Laughing Brook is a wildlife sanctuary run by Mass Audubon. I have taught and led nature walks there over the past 30+ years. It is the former home of Thorton Burgess, a conservationist and prolific author of children’s stories between about 1920 and 1960.
This gallery shows some of the nature delights that can be found along the trails. The habitat ranges from pond to woodland stream to upland forest and a couple of small fields.
Click on a picture to begin an interactive gallery show. Use the arrows on the screen or on your keyboard to change pictures. Click outside of a picture to exit the show.
Mushrooms can provide quite a variety of color during a walk in the woods.
One of many such gems that can be found along the trails.
These are quite common in late summer and early fall
This is not a mushroom or fungus, but rather a flowering plant without chlorophyll. It is parasitic on the root-fungus associations underground. I liked the chevron-shaped formation of this little group.
Slime Molds are truly a creature of science fiction. Generally they live as individual cells in the leaf litter or soil. On cue, they can aggregate into these large masses, which moves in search of food, or forms stalks with spores for reproduction.
An immature plant bug. It is not an ambush or assassin bug. Those have a thickened upper front leg (femora) and ambush bugs have antennae thickened at the ends. Both traits are lacking here. Also the mouthpiece appears to be in the plant and feeding on it.
It is always worthwhile to examine flowers closely. Many creatures are hidden in plain sight.
Slaty Skimmer, seen next to the pond.
A gentle, soft flower. This shows a good example of a burst pattern. More details are in the Patterns gallery.
I shot this with the aperture wide open. The background foliage was well behind, so it was rendered completely out of focus.
Backlighting brings out the subtle yet rich colors of spring.
Spring foliage has a fresh vibrant quality, a celebration of the returning light.
This stand of grass has a nice color and texture. The next photo shows a closer look.
This shows what happens when you explore with your lens. A macro lens on extension tubes allowed close focusing through the grass, isolating scenes such as this.
This is taken while exploring a stand of ferns with the lens. This frond is far enough in front of the others to give a soft background.
This veery was foraging in the wet area along the Burgess Trail
This yellow warbler took a break from foraging to do some human-watching.
This vulture seemed to be giving me a greeting . . .
. . . and then turned to give me a nice pose.
I encountered this deer while exploring stone walls one afternoon.
This bank was severely eroded on the flood of 2005. The exposed bank shows varving. This is layering caused by the heavy deposition of spring runoff followed by lighter deposition in the summer. This layering shows that this area once lay under a lake, probably a glacial lake.
Here is another scene that looks nice, but unremarkable. The next two images were found by going down to the left and getting in there with a macro lens.
I was really looking for nice images of the backlit grass. When you get down and up close you find gems like this one.
The backlighting and shallow depth of field give a nice dreamy feel