It had been pretty quiet on the marsh ponds: we arrived just before sunrise and hadn’t seen much activity even an hour later. The Swallows started to come in small groups, flying over our heads from the tidal side of the trail into the grass on the far side of this pond.
As if on a signal they started stirring up the water, flapping and swooping. It was too far to tell if they were bathing or trying to catch insects, or maybe both.
This went on for at least a half hour with more birds joining in and others leaving.
I didn’t see where they went, but when it was over the pond became still again, with a couple of Great Egrets dropping in to check the far shore.
There we were enjoying the view of Spoonbills, Egrets and Herons and then the sky exploded with a flock of Blue-winged Teals. I didn’t even know what they were at first and was surprised to see the flock move like a unit once they got above the tree line.
Some of the wading birds joined in – click photos for larger view. Regrettably, we couldn’t get closer to where they landed for a view of them in the water.
It was a glorious morning. A flock of Spoonbills was feeding in one of the wildlife management area ponds led by one bird along the edge of a sandbar. A gathering of Ibis, Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets were partially hidden in the grass behind them.
All of the birds worked their way towards the other side of the pond, some a few at a time, others in groups. Below, Spoonbills and Ibis lifted off together.
This was one of the first cool (60 degrees F) mornings we’ve had this fall. That along with a stiff breeze kept the mosquitoes away adding to the morning’s pleasure.