The winners of today’s photography challenge are the birds. Since today was a holiday (no work, :-)) that meant I had the time to go for another zen walk around Boomer Lake this morning. I managed to get several pictures that I will be sharing this week (in addition to other pictures I managed to get over the weekend).
But today’s picture is of a couple of egrets, some ducks, and a heron (it almost makes me want to think of a bad, corny joke—but I’m currently too tired to do so). Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting the two in the background (the second egret and great blue heron), as I was focused more on the egret and ducks in the foreground.
As migration season kicks off, the limbs of the different submerged trees become prime spots to both fish from, and just generally sit on—so they’re usually always have something sitting on them—be it egret, heron, or cormorant (and sometimes the terns and gulls).
Currently the cormorants haven’t started migrating though (they should be here within probably two months or so—just as the egrets move further south), so the limbs will be having either egrets or herons sitting on them.
I’m going to have to start keeping a tally record and see who sits on the various branches and logs the most during my walks–the great blue herons or the common egret.
For today–I’d have the say the egrets were on four branches/logs and the herons were on two branches/logs.
Today’s science Sunday
post is brought to you by the migrating northern shoveler (Anas clypeata).
I saw several of these
ducks over the weekend while I was walking at Boomer Lake, and was able to get
decent pictures of them today. These birds winter in the southern states
(especially along the coasts), migrate through the Midwest and summer in the
northern states and up into Canada and Alaska. Theses ducks can also be found
throughout Europe and Asia (as they breed in the northern areas), and they
winter south of the border (where it’s warm—southern Europe, Africa, India,
southeast Asia, Central & northern South America).
Though it is hard to
tell from the picture, but those dark heads on the ducks with the white bodies
are actually a green color. I didn’t have my large zoom lense on me to really
get a close up picture of them. But you can see the red patch on the sides of
the four males—all of which are trying to court the same female duck for the
Some cool facts about
the northern shoveler:
Their bills are big
(~2.5 inches long) and shaped like a shovel (hence the name). The bill also
contains fine hair projections all along the edges that act as a sieve,
allowing them to filter out tiny crustaceans, aquatic invertebrates, and seeds
from the water.
They are yearly
monogamous birds. They form bonds on the wintering grounds and then stay
together until it’s time to return to the wintering grounds.
There is usually a
clutch of 9-12 eggs that are overseen by the female only for about three to
four weeks. The mother will lead them to the water and keep them close to cover
of the marsh vegetation, and the young are capable of flight somewhere between
fifty-two and sixty days after hatching.