I’ll spare you the suspense and report that the biggest down was me falling into the river. Don’t worry! The camera is fine, and I’ll dry out. I did manage to get this picture, however, of the mallard hen with her two nearly-grown ducklings before I went in. We’ve seen them a few times before at the big mud flats down the bank from the southern playground.
I cleaned up as best I could and continued north until I came upon this pair of spotted sandpipers (Actitis macularius) on our side of the river for a change. On the left/top, without spots, appears to be a juvenile, and on the right/bottom, with spots, appears to be a breeding adult.
As I’m trying to get shots of these skittish birds, which we’ve been after for weeks, guess who shows up.
That’s right! The three mallards that watched me fall in just 10 minutes before. I guess they figure I must be completely harmless after that stunt.
Better yet, they marched right up onto the path and into the weeds on the east side. I eventually gave up on continuing north and backtracked to go around them. Little stinkers are getting bold!
Here’s mom keeping an eye on me while her kids have their second breakfast.
After the detour, I got back down to the river and spotted these pretty new flowers below the beer garden. On the right/top might be small-head blazing star (Liatris microcephala), a not-very-dense dense blazing star (Liatris spicata), or even prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya); and on the left/bottom might be Virginia or common mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum).
I finally reached the oxbow pond north of the falls and found our mallard family with the yellow duckling, and this morning mom and all five ducklings are back together! Woo Hoo! Maybe junior just felt off and was self-quarantining for the day, eh?
Once they see me, well, then it’s bath time, of course, and after their bath, they march right up the bank, which is pretty steep at this point, and onto the path! What the heck did I step in this morning, besides the river, right?
Here’s the second mom this morning suggesting that I go around! What the heck is growing on the east side of the path today? Ducknip?
And there you have it. I sure am as glad as you all must be to see those five siblings back together again. Yay!