Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Continuing Adventures of the World's Worst Birder

The constellation I feared would never happen, happened. I remembered my binoculars and my camera when the dogs when I went to the park this morning. There was some unexpected rain yesterday, and I'm not sure if that was responsible for the higher pond level, or if some water was released into the pond by Parks and Rec, but the center rocks were completely submerged. A duck mama and the cormorants were squabbling over these rocks the other night, so maybe this was Mother Nature's way of having the last word. There were only a few ducks and three geese up and about. We sat and watched anyway. Mr. Big had a great time barking at all of them. The cormorants were nowhere to be seen. Finally, my stomach growling loud enough to scare the birds indicated that it was time to go.

At that moment, two of the cormorants glided in and started swimming and diving. I did manage to snatch some snaps, and even though they are not good, I offer them here anyway. The black-crowned night herons are comfortable enough around the strange primates and canines they live amongst to let us get within 4 feet without flying away. The ducks were still sleeping, although there were a few searching for breakfast. The geese were curled up atop each other, snoring away, until Mr. Big woke them up (you can see the grumpy expression on the goose's face below). There are two mama ducks with babies, but only one family was afloat today. And then there was this strange flock of duck-like birds I'd never seen before. They were clustered at one end of the pond. As you can see, the other ducks were not perturbed by them. Can anyone identify them? Maybe they're Asian strays?

Bird Butts of North America, Plate 2: Black-crowned Night Heron

"Stop following me!"
Immature black-crowned night heron, sizing us up.

"Hey, turn that barking alarm clock off!"

Mama and babies looking for breakfast.

The cormorant eyeballs the barking dog and the "Sssshhh'ing!" human.
"Good morning, sunshine!"

The resident ducks pay no attention to the hungover party ducks who crashed their pond.

Strange breeding plumage? Asian strays?

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