I bumped into Lisa, a long-time reader, in the mowed remains of the wildflower meadow at the north end yesterday. I was shooting the monarch and silver-spotted skipper butterflies, and she was looking for the indigo bunting we could both hear singing his brains out. She spotted him and also saw a hummingbird on the same branch for extra credit. I should have tagged along with her and left the butterflies for later, eh? Next time.
Anyway, she asked where I had seen the “great blues” the day before, and I pointed out the tree, but we didn’t see any yesterday, there or elsewhere, as you know. Well, Lisa, I found one of the great blues at the pond this morning, and it was doing its darnedest to keep its greatness out of sight.
Here he or she is finding a nice spot to fish while simultaneously throwing off my autofocus. I think you can still make out what’s going on, nevertheless.
The coolest part, for me at least, was watching the fish wriggle down its neck, though I can’t say for sure who was doing more wriggling, the fish or the bird’s neck muscles. I read that “they eat the bones because there is no way for them to fillet their fish!” Duh, and “the calcium and other nutrients in whole prey items are great nutrition for the birds.“
I also saw the wood duck hen and her ducklings on the pond, but couldn’t get a good shot, so I headed down to the river to see who was around. There was nobody at the mudflats this morning, but at the north end I was treated to this spectacle. It seems a killdeer really wanted me to look its way. It deliberately made that display several times, but I don’t believe I saw it do anything that looked like feigning broken wing.
There were several killdeer on the rocks exposed around the northern island by the low river water, as seems to be the norm these days, and it sounded like they were all shouting murderous imperatives about cervids, but I couldn’t tell from which one(s) I was supposed to avert my gaze. Maybe there was a recent fledgling in the mix. If so, then good for them.
On my way back south, I came across one of the several mallard hens with ducklings, who paused to asses my intentions.
Then I swung by the pond again in hopes for a better wood duck image, and the little scamps obliged this time. I thought I’d find Mom with them, but she was nowhere in sight, though not too far away, I’m sure.
Finally, as I strolled home this morning, I spotted this female cardinal finding something that seemed worth hauling away on a Friends of Estabrook Park bench beside the middle parking lot. I wasn’t prepared for the action shot, so it’s a little blurry, but I think you get the idea.
Lastly, it was so beautiful out yesterday evening that I went out for a second visit to the pond, and beside the now-closed road, just as the sun was setting, I came across this hairy or downy woodpecker (I can’t quite tell which in this image, but I’m leaning toward downy) being surprisingly bold as it chirped loudly and pretended to forage on this little tree.
I took a couple of pictures, thanked him for he opportunity, and started to continue north when a Cooper’s hawk shot out of a low tree not 10 feet in front of me. It turns out the woodpecker was trying to warn me all along, and I just didn’t get the message. Sorry, little Dude. I’ll try to remember for next time.
At the pond, a wood duck hen was up on the lawn looking for scraps that anyone might have left, though I think the signs someone put up are doing their job. I figured she was solo, not the one with the ducklings, and just sat on the bench to enjoy the sight anyway in light too low for my camera.
Well, after a bit of searching, she hopped back down into the water, and her 9 ducklings who had remained out of sight at the water’s edge, all swam out to follower her. Ha! When will I ever learn.