Friday, July 17, 2009

Fridays Birds

I decided to go back to Institute Park today on my lunch hour in hopes of getting a glimpse of the Black-crowned Night Heron Rick reported seeing yesterday. The first thing I saw were the Mute Swans including their young shown in the pictures above. One interesting thing about the immediate picture above is the fact that both swan's feet are sticking out. I did a quick google search on this and found nothing but I am thinking it may be something to do with regulating body temperature as it was toasty this afternoon!

A note worthy picture of a male Mallard. Why is it note worthy? Because this guy here still has his beautiful plumage. Something I have not seen in close to three weeks now!

Speaking of ducks, I had a bizarre episode this afternoon while at the pond (what else is new). Anyhow, I was walking back toward the island to see if the DCNH would decide to grace me with its presence, when suddenly a man started flagging me down with his arms. Now I am quite used to this when birding in public places with non-birders around. I can feel their eyes upon me while I walk past them as they wonder what I am taking pictures of. I always get a couple of good citizens who eagerly tell me of the Great-blue Heron that is just up the path or the huge Snapping Turtles near the corner, but this guy meant business which scared me because I had no idea what would cause such excitement in him.

I get close enough to him to ask him what it is. He doesn't speak English that well (later find out he is from Iraq and just learning English), so it is now a one word syllable game as I inch my way closer to him. Bird I say? Yes he shakes his head. Swan I ask (thinking that would be sure to be it as it always gets non-birders excited). No Swan he says..........Big, is what I think he says back to me. Ahhhhhhh, I think to myself, it must be the Heron of course!!!! I get close enough to what he is looking at and to both of our horror we watch a Mallard duck having seizure like convulsions on the island. She finally has one last violent thrust off the ground and drops dead right before our startled eyes. What was even more interesting was the fact that the Ring-billed Gull in the photo above saw the whole episode and wasn't even phased by it. Ahhhhhh, such different lives wild creatures have from us human folk.

He looks at me sadly and then proceeds to show me another dead Mallard floating in the water. He puts his hand to his mouth and tells me it was probably food which I agreed with. I emailed Rick when I got back to work and he tells me its sediment from the bottom of the pond that is always dug up every summer. It is poisonous from all of the factories and there are always a few casualties every year. I emailed Bill Davis from Fish and Wildlife to let him know just so they have it on record.

On a brighter note I did see the Black-crowned Night Heron (no good pics though) as well as this female Red-winged Blackbird shown above.

I decided to do my usual birding at St Philips tonight and saw that Alan was there over in the other part of the wetlands. He was going back to his car to get his scope because the Black-crowned Night Heron was there! The bird was very far away so the only way I could get recordable shots was to digiscope. The pictures came out overexposed (what else is new), but I was able to pick up that crazy red eye it has. So cool!

So different looking than the Great-blue and is just a little larger than the Green Heron.

Check out that gorgeous plumage including the adorable feather sticking up from the top of its head!

While the Green Herons were not around, the Great-blue Herons were as evidenced in the photo above.

As well as two adorable Barn Swallows just begging for a photo.

Lastly, a photo of a recently fledged House Sparrow taken in downtown Worcester today. I believe this is their second or third brood. And we wonder why they are the predominate bird!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Kim, Sorry to hear about the death of the mallards. That's sad... Hope someone can do something about the water (or whatever is causing it).

You got some great photos --even from a distance---of the Black-crowned Night Heron. Love that RED eye.

Have a great weekend.

Rambling Woods said...

Oh my gosh..I hope they remove the dead mallard so that they get eaten quickly....Your male mallard in breeding plummage might be a first year male who is a bit behind..sad to see floating dead mallards though... I love the mallards...

Kelly said...

Oh my gosh...I've never witnessed anything like that. It's good you were able to contact someone and get it on record. (I love those red eyes too!)

Chris Petrak said...

Poisonous sediment from the bottom! dump the crap and it'll go away or become someone else's problem. Our abuse of nature keeps coming back to haunt us!

A New England Life said...

That's quite an array of birds Kim.

Funny but I photographed a Swan yesterday and she had her foot up out of the water too! Hmmm....

Nature can be so sad sometimes. Sorry you had to witness it.

Wonderful Heron photo! They're such beautiful birds!


Jayne said...

That is so sad about the ducks. Wonder just how many succumb each year?

Funny to see the swans with their feet up!

NCmountainwoman said...

How awful that we pollute our waters. Why can't people understand that it's about more than a few birds?

Bird World Blog said...

Good pictures. Sorry about the mallards.

Andy said...

What a sad story about the mallards

Steve said...

Shame about the Mallard Kim. Lets hope the man from the ministry can do something. Our male Mallards are still in breeding plumage, must be the weather! Great pictures as always.

lindsey77 said...

that is REALLY sad about the ducks. I would have been crying.


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