From "A Sand County Almanac"


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wilson Snipe

This Wilson Snipe was napping near a small pool of water left after several days of heavy rain...

Upon awaking it began to preen...


After preening it began to think about breakfast...

Snipe hunt by probing the ground with their long flexible bills, searching for earth worms and other small insects.

Even when a Rusty Blackbird intruded the snipe was unperturbed and continued to hunt...

Thanks for visiting, be well, and come back soon.


Red-Bellied Woodpecker

I came upon a Pileated Woodpecker busily hammering on a tree trunk where it had already created a large cavity.  As soon as it became aware of my presence it flew away and, almost immediately, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker took its' place.
I was happy that the red-bellied woodpecker was not as camera shy as its' larger cousin...

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology some information about woodpecker holes:
"When foraging for insects, woodpeckers tend to excavate diseased, dying, or rotting trees. Woodpeckers are quite capable of drilling anything from tiny rows of holes to huge yawning craters into the wood of trees, utility poles, and even houses as they search for their meal."

Thanks for visiting, come back soon.

Northern Mockingbird

We have Northern Mockingbirds year round.  They are the only mockingbird native to North America and their ability to make different calls is legendary.  These photos are of a pair creating a nest in a dense shrub...

When nesting they are very territorial.  I observed this pair driving many birds from the vicinity of their nest site.  Videos of them attacking cats, dogs and humans can easily be found on You Tube.

The Great Egret

The following photographs are of one of at least five great egrets recently seen at Lilypons...

Here are a few facts about these beautiful birds taken from the online source Wikipedia:

"The Great Egret also known as Common Egret, Large Egret or Great White Heron, is a large, widely distributed egret. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, in southern Europe it is rather localized."

Muskrat In A Small Pond

Last year I observed a pond for several months, and saw numerous muskrats building their "lodges" and eating the aquatic grass that grows in the pond. 
The following photos are of the first one that I have seen so far this year.  It is harvesting dried cattail stalks and taking them to its' lodge, perhaps to create a dry sleeping and birthing chamber for the soon to be born young...

Muskrats have been, and still are, hunted and trapped since colonial times for their fur and meat.  These small, brown aquatic rodents can create problems for landowners when they take up residence in ponds.  Their bank lodges often undermine the land and cause erosion and other problems.  Like most wildlife, they are interesting and entertaining to watch.

Killdeer Feeling Frisky

Killdeer, members of the Plover family, are commonly seen in our area at this time of year.  Over the past several days I observed several in the gravel parking lot of the Lilypons Water Gardens, chasing each other around and putting on displays that I can only assume were mating behavior...

If you live somewhere that has these interesting birds it would be well worth your time to watch their antics and enjoy their "kill-deer" calls.