Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Waterfowl on parade!

Yesterday after work I walked out on the marsh and saw quite a few new ducks and some other spring birds.

Here's the big view of what I could see (in the low light of a cloudy evening) from the road:

click for larger version

I can make out some Northern Pintails and Mallards, but can anyone else help ID any other species of duck? See the ones toward the back with the brownish heads? They look like Canvasbacks but they're too small, I think. Help! Looking from the road gives the highest-up vantage to see the Large Pond, but in that fading light and all the way from the road, and hand-held, this is as clear a photo as I could get.

Here's a cropped shot showing some mallards and some Northern Pintails:
I like that one who's apparently bowing up to take off. I loves me some ducks.

I also saw six or seven Wood Ducks farther back and to the right of these ducks, but I didn't get even a blurry photo because--despite my best imitation of Mary's stealthy sneaking--I still spooked them. I saw them through my binocs before they flew off, though, and it was definitely my best look at a wood duck. I wish I had a pic!

I also saw a pair of Eastern Bluebirds; I cropped this photo within an inch of its life:

The following pic is the result of fiddling with one's camera settings despite not having read the manual:

Behold! The wonders of a wide-open aperture and high ISO, without a tripod. See the two blurry blue areas? Those are bluebirds (blur-birds) taking off. I can't wait until all these clouds are gone, and we get some decent sun.

Here are some ducks flying over--UPDATE: Canada Geese, thanks to new commenter Richard, whose blog looks cool!--and you can tell how dark it is by this time (it was close to 7pm):

I debated with myself about whether to crop out the little guy to the left, but I finally just left him in. Cropping is an art form, and if I were printing this to mount on my wall or something, I'd likely have cropped out the guy on the left. But here--well--I just couldn't decide.

Long-time readers will remember that the marsh owners, Greg and Mary Kay Williams, added a boardwalk and viewing station to the marsh last year:

The purple loosestrife may be dead, but it's still clogging up the entire marsh. Here's what it looks like from the viewing platform:

Were the loosestrife gone, you could probably see the large pond (at least one end of it).

When I got back to my yard, I remembered to check a spot where I found one little morel mushroom last year. Here's what I found last night:

Is that a young morel, I wonder? I'll keep checking.


Splotchy said...

You were right not to crop the l'il guy.

Richard said...

The birds flying over look like geese to me...long necks and wide wingspan.

dguzman said...


Richard--welcome to the blog! You may be right on that pic. I saw so many birds fly over that I couldn't remember (when I was writing), and I initially thought they were geese, but I also thought I remembered taking a pic of the mallards.... I'm going with your judgment that they're Canadas.

The Bunns said...

No ... that is two Boeings and an Airbus!!!

Amy said...

I like the little guy on the left. He adds good variety and makes the image more interesting (c:

Earl Cootie said...

I love looking at mushrooms, but I never know what I'm looking at. I saw morels out on the hiking trails for a couple of years before I chanced upon a captioned drawing of one somewhere and discovered that they were morels. But yours? Beats me. I'm going to take your word for it, whatever your word turns out to be.

Anonymous said...

Lovely! Yay bluebirds!
And I love the picture of the geese (?).

Mary said...

Delia, you make me laugh so hard. Actually, I like the shot of the sorry Bluebirds taking off behind the grasses! It's good!

You have more ducks that I'll ever see... I could not enlarge that first photo and even if I could, I'd be no help!

My stalking works 5% of the time. But I keep trying :o)

Fran said...

This is a GREAT post!

elizabird said...

Yep cropping well done! Adds interest.
Experiencing mushroom envy here! I'd keep an eye out for that one. It could be a false morel! Keep us posted!

dguzman said...

Bunns--you're right!

Amy--thanks--now I know I made the right call.

Earl--I'll have to check it again tonight and see what it looks like.

Mary--you've got some great water areas near you too, with your Stinker blue heron.


Elizabird--thank you! I'll get another mushroom pic tonight.

dguzman said...

I fixed the first pic so you can click for a larger version--I don't know why it didn't work before, but it does now.