Sunday, March 07, 2010

Spring Comes Marching In

The Beckham Bird Club had another good outing on Saturday, but all the birds we saw were too far away for a good photo, even to me. We saw a beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk soaring across a grassy field into a tree. He bent over and at first we thought he might be eating lunch. Then some one's sharp eye noticed that he was meeting with his sweetie for an early spring tryst, serenaded by the spring peeper chorus. Looks those two will be building a nest in the neighborhood soon!
Disappointed with having no photos, I decided to drive back to Perrin Lake in Jeffersonville, IN, which was closed last week due to the dusting of snow. The weather was wonderful by the time I arrived at the feeding station in this family park. Two girls had five gallon buckets of dog food which they tossed to the ducks and geese by the handfuls. I wonder if these birds get avian diabetes from overeating?
Redheads are diving ducks, of course, and as I tracked one with the camera, it dived just as I clicked the shutter. I have deleted at least a dozen pictures of the water splashing where the duck just went under!

Finally, I decided to get smart and just take a movie of one slipping under the water. The male bounces up like a cork, and what do they do then? Stay on top and start preening, of course! They are beautiful though, and I don't often see Redheads this close.
We have all seen aggressive geese in the spring. We used to take our young children to Cave Hill Cemetery to feed the geese, and one time the kids got chased by the gander when they got a little to close to the nest. With the abundance of food floating in the water, you wonder why these guys chase each other around - unless it's just spring hormones... One small island in the middle of the lake had at least six Wood Duck boxes stuck in the mud around it. I saw a variety of ducks, but only one pair of each, hiding under an overhang, including some Wood Ducks, and these Hooded Mergansers.
I love the iridescent quality of duck feathers. This Mallard looked almost neon in the sun!
Signs of spring are all around this weekend. The call of Sandhill Cranes flying north. Spring Peepers calling from a marshy area. And finally, my neighbor's spring flowers - the first I've seen blooming so far! I'm certainly ready!


Wilma said...

We are still pretty far away from spring here, although a lot of our snow has melted in the past 2 or 3 days. Great to see the lovely flowers.

Artoholic said...

WHat a gorgeous head and neck that Mallard has! Feathery Bling at it's best.

I've always got a soft spot for waterfowl - they can be so comical at times. Great shots.

And your Spring is certainly looking wonderful, as for me - Bring on Winter, as our Autumn is too hot! (38Cdeg here for the next few days - a bazillion Farenheit I think)