Thursday, October 25, 2007

Northern Shovelers

Sun and cloud at the swamp

I started my day at the dentist's office having an old filling replaced. I am not a relaxed dental patient and received two shots of Novocaine so the dentist did not have to deal with my pain reactions. When I left, my face was half paralyzed leaving me lopsided and drooling from the mouth. I had to put in some time before I returned to work, preferably somewhere where people would not be around to stare at me.

So I went to the swamp.

This morning there was a light frost on the rooftops, the first frost I have noticed in this strangely warm fall season. We still have not had a killer frost. The sky was full of big grey clouds and the sun broke through occasionally creating dramatic lighting.

The swamp was missing some old regulars like the Great Blue Herons and the Kingfishers. The Wood Ducks and Northern Pintails have moved on and the regular Canada Geese and Mallards are still around. The bushes were full of Goldfinches and Juncos, the latter having returned here earlier this month. I scanned the water with my binoculars and notice some strange beaks. From a distance, these ducks could be mistaken for Mallards, but up close the difference was clear. They were far out in the swamp, but my pictures were good enough to make an ID.

I left the swamp once I was able to close my mouth and visited a nursing home nearby. I could identify with my patients who had suffered strokes and had facial weakness and swallowing difficulties. Going to the dentist was very rewarding;- a repaired tooth and a new bird for my list!


  1. Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed my visit.

  2. Anonymous8:12 pm GMT-4

    Great bird for sure! Don't you love that huge bill?

  3. Ruth--you must be an optomist. A trip to the dentist, extra novocaine, and you come away with increased sympathy for your patients and a walk in nature!

  4. Nice find! I have never seen a Northern Shoveler yet.I really like that top photo too.-A nice contrast in colors.

  5. That's a cool way to combine dental/nature:)

  6. Gorgeous photo, with the fall coloring and light in the swamp! Glad you're done with the dentist.

  7. Mary from ON- Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the fall shots.

    Monarch- That bill is like a strainer. The picture is too digital, but if you enlarge the picture of the male N. Shoveler, it looks like there must be holes in the lower bill. I will have to check.

    KGMom- My mom is an eternal optimist and my dad the opposite. I came out in the middle, but it is not hard to be grateful when you work with disabled people. I am thankful for every day I can walk outdoors.

    Larry- I am surprised I have seen a bird you haven't. Maybe they will be migrating your direction soon. They do not nest here.

    Jean- Thanks. I am sure no one wanted to hear all the details of my tooth problem. Nature is far more inspiring.

    Africakid- It is supposed to rain steadily this weekend :-) and that will bring down most of the fall leaves. They are almost done anyway. I was happy to get that picture yesterday before all is bare.

  8. Hi Ruth,
    I dislike going to the dentist also. Maybe if I rewarded myself with a birding/nature walk afterwards it would be less traumatic knowing I have something to look forward to.
    I saw a Northern Shoveler this spring for the first time. I love that big bill!

  9. I remember as a young teacher going to the dentist at lunch hour and then going back to the classroom. I only did that once.

  10. Anonymous8:36 pm GMT-4

    Absolutely love the clouds-and-sun photo at the top. Wonderful!

  11. Ruthie- I had put off this repair for almost 2 years. Silly me! But I dislike the drill so much.

    AC- That would have been fine if didn't have to talk. Not possible for a teacher for sure.

    Jennifer- Thanks. Fall does have dramatic contrasts.


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