans for a long time. In a few weeks, the cygnets will be up and about. We’ll have to go back and take some more pictures as the family sets sail.

When the babies, mom and day go swimming on the pond, they look like a flotilla. A formation of huge swans setting forth into the world.

POND IN NORTHBRIDGE – SWANS IN MAY

It was just seven in the morning and there was a roaring in my backyard. I looked out to see the turf people spraying for ants and crawlies — and hopefully not damaging anything else. It’s pretty hard to spray for one pest without harming another, but with the influx of Gypsy Moth caterpillars, we don’t have a choice. If we don’t take care of them, they will definitely, without question, take care of us.

If you look carefully, you can see the nested swan on the opposite shore

Today is a dark gray day with torrential rains predicted for later in the day … as much as five inches (or more) rain this afternoon and tomorrow. The floods that hit the rest of the country have arrived. I hope our drains, sump, and pump can handle the water.

Thursday was beautiful. Sunny and bright. The trees were blooming and buds were bursting or just about ready to do so. We grabbed cameras and went out. I had wanted to go to Manchaug, but I have temporarily forgotten how to get there. Instead, we wound up by the pond in Northbridge. There were swans. Two big ones, a mated pair.

I could see the nest. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera with a super long lens, so I could only shoot it from a distance. Garry got a ton of pictures too and I’ll put them up in a separate post.

I always forget to bring food for the swans. They must get fed by people. With a bit of food I think they would happily come home with us. You can never call a swan “friendly.” They aren’t really friendly beasts, but they can get pretty chummy if they think there’s a snack available. Not surprisingly, this behavior is familiar to us. We know begging when we see it, whether doggy or orange beak.

There was a lot of trash along the shoreline. Shame on you! Haven’t we got enough problems without trashing our own homes? All you tossers of beer bottles and junk food boxes and cups, CLEAN UP YOUR ACT. No one needs your trash. It makes me sick looking at it.

FOLLOWING THE BIRDS – CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #2

Cee’s Which Way Challenge is all about capturing the roads, walks, trails, rails on which we move from one place to another.  You can walk, climb, drive them, and ride them, as long as the way is visible.  Any angle of a bridge is good, as are all signs.

The wild birds always know where they are going. In the air, on the water, and or marching across land … they have a built in GPS that is close to flawless. In this valley, the rivers and ponds are their highways. They swim in rows, like a flotilla. The herons fly over the waterways, watching for fish to eat. The swans and geese nest along the waterways and raise their young.

We have gone through several very hard winters in a row. The population of swans and geese is smaller than it has been in all the years I’ve lived here. Nature rules. We can only watch and hope for the best.

So far, this winter has been kind to them. The waterways remain unfrozen. There is food for all. Perhaps this year we’ll see an early spring and many ducklings, goslings, and cygnets to repopulate our streams and ponds.

YOGI’S BLOGOSMOS wrote an entire blog analyzing the pictures in this post. Please check him out. A thoughtful blogger with a devotion to nature and beauty.

SOMEWHERE IN SUTTON

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Kaity and I went shooting today. We haven’t done that in a long time and it was a pleasure spending time with this young woman who is my granddaughter.

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It was not quite as bright and beautiful as it had been earlier in the week … but it was neither raining nor snowing.

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At this point in the seasons, a day which isn’t bitterly cold and when precipitation isn’t falling from the sky, is a good day to be out and about.

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Monday Garry and I are off again. Me to Amherst to stay with friends, he from there to Amherst to Long Island, then back to pick up the luggage (me). And home.

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I’ll try to get some pictures while I’m out in the western part of our lovely commonwealth.

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These pictures were taken somewhere in Sutton. A farm, a pond, a few bright leaves.

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We met a big (probably) Greylag (domestic, not wild) goose who was taking a break from the farm and failed to read the signs reminding us not to feed the geese. I hoped I was seeing a rare goose, but suspected, when he walked out of the water and stood there looking cute, he was probably domestic.

I have dogs. I know begging when I see it.

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NEVERENDING AUTUMN – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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Not only has this been a particularly beautiful Autumn, but it has lasted longer than any in my memory. It started in September … earlier than normal … and it has not quite left us yet.

On our way back from the mall in Millbury, we left Route 146 via Lackey Dam road and when we got to the pond, Marilyn spotted a flash of white. A swan!

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I found a place to pull of the road and we took our cameras and walked the short path to the pond. The leaves were russet and red, the sky bright blue. Reflections were perfect mirrors of the sky with crisp leave floating like boats across the surface.

It was a John Ford afternoon. I could hear the music softly in the distance …

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TERRIFIC TUESDAY TRIALS – ALL ALIKE?

Preeti Kanwar at LenzExperiments has started a new challenge, Terrific Tuesday Trials. This week’s theme is “all alike” so, having a few spare pictures around, I thought I’d come out and play with the other kids.


You almost always see swans in pairs. Swans mate for life, so where you see one, the other is rarely far behind.

And of course, when there are babies, you’ll see the whole family, in formation like a proud armada on the pond.

SPRING ON THE POND

Welcomed by a singing bird. I think it’s an Eastern Kingbird. Can anyone confirm this or otherwise identify this guy? I managed to grab a pretty good shot of him before he flew away.

It was good to be back at the pond.

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It was our first trip to the pond in 2014. I was wondering how the swans fared through this terrible winter. I don’t have a complete answer, but there are swans on Whitins Pond. And they are nesting. We saw two swans today.

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One was sitting on the nest. The other came right up to us. I wished I’d remembered to bring some bread. He was clearly hoping for a handout!

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Hard winters — like this one that seems to have finally passed — take a toll on water fowl. The pond freezes for long periods of time and there is little or nothing to eat. The heavy snow makes it difficult to hide from the weather.

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I’m glad we still have some swans. A few of my pictures today and I’ll try to process some of Garry’s tomorrow.

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