Saturday, October 04, 2008

Visitors and Residents at the Park

Our downtown park has sheltered some surprising feathered guests in the past few weeks. Black-crowned Night Herons fished along with the regular Great Blue Herons and a male Wood Duck spent much of the summer hanging out with the Mallards. A local birder reported seeing the Wood Duck in his full mating plumage this past Tuesday and I have gone twice to try and find him. It has turned quite cold and he may have moved on or perhaps is hiding on the small island. I cannot find him and it takes only about fifteen minutes to walk around the shoreline of the small lake and stream.

Juvenile Double crested Cormorant

It was only 2 degrees Celsius yesterday morning and most of the ducks were huddled on the bank in groups. I spotted an unusual shape and found a young Cormorant amongst the Mallards alternately sleeping or looking around lazily. The bird allowed me to approach for a picture and gave me a rather bored look.

The same bird decided to do some fishing a while later and stood on a small dam where the creek entered the lake. A discarded baseball was nearby and it looked like the Cormorant was ready for a game.

I was disappointed that the Wood Duck was missing but a group of Mallard Ducks caught my eye. These birds are so abundant that it is easy to take the striking appearance of the male's breeding plumage for granted. I had never noticed the bluish feathers on the back of the head before. With his white collar and rich brown breast he is a handsome fellow.

The Cormorant and Herons will soon be gone along with the Wood Duck and other visitors. The Mallards and (stupid) non-migrating Canada geese will reside for the winter. They will squeeze themselves near the moving water that freezes slowly in the cold weather. There are a few more weeks to look for migrating ducks. Northern Shovellers are hanging around a few ponds and Pintail ducks should be here soon.

This resident welcomes the new visitors.


  1. Your pictures are so crisp and vibrant, I feel like I at the pond looking for the wood duck, too. You are right, that mallard is a handsome fellow. I've been seeing flocks of Canada Geese flying overhead this week, they are beautiful to watch in flight.

  2. I love ducks as you know Ruth and I have been able to identify (bill pattern) individuals and see them the following year. You commented about my Droll Yankees caged thistle feeder. The HOSP can get into the feeder, but they don't like the thistle and usually go away. But I've found that it keep the goldfinch from being bullied by larger birds. I also have two caged sunflower seed cages that the HOSP are not interested it. Do you participate in Cornell's Project Feeder Watch?

  3. Great, crip shots. The colors are amazing. What kind of camera are you using? I just got a point and shoot and I can't seem to get any good shots.

  4. What a great shot of the pond and red tree.The Cormorant and Duck are good as well.I agree that sometimes if birds are abundant we take them for granted.

  5. I'm glad everything is just ducky with you.

  6. We keep our Canada geese all winter - people get so tired of the mess they leave behind - no pun intended!

  7. Your pics are so crisp and vibrant (beth said). I think I will ask for a new camera for my birhday. Thank you for showing the pic of the cormorant. I had seen some at a park pond and didn't know what they were.
    The mallard looks splendid, doesn't he?

  8. Oh, I love that photo of the Mallard Ruth... just beautiful! :c)

  9. Beth- Some Canada Geese do know how to migrate, but the city variety don't need to unfortunately.

    RW- I seldom see my feeders in the winter as it is dark when I leave for work and come home. I did report a Yellow bellied Sapsucker that visited last year for our Christmas bird count.

    SG- I put information about my (outdated) camera in my sidebar.

    Ruth- Thanks...We had poor light most of the week, but one morning was sunny and beautiful. I love water shots.

    AC- Things got even duckier today ;-)

    Jean- They are as messy as a dog. I am not fond of geese, even though they are attractive.

    Wendy- We have an abundance of Cormorants on our larger bodies of water and they are not a very well-loved bird. I do find them interesting and have never seen one in town like this.

    Jayne- Looking into the eye is rather revealing.

  10. Ruth,

    I love your photos of the park and the birds that reside there. It is a lovely area.

    I haven't had a chance to get out on the trails or down to the river lately. Things have been hectic, but the renovations are almost done. Just a few finishing touches.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. I'm glad you enjoyed my posts on Canadian women in history.


  11. No wonder that young cormorant is trying so hard to fit in. Poor fellow is kinda homely.

    What beautiful spots you've got around your city!

  12. Ruth, you have captured some beautiful fall colors from your trip to the park. Looking at your photos I felt I took the walk along with you -- brr! (a little chilly, wasn't it?)


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