Saturday, May 03, 2014

Hermann's Birds

Black-bellied Whistling Duck
 We are in Houston this weekend attending a family wedding. Weddings are always a good way to see distant family members, much better than funerals, don't you think? My biggest challenge is trying to make the directions from my GPS match the actual road conditions as we find our way from location to location. The streets aren't always named what the GPS thinks, and construction changes the ramp locations. I admit to some white-knuckle trips in the last few days, and other than going the wrong way on a ramp once, no grave dangers have occurred.
Hermann Park
Hermann Park, in the middle of the urban area, is home to the Natural Science Museum, and the Zoo, along with a large lake. Since we were meeting some family members for lunch, we couldn't see quite as much as we might have alone, but the train ride was lots of fun, and passed over part of the lake with an egret and heron, so we headed back there on foot.
Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are a welcome sight in Texas, with their bright pink beaks, and rich warm umber tones in their feathers. We noticed a large obvious white wing bar as they flew around too.
Spotted Whistling Ducklings
In a secluded portion along the edge of the lake, a mother duck watched over her little spotted ducklings as they practiced reaching down to the bottom for goodies to eat.
Boat-tailed Grackle
The large Boat-tailed Grackles are everywhere here, piercing the air with whistles, whines, loud clucks and noises I can't begin to describe. Once you hear them, you will never forget. They do glow in the sunshine though! The other common birds are doves, both the Mourning and Ring-necked Doves, and pigeons cooing as the males parade their puffed up finery for the females.
Green Heron
The same area with the ducklings also attracted the attention of a Green Heron, landing in the greenery.
Green Heron
But it's hard to actually see any green on him. He turned to face up, raising his beak vertically, making it hard to even find him among the vertical water plants.
Duck Punk
Of course, whenever you have wild and domestic ducks in the same lake, you will find hybrids, but this has to be one of my favorites. I can't image his parentage to get a punk feather-do like this!
Listen to this short video of the ducklings. Do you think this is why they are called "whistling" ducks?

1 comment:

denapple said...

a wonderful park. we spotted four different nests of ducks with young ones, and I'm sure there were more hidden in the dense thickets.