Recently, I was hiking with family around a cranberry bog in Barnstable when we spotted a red-tailed hawk. The bird dove into the plant-filled bog, landed, and then “mantled” over the prey it had successfully caught. Mantling is when the bird spreads its wings out to protect its prey from other predators—(see the outstretched wings image). The bird then flew to a nearby tree and began to pick at it — only ten yards away from us!
We were close enough to identify the prey as a vole, take photos, and ensure we didn’t stand in the “drop zone” as pieces of vole were falling away while the bird tore at the carcass. Within a couple of minutes, the bird swallowed the vole in one gulp and then scanned the area for more prey. We enjoyed every minute of this amazing experience and were so grateful to have been in the right place at the right time! If you have had a similar “Wild Kingdom or Animal Planet Hunt experience” like this recently, please share it!
The Turtles are Coming posted on Aug 29
With a migration pattern that stretches thousands of miles, it is no surprise that Massachusetts is home to four types of turtles during the summer, all of them protected by local and international law. And while you probably know that sea turtles often frequent the Massachusetts beaches, can you identify them?
2014 DAR Agricultural Calendar: August posted on Aug 25
Augusts’ Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Cara Peterson, who photographed a high tunnel greenhouse at Flats Mentor Farm in Lancaster.
Not From Around Here: Green Crabs posted on Aug 22
As part of its work to assess salt marsh health, staff from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) have frequently observed abundant green crabs, often burrowing in the banks of marsh creeks. This summer, CZM is examining the potential impacts of green crabs in salt marsh habitats, including the impact of burrowing activity.