On my way to the pond, as I was trying to take an artsy picture of bloodroot blossoms that are finally opening up fully, I happened to spot this female cardinal working on her nest just about 4 feet off the ground and 10 feet off the oakleaf trail.
She’s camouflaged pretty good in there, eh?
By the time I finally arrived at the pond, it was already nap time for the goslings. They were all tucked up under mom’s wings, and not a one was visible. Even dad was playing it cool and allowing some interlopers to nose around the island on the far side. I headed west toward the river to bide my time, and have no new sightings to show for it. Happily, by the time I got back to the pond, it was family swim time. Yup, their strict regimen of eating grass, swimming in mom’s slipstream, and sleeping under her wings seems to be working perfectly. All 8 youngins, who are no more than 72 hours old at this point, seem fit as fiddles.
Dad’s pulling up the rear, just out of frame. Once they were all safely ashore, he proceeded to give some interlopers what for.
First, and foremost, all eight (8) goslings were chasing their mom around and feasting on the grass beside the pond in the warm morning sun by the time I got there, so they survived another night. Phew! I’m not sure if they even go back to the island any more. Also in attendance were a few mallards, a slew of wood ducks, a hooded merganser pair briefly, and two new canada geese pairs. I don’t know if now that the goslings have hatched that the parents are just less adamant about chasing away the interlopers, or the interlopers are just more adamant about floating around on the pond. There are still chases, but none result in anyone flying off anymore, as was always the case before.
The big surprise guest, however, was a magnificent great blue heron, who was spooked and took off before I realized it was there. Dang!
I didn’t want to hog the pond and had a hope of spotting another heron, so I went down to the the river to see what I could see, and there was another family of canada geese that felt compelled to abandon a little patch of grass on the far side and cross the river with 3 goslings in tow. It looked like a harrowing adventure for the little ones, who appeared to struggle to stay close to mom and in her slipstream, but I am relieved to report that they all made it safely to calmer waters on the east side. Phew again!
After yesterday morning’s truncated outing due to April showers, I went out again in the afternoon, as one does, to get in the steps I had missed earlier. Nothing much had changed since the morning, and I was heading back home, when I spotted what looked like a soda can down an embankment. I was pretty sure that I had spotted this can before, and it didn’t appear to be making very much progress up the bank on its own, so I ventured down to see if I could be of some help. Once I was down there, of course, I spotted several other items that looked like they could use a hand as well. So, I’m carefully threading my way through the light underbrush when you wouldn’t believe what I spotted:
That’s right, Bambi’s mom and her sister Edna, too, where just chillin’ together in the woods. They hardly seemed to be concerned about me, either, not like some of these dang birds of which I try to capture an image from time to time. Bambi’s mom made herself busy with some little itch on her right shoulder, before staring me straight in the eyes, and Edna didn’t even bother to get up.
Anyway, with that image already on my SDHC card, I felt a lot less pressure to perform this morning. I just went out, got in my steps, and enjoyed the sights and sounds. The pond was surprisingly busy with a couple-three blue-winged teals, a half dozen wood ducks, a few mallards, and one pair of canada geese, which they strictly enforce. I finally did stumble upon some other stuff worth 5 mb: some yellow marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) that is finally in full bloom, and some male American pussy willow blossoms. Those and some other pictures are online at https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewdressel/albums/72157713703616688
Not a whole lot to report this morning. I had just gotten to the pond, just missed taking a picture of a wood duck up in a tree, just taken a picture of some creeping charlie blossoms, and the skies opened up. I waited out the worst of it under the leaning trunk of a huge willow tree, and then headed back home. Can’t win ’em all, eh?
Our friends at Wikipedia say
Glechoma hederacea (syn.Nepeta glechomaBenth., Nepeta hederacea (L.) Trevir.) is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen creeper of the mint family Lamiaceae. It is commonly known as ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground,creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, and run-away-robin. It is also sometimes known as creeping jenny, but that name more commonly refers to Lysimachia nummularia. It is used as a salad green in many countries. European settlers carried it around the world, and it has become a well-established introduced and naturalized plant in a wide variety of localities.
It is considered an aggressive invasive weed of woodlands and lawns in some parts of North America. In the absence of any biological control research conducted by the USDAherbicides are relied upon, despite their drawbacks, particularly for woodland ecosystems. The plant’s extensive root system makes it difficult to eradicate by hand-pulling.-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glechoma_hederacea
Anne and I both slept so well, I suspect those beans we had last night were magic.
Anyway, it was an interesting morning in the park. I was just sitting on a bench by the pond when the goose that was not on the nest started honking, but I couldn’t see what he (if only for the sake of simpler language) was honking about. As far as I could see, there were no dogs approaching the water, no other geese flying overhead, but there were a pair of geese out on the grass to the south of the pond that I hadn’t noticed. He sure had, however, and he flew down there to dissuade them from coming any closer.
I was about to continue my walk further into the park, but he was down there honking away at the other pair, and now they were honking back and coming closer, and so I decided to violate Starfleet General Order 1 and see if I could help resolve the dispute. As I walked towards the pair, suggesting to them that this was not the pond they were looking for, our guy must have decided “enough is enough” and came over my shoulder from behind with what felt like about 3 feet of separation. Be still my heart!
Well, they all took to the air, had a great little chase, the pair headed east, our hero returned to the pond, and I headed on my way to the river. Mission Accomplished! After all that excitement, we had a nice little graupel shower, the sun came out, and I spotted this little clump of toadshade fixin’ to blossom soon.
It was surprisingly cold, but that was the most noteworthy aspect of this morning’s excursion. Leaves were frozen to the litter I picked up.
Later this afternoon I headed out again, the sun had warmed things up a bit, and I finally found a patch of trout lilies that have fully opened up. This is what they look like from below.
Not too shabby, eh, for a blossom that might be about an inch across on a stalk about 4 inches tall.
Then I headed home for the tacos Anne was making out of the can of organic refried beans I found in the parking lot on Sunday, and just as I approached the Kilbourntown House near the south end of the park, look who deigned to pose for me.
Nothing really new to show. Everyone is waiting for the goose eggs to hatch. It’s been nearly a month since my first picture of a goose on the nest, and their incubation period is supposed to be 32 days. I’ve heard reports of blue birds in the park, but they are hiding from me so far.
All I’ve got to show for two trips today is this willow tree, which seems to have had a rough time of it, but is starting to show green shoots at the top.
Life in the pond appears to have entered a new phase. The geese and mallards are still there, and a hooded merganser and a kingfisher even popped in for a sec, but the grebe appears to have moved on and I don’t see much of the wood ducks any more. I’ve heard that there are a lot of mergansers to see down on the lake and grebes have been spotted on the river.
The trees and bushes are still full of red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers, goldfinches, nuthatches, and creepers, but I’ve been told a new wave of migrants are waiting for the bugs to come out. Chet appears to have moved on for good.
Meanwhile, I did find this racoon mandible laying in the leaves just off the Oakleaf Trail.
And the mayapples are starting to unfurl their little umbrella leaves.