Early Seeding Maple

A maple tree stands on this small island, actually more of a struggle, as it doesn’t stand straight and there isn’t much more to it than what you see here in this image taken this week. This tree is an early bloomer, and a variety with bright red seed pods.

Ravenswood Pond, Maple Branch
Ravenswood Pond, Maple Branch

Finding a bird in the right light tucked in among these bright maple seeds is a treat. The next two images were taken a few weeks ago on a windy day when most of the wading birds were staying low. The light wasn’t great but I couldn’t resist the red.

Great Blue Heron in Maple Tree
Great Blue Heron in Maple Tree

A small flock of White Ibis has had this island on their daily route for most of the winter. I often see them sticking out of the pine trees on the far end of the island and was happy to spot these two on the trail side.

White Ibis in Maple Tree
White Ibis in Maple Tree – Peek-a-boo

Gadwall

A few Gadwalls have been hanging out at Ravenswood Pond for the winter. They have been pretty quick to move to the middle or far side of the pond if they sense any human activity. On this day this small group took their time passing by me.

Gadwall
Gadwalls

They will be heading out soon on their spring migration.

Gadwall
Gadwall

This scene is looking the length of this rectangular, man-made pond. The “skinny tree” I sometimes mention is hosting a Great Blue Heron and can be made out on the right.

Pond with Gadwalls
Ravsenswood Pond with Gadwalls

There is duck weed all around the pond and some other bright green pond vegetation has thrived on the right-hand side.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Pair

I didn’t have a great view when I first spotted this pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers. I was pretty sure the one on the right zipped into that hole while I maneuvered around the tree between us.

Pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers in Tree
Pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers in Tree

I watched for him to come out before turning my attention to the other one as he was pecking on the tree. Then I could hear the second one calling.

Red-bellied Woodpecker in Tree
Red-bellied Woodpecker in Tree

The question then was to keep watching the first subject or risk missing some action there and look for the second. I succumbed to looking and he eventually popped up behind this branch. Or was there the whole time and I just didn’t notice.

Red-bellied Woodpecker in Tree
Red-bellied Woodpecker in Tree

He quickly flew off. Meanwhile the first one had moved a little higher, paused a moment, then also flew off.

Red-bellied Woodpecker in Tree
Red-bellied Woodpecker in Tree

Pied-billed Grebe and Reflection

Pied-billed Grebes are mighty cute, always looking a little “baby faced.”

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

On this morning at the Ding Darling Wildlife Drive the water was still and the light very nice for reflections.

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

Grebes seem to be in constant motion, quickly reversing direction as they search for prey in the water.

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

This was one of those days that there was so much bird activity I missed a lot of action, including the fly in and landing of a pair of Grebes.

Pied-billed Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
January 5,2020