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The Longwood Medical Area.
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My doctor's office happens to be very close to my old place on The Muddy River. I looked down into the river and was lucky enough to see these colorful birds!

From left to right they are a male wood duck, an American black duck, a female wood duck, and a male and a female mallard.
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An old friend who has since moved to New York, came back to town last weekend to go to a wedding. After that she had a picnic in the park to reconnect with other friends and their families.

Read more... )
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Last Sunday I led an Urban Nature Walk in the Riverway. As it turned out, 2 Livejournal friends (who I'd never met before) came along! We went to the Studios Without Walls outdoor art exhibit. I was frankly disappointed with the quality of the art this time around, but this piece was pretty good.

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We were back at our old place doing some cleaning, then went to the park and found that the Studios Without Walls is already up! It's earlier this year, and will be closing on May 22nd. Go see it now!


This piece is mostly copper mesh. I call it the "Choreboy" piece.


These little guys were about 20 feet up in a tree.
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We stayed inside for a long while, but finally around 8:30 we went out to shovel. The first thing I noticed was our dying dogwood tree lost a couple branches. I think it's finished.

13 more )
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The Riverway, during the "rush hour snow event."


Since I live here, I was home already.
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The Longwood Medical area as seen from in the Riverway.
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The Riverway "island." (Becomes more island-like during a heavy rain, when the Muddy River gets so full that it splits and surrounds this chunk, which is accessed by two footbridges.)
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My dad came up to visit yesterday!
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Oyster mushrooms growing on a large mulberry tree in The Riverway.
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Norway maples in the Riverway. These trees make a living fence along the top of the berm that separates the trolley tracks from the rest of the park.

more Riverway )
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Alexis heard cheering outside our house this morning so we went to check it out. It was the Boston Half Marathon, running along the Riverway.


Near our house was a point where the runners turned around and retraced part of the course.
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Another big acorn year. That means more mice and rats, as well as squirrels and chipmunks.

and of course, more mushroom pics )
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Red-backed salamander Plethodon cinereus

It's been almost ten years since I've photographed a red-backed salamander in the city. There are very few amphibians on my lists of urban species (two frog species and now two salamander species at this point). Amphibians have the challenge of a permeable skin, which exposes them to the various pollutants in the urban environment. They are particularly sensitive to acidic substrates, a condition which has been increasing in their eastern forest habitat for more than a century. In the case of the red-backed salamander, their skin is their only mode of respiration: they are lungless salamanders.

Despite this anatomical obstacle, red-backed salamanders are thought to be the most common amphibian species in the northeast North America. Unlike frogs and many other salamanders, they don't require bodies of water to breed; their offspring are born as miniature adults instead of as gilled larvae. They live in leaf litter, feeding on small invertebrates. Females guard their eggs until they hatch, and relatives recognize one another by scent and tolerate each other within a territory. These tiny animals (three inches long is a very large individual) are thought to live to about 10 years old, and possibly as old as thirty.

This individual was taking shelter in the fronds of a hen-of-the-woods mushroom, on a rainy afternoon in the Riverway.

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