One of the good aspects of having had so much rain and snow melt lately is that a lot of what was formerly empty pasture and field has been converted to pond area, and the ducks are taking advantage.
Yesterday, I drove along a backroad that runs beside the very swollen Penns Creek behind the marsh, and I was rewarded with several good sights, though these photos are pretty rough:
Excuse me, Mr. Hooded Merganser, sir? Could you please quit being so shy and come closer to me?
Oh fine, then; just swim away. When your pics come out blurry, Mr. Snobby, don't say I didn't warn you. And yes, as a matter of fact that hairdo does make your head look weird-shaped.
I also saw many Eastern bluebirds--can you see them on the tops of the posts?
Shortly before I snapped, there were actually three of them on three consecutive posts! but of course one of them flew off to this tree:
It was quickly getting dark, so apologies for the crappy photos.
A great blue heron, back among the snags and such:He stood stock-still in this one spot for. an. hour. That water must've been effing FREEZING too.
A little Northern mockingbird, looking cute:
I also saw these two twig nests, high in the tops of two side-by-side dead pine trees:
You can see the shape of some bird near the top (a raptor? almost looks like a crow, but I don't think it is); both nests were visited by birds, but I was looking into the setting sun and just couldn't pick out any field marks. His flight (I saw him fly away from the nests) and his general shape leads me to guess at a Cooper's or maybe even a sharp-shinned hawk, but I'm just guessing. My Peterson's Guide to Bird Nests and Eggs wasn't much help here; all the raptors have nests made of twigs, but they are lined with different materials. (But I did check the pic and info on crow's nests, and they do not (I think) look like this.) As you can see, however, I was nowhere near enough to see that much detail. I will monitor these nests (they're about 200-300 yards from the road, so I can monitor from afar, and next time I'll remember to take my scope so I can get a closer look.
Any guesses on these nests? I'll try to update with better/more pics as I explore this new fertile area!