As promised, this morning was nice and dry, and the sun peeked through the thin cloud cover, so I was able to get a nice and early start in the park. I stopped by the pond first, and I glimpsed the wood ducks, but they were foraging under some bushes that overhang the water, and the light was still low, so I let them be and headed for the river.
The fish seemed to have quieted back down, so this morning, ripples meant somebody else was about.
Yup, the beaver were up, and there were at least two of them.
The first one stayed in the vicinity and just kept slowly drifting on the surface. The second stayed a bit more under cover of some logs and branches.
I kept hoping they’d bring out some kits that I could show you, and I heard a few little noises, but today was not the day for that. Instead, all I’ve got is this picture of the first one stretched out so you can even see its tail.
After a full 20 minutes (no kidding, from 6:09 to 6:30), I figured we weren’t going to see kits today, and left them to continue north.
Just above the falls, I was greeted by a spectacle of another sort, the biggest gaggle of goslings I’ve seen so far. As I got closer, they all hiked up on shore and commenced with the preening.
As I approached the north end, I was thrilled to spot a great blue heron fishing between the two islands.
As I carefully approached for a better shot, I spotted a second one just off the northern tip of the southern island.
Best of all, the upstream one started wading south, so I had a hope of capturing an image of the two of them together, like this but better.
As I was scheming about how I would get both of them in focus at the same time, look who the heck wandered into the shot.
You have got to be kidding me right now!
Well, the two herons were also less than thrilled with this turn of events, and took off for some less-crowded waters, and I was left with our river deer, who must have felt a hankerin’ for some fresh seaweed this morning. I hear it’s nutritious.
Here she is finally noticing me standing on shore.
Here she is either expressing her opinion about my presence or savoring that last mouthful.
Here she is trudging past some geese on her way to the far shore.
Here she is encountering a goose doing its best Gandalf impersonation.
Here she is wisely altering her course.
And here she is finally past the last of the geese.
After all that excitement, I continued on my way and soon came across this little family of mallards.
Across the way I could see the family with nearly grownup ducklings all dabbling together.
Nearly underfoot, but not quite, thank goodness, this little guy, perhaps a young toad, could sit on the nail of my little finger.
Back out on the water, I spotted a third group of ducklings who oddly appeared to be on their own.
And then a hen spotted them and headed over, but something seemed off.
The ducklings swam away from her.
And a second hen swam over, and the two hens quickly got into a shoving match.
They did not appear to be fooling around, and I’ve never seen anything like this.
Eventually the would-be interloper gave way, and our hero gave a brief chase, for good measure.
The ducklings sure knew who was who and quickly rallied around Mom.
And they all lived happily ever after.
I think we can all agree, that’s enough river action for one morning, so I headed back towards the pond. On my way, I spotted this little cutie who appears to have its cheeks full.
As I tried to inch up the trail a bit for a slightly better angle, a red squirrel behind me took great exception. It turns out that there were two of them, and they tussled about, so it’s not always about me, I guess.
Even though the fish have quieted back down, there are still big fish in the water, and as I tried to see if I could ID one, it made this little guy leap up onto a lily pad. Why sure, I’ll take your picture, little buddy.
Well, I finally made it to the pond, and the ducks just weren’t in the mood today, including the solo mallard hen, but this young robin was.
A green heron also flew in to pose for us above the island.
And as I was trying to get a better angle on the heron, a bunch of grackles were not about to let me hide in the bushes unnoticed. So I grabbed a picture of one of them, too.
So that’s a dozen species for the morning, and I think that’s enough for now, don’t you?