Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some of the regulars AND a very different turtle and duck - not the norm

FINALLY!! I'm pretty sure this is a pic of a Red-Bellied Turtle who is on the Endangered Species List. He's walking past another turtle on his left. You can see the other shell behind him and the other turtle's head sticking up in the air.  Verrry cool!

Another pic of the turtle with the bright red belly on the lower half of the pic and it looks like the same turtle as yesterday basking in the sun on the rock in the upper half of the pic :)

Looks like the two turtles in the lower half of the pic are racing to the best sunning spot.

There's a little turtle head sticking out of the water in the center of the picture. He's making his way to the "turtle beach"

Can you see the determination in his eyes?

Turtle Triangle!

Seems like he has a pretty good sized shell under that water. Wow!

I was contemplating taking a pic of them when they both turned around at the same time and were facing my camera!  It was like they were posing, and maybe turtle smiling, for the camera!  How could I resist??

His shell is still wet, just out of the water and on his way to sun himself,

At first I didn't know what kind of duck the one on the right was.  After checking my Bird Guide Book, it looks like he's a male Blue Winged Teal.  Maybe his mate is nesting nearby???? Or just passing through, on his way to bigger & better things :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Turtles and ducks and goose, oh, my!

No, this is not the Bermuda Triangle.  It's the Turtle Triangle.  My guess is that they're all eying up the tree branch trying to decide whether it would be a safe place to sun himself/herself.

Here's Lake Afton's Chinese Swan Goose, whom I refer to as Gus, calmly laying on the walkway while a mother shows Gus to her young child.

Can't remember ever seeing Gus just sitting and looking around.  He's usually either walking, running or swimming.  Just Chillin' today.

My guess is that he was keeping a very close eye on me.

This guy also had his eye on me.  Is this the turtle version of having some fun in the sun?  It looked to me like he was grinning ear to ear.

Here's a male Merganser.  Without his mate.  I saw him swimming up and down the Lake minus his girl.  So, I was wondering if his other half was getting their nest ready for their little ones

Three out of the four resident Domestic White Ducks in one picture!  They don't hang out together too often!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gettin ready

Today I saw a Canadian Goose couple practicing a skill that they'll need once their little goslings are in the water---  The parents take turns putting their head into the water to feed.  It is well orchestrated when they perfect it.  And it's done in an alternating rhythm.  There's always one pair of eyes on the youngins.  You have to admire them for being smart enough to practice ahead of time so that when they need this skill it will flow like synchronized partners dancing. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Couples - what you'd think and what you wouldn't think

There are 4 white ducks - domestic ducks - that are currently regulars on Lake Afton.  Two of the white ducks are a couple.  Then there is this Male Mallard who has chosen this White Duck as his girl.  Or has she chosen him as her fella? They're usually seen together or in close proximity.  I guess they have an inter-species relationship?

And here's the opposite of what you saw with our first couple.  The Male Domestic Duck, which can be identified by the curly tail, has chosen what we thought may have been a female Mallard but instead, we think she's a Female Black Duck.  She sits lower in the water when she swims and appears to be a little taller when she walks with him than the female Mallard. 

A typical Canadian Goose couple

And, when they travel in groups, these Canadian Geese are traveling in pairs.  You just counted eight of them, didn't you?

His girl was swimming ahead of him.  So much ahead that I couldn't get them both in the same pic.  It's a little hard to see, but can you see his curly tail which, in addition to his beautiful colors, shows that he's a male?

Here's his girl.  She was swimming so fast that she almost swam right out of my picture!  lol  I couldn't help wondering if ducks are like people and some have poor hygiene?  Maybe she's trying to get away from him because he doesn't preen himself to her liking.  Or maybe he ate something that gave him bad breath?     
That's all for today :)

Name Calling

Although it's kind of dreary out I got some pics before the rain started.  AND one of the "regulars" on the Lake is back from a brief hiatus.  It's a really pretty white goose.  I've figured out it's a male goose based on his aggressive behavior.  He makes sure the other geese on the Lake know he's the boss.  Even the Canadian Geese don't challenge him.  And he's been known to bite young children or anyone he thinks he can get away with biting.  He also bites if he thinks you have some food and are holding out on him.  He knows I'm not afraid of him so he behaves himself around me.

OK,  I have a confession to make.......  Quite some time ago I gave the two regular Lake Afton geese names.  Obviously, since they're wild birds they don't come when I call them.  It's just easier than describing them every time we want to refer to one or both of them...  Sooooo the white goose I fondly refer to as Mean Mr. Goose.  The goose with the broken wing sticking out - and who thinks his job description includes air traffic controller and crossing guard - I call Gus.  

Mean Mr. Goose looking innocent and cute with a Mallard swimming by.  Notice there are no other ducks or geese around what looks like cracked corn someone threw on the ground for the ducks & geese to eat.

Once again, Mean Mr. Goose eating alone.  Just the way he likes it.

A typical response from Mean Mr. Goose when he doesn't want to share

Mean Mr. Goose keeping an eye on the Canadian Goose and either doing calisthenics or practicing karate moves.  Notice  his left webbed foot behind him in the air, just under his wing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Above are pics of a good sized turtle. He let me get closer than I thought he would because he had a prime sunning location.  He may be a red-bellied turtle.  He's taking advantage of the warm sunshine today!

Can't figure out how they do this!!  Here's a turtle that's sticking up out of the water, part of his shell in the air.  He somehow managed to climb up onto a tree branch that's sticking out of the water.  Right after I got the second picture he disappeared into the water.  You blink and they're gone!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beautiful day for a swim!

Another couple move into the neighborhood.  Could be A LOT of goslings this year!

Above 2 pics are of Wood Ducks.  Don't see them often.  I HEARD them screech before landing! That's what brought my attention to them. I think they're beautiful!

I was all engrossed in watching the geese & ducks and looked up to see this fella looking at me.  WOW!!

I think they're here for a meeting?

They don't seem to bother each other  :)

Are these what they call "photo ops"?

It starts out so innocently and the next thing you know they're hatching eggs together.

It took him a little while.  But he finally got out of the water and into the leafy area to sun himself! They move faster than you'd think they would!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Above are two pics of the same couple.  They're Common Mergansers.  We see them every Spring and Fall.  Just passing through - traveling North now and in the Fall will be traveling South.  The female has the reddish colored head and looks like she has a spiked hairdo and a white throat.  The male looks much like the male Mallard Duck except that he is white in the body.  They both have thin, red bills.  They don't feed by dabbling or upending - putting their heads into the water with their tails sticking up in the air - like Mallards and the white ducks on the Lake.  Instead, they feed by diving into the water and swimming underwater looking for fish to eat.  They're referred to as diving ducks as opposed to the Mallards which are called dabbling ducks - based on how they feed.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The top two pics show a beautiful Canadian Goose with a much whiter head than normal, the white area extending across the bill.  Would this be like a birth defect or more like a birth mark?? If this goose produces goslings, I'd love to see what they look like when they mature.  We'll know soon enough.  Can't wait to see!
In the third pic one of the geese is yelling at the other one.  It's a long, low sounding honk and the body language is unmistakable. As it's honking it sticks it's neck out straight forward, low, almost parallel  to the surface of the water.
And the last pic is of a couple who've selected a prime housing/nesting location. They're guarding their property.  Every year a goose couple pick this spot.  She will make her nest between the stone wall and the fence that's next to a large tree.  When the female sits on her eggs in early spring and keeps her head low it's difficult to see her there.