Today must have heard me yesterday talking smack about it and so said to tomorrow, “hold my beer.” Wow, what a show! And I even managed to capture images of some of it.
First up, a young Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) tried three times to catch a squirrel at the north edge of the soccer fields, but had no luck that I could see. It could be the same one from beside the pond a week and a half ago. Here it is, between attempts one and two, hiding from me in a tree and showing off those big feet.
This time, I’m confident it is a Cooper’s hawk based on the comparison pictures here and especially here.
Soon after all that excitement, I met a fellow park visitor and long-time reader who reported seeing as many as 6 deer cavorting on the west edge of the soccer field, and she had just heard confirmation from another visitor and reader. Now, I have no reason to doubt either one, plus, how can I say “no” to Anne, so we headed back to see them. Sadly, they had moved on be the time we arrived. Dang, that would have been fun to see, right?
I continued north to see if there might be any more flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum) blossoms, and Holy Smokes, they’re up like mushrooms after a rain! I counted over a dozen blossoms right on the verge of opening, and as I was counting, there was a ruckus to the east that sounded like someone dragging a garbage can down the Oak Leaf Trail. I couldn’t see anything, so I continued counting, and next thing I knew, a young buck with a small rack full of nice pointy antlers charged out of the brush not 10 feet from me. Luckily for me, he still had his wits about him, he missed me, and he shot south instead. I did not manage even to reach for my camera. I was too busy grabbing my heart and stuffing it back into my chest! Man, it was like Wild Kingdom out there this morning.
I vowed to return later to see if some blossoms might actually open and pressed onward.
At the pond, the young blue heron was fishing on the west side again and this time nicely lit by the morning sun, so that was a picture even I could get.
We’ve seen a lot of it, so I let it fish and once more forged ahead. Just on the other side of a little copse of trees and bushes, right beside the road, this little critter was busy getting its fill.
And then I thought to myself, “What’s the rush? Why not go back, sit on the bench, let the heron catch something, and maybe get a nice action shot for a change.” So I go back, sit on the bench, and look at the little armada that came swimming down the pond.
My best guess, from right to left, is a mature female wood duck with her distinctive white teardrop around her eye, a young wood duck with its distinctive facial markings, and a young mallard with its distinctive single stripe across its eye. Man, I haven’t seen four birds on the pond at the same time in weeks!
Finally, I did eventually make it to the river, walked south on most of the river trail, saw nothing new, came back up to check on the flowers, and Ta Da! A few were open. Here’s a nice fresh one, and one that a bee has already gotten to and made a mess of. Worth the wait, I’d say.
Lastly, it looks like one last batch of monarchs are emerging, and here’s a nice-and-crisp-looking one warming up in the morning sun.
I can’t wait to see what September brings.