The male Anhingas have been showing off as they get ready for breeding season. The blue-green coloration around their eyes is very pronounced and I’ve seen them displaying their wings in dramatic poses.
This male was in a tree above the pond-side trail flashing his wings. I didn’t see any females nearby and he soon took off with a flourish.
He didn’t go far, landing in a nearby tree that already has a Great Blue Heron nest and several Great Egret nests.
The Tundra Swans are still hanging out at Bear Island Wildlife Management Area although local lore says they will be heading north any day now. A flock averaging 300 of these Swans has been coming to this area every winter since the mid 1970s.
On this morning the fog was dense and the air perfectly still. The gnats almost carried us off. The water level in this pond is low and these Swans were wading or sitting in mud rather than swimming.
A few took off and disappeared into the fog before I could even focus on them.
This was a tiny meal for an Anhinga and I have no idea how they locate such a fish while swimming under water. See my post Anhinga Feeding from two years ago to see how big a fish they are capable of swallowing.
Small and chunky, the Pied-billed Grebe always looks like a baby-faced juvenile to me.
Last week several of them were swimming in the rice field canal. Saltbrush seeds from shrubs that lined the bank were drifting over the water.
The lowering late afternoon light and growth on the opposite bank changed the look of the water as I proceeded down the canal.
Further along the Saltbrush seeds looked like sparkly feathers floating on the water. Saltbrush, Baccharis halimifolia, is a woody shrub or small tree in the Asteraceaefamily, and is also known as Groundsel.
I hear Common Gallinules more often than see them. Per All About Birds they “make all sorts of chicken-like clucks, whinnies, cackles, squawks, and yelps.” Needless to say, many a birder has jumped when that racket starts, often accompanied by one or more Gallinules running across the water to safety. I often refer to them as the early warning system for other ducks and wildlife I might have been hoping to see.
These images were taken on different days, but in the same area. The stump in the image above is newly sticking out of the water as the rice field pond has been drained for repairs.
The red bill in the image below looks almost like fake plastic, but that is how they look. Bald Eagles will stalk Gallinules in this pond and I wonder how that beacon of red appears to them.
A flock of Double-crested Cormorants was hanging out on a dead tree that has fallen into a pond on a recent sunny afternoon. When I first spotted them my view of the group was blocked by reeds, but this one had found a higher perch.
As I worked my way along the bank I saw these two were having a squabble.
One exited with a big flap while the rest ignored him. You can see the bird from my first image near the top, towards the left.
As I rounded the end of the pond I was able to get a view from a different angle and closer to the water.