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Fall is the Loveliest Time of the Year!

... But leaf-blowers are not conducive to listening for hawks. Also, I have just discovered that it has gotten a wee bit too chilly to rush outside to try to spot hawks, without a coat on. Brrr.

Anyway -- little hawk news, but a couple of pics.

From Monday the 19th, one of the redtail adults on the flagpole on top of the Harvard Coop; sadly, a somewhat fuzzy picture:


And from yesterday, the two adults showed up circling over the Faculty Club and Barker Center, and I got this shot:


That's it for now. It's nice that they're still coming around within ear-shot, though.

A couple of weekends' worth of nice weather has enabled me to get out and do some walking; fall is definitely my favorite time of year for that, because the temperature is good, and the mosquitoes are usually dead, and I like all of the sights of fall.

This set of pics is me screwing around with macro shots. I still need to learn some of the settings on my new camera better.

From Oct. 12th, at Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle -- close-up shot of some Heath Aster:


Bumblebees amongst the goldenrod (the fuzzy areas, I think, are due to the fact that it was a bit windy, so actually all of the blossoms were moving around quite a bit as I was trying to get pics of the bees):


Possibly some very faded and leggy New England Aster:


And then, from Oct. 17th, at Callahan State Park in Framingham -- this presents an interesting identification issue. Wild mushrooms are not so easy to identify. It MIGHT be pluteus admirabilis, but then again, it might not:


I would like to state for the record that there is an awfully wide variation amongst the state parks of MA, in terms of how well the trails are marked, or match the maps. Great Brook Farm was really quite well mapped and marked -- when you came to trail crossings, they had little signs telling you the name of each trail so you could try to make out its relationship to the map, plus, they scattered posts along the trails with numbers on them, which matched numbers on the map, so you could periodically orient yourself without coming to a cross-trail. Callahan, on the other hand... oh, Callahan. Having now extensively walked both the northern and southern sections of it, I can say that it is only indifferently marked. Trail crossings are not always marked with respect to which trail you are on or which you have just come to, and there seemed to be an awful lot of trails that just weren't on the map at all. Trying to match the map to what you are walking in the Callahan is always a bit fraught. I made a lot of wrong turns, ended up on a lot of private property, and did a lot of back-tracking. It's kind of annoying, although I must say that I do like the Callahan's landscape.

At any rate: there were a lot of very scenic erratic boulders around the place, and on the top of Gibbs Mountain [sic.], I noticed that a large number of them had hats of extremely plush-looking moss. This one has TWO types of moss; don't ask me what they are:


The moss and organic litter were so thick on some of them that enterprising pine seedlings had taken root on top of some of the boulders:


I'm kind of wondering if Gibbs Mountain had created its own very moist microclimate, or if it was just a testament to what a wet summer we'd had, because there was a LOT of very plus moss. For example, this moss was doing its best to make it look like it had taken the form of a cinderblock:


(The cinderblock was located beside the entrance gate to an abandoned tennis court that was just... THERE, right on top of Gibbs Mountain. That was a point at which I had become confused by the relationship between the map and the trails, and had wandered off onto what I assume was private property, before retracing my steps.)

I came across a very nice meadow that featured a riot of what I think is oriental bittersweet:


And also a riot of milkweed:


Milkweed close-up:


Meadow overall:


Finally, I came across something that I have never actually seen before, and that is an acorn that had actually started to sprout:


After taking pics, I tossed it off the trail and into the underbrush, in hopes that it would continue (it was lying on the stony path, where it certainly wasn't going to accomplish anything.)

It sounds like this weekend is going to be rainy. Boo, hiss.

But if I am lucky, I will have something very exciting to share with you all next week. (For certain values of exciting, that is.) Stay tuned!


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 23rd, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC)
Hooray for hawk stalking!

Man, that camera takes nice photos! What is it?

I love that boulder with the moss and lichen all over it. I may have to snag that for reference for RTH stuff. :D
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
I really love big rocks all covered with lichen and moss.

The camera is a Canon PowerShot SX110 IS -- technically a point-and-shoot, rather than a more serious SLR.


I'm still learning to get the most out of it, but it's been really good so far even when I don't know all about it yet.
Oct. 23rd, 2009 10:03 pm (UTC)
Fabulous shots! Oh, that bee, that's perfect. *hugs*

PS. Eight frames per second no in my hands. Sadly, grey day so no photography fun. Will perhaps chase the cat around a bit. ;)
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that some of the bee shots came out, because the little bastards were moving around a lot, and the entire stems of goldenrod were being blown around, and it was a challenge, is what I'm saying.

I can't wait to see even more of what you're able to do with the new camera! :)
Oct. 26th, 2009 09:12 pm (UTC)
It is indeed. Some days I wish I only photographed still lifes. ;)

And am having fun with the camera, but not enough time to go places where I really want more shots. The pond ....well, it's great, but it is the pond.
Oct. 24th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
Cool! A weeee Oak Tree!
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Seriously! I was impressed. I had never seen that transitional phase between seed and sprouted miniature tree before. I kind of hope it makes it.
Oct. 24th, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
OMG! I love your photos. They're making me homesick.
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
Oct. 24th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
You take the most AMAZING photos! Thanks for sharing.
Oct. 26th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! And thank you for saying so. :)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )