Kip’s Comments 4-11-15

Skink in Forest Litter - Image 310816

 
From One Extreme To Another

As I type my thoughts on another day, I can’t help but be surprised by the amount of variety in a single day. On this day I enjoyed many activities from one end of the chart to another. I have no favorite experience, but one situation today hasn’t happened for many years. I won’t spoil the message. Instead, I will provide a review and tell you about the unusual and unexpected excitement when I get to it.

The morning began with vehicle extrication training with Tripoli Fire Department. Even though I have been involved in responding to many vehicle crashes over the years, practice never hurts and sometimes we learn new techniques. I am pleased to report that nobody was hurt in the making of these photographs.

Vehicle Extrication Training:

Vehicle Extrication Training - Image 310251

Vehicle Extrication Training – Image 310251

 

Vehicle Extrication Training - Image 310257

Vehicle Extrication Training – Image 310257

 

Following the training I paddled a while at Sweet Marsh. I may have stayed on the water longer if the wind hadn’t come up. Even though I was out only a short time, I did manage to see some interesting birds or different views of common birds.

The red-breasted mergansers were a pleasant surprise. There are quite a number of them at Sweet Marsh right now. Seeing them is much easier than getting close to them. If you look for them, be sure to scan all of the white birds. You will see many other ducks, but you might also see the red-breasted mergansers.

Red-breasted Mergansers:

Red-breasted Mergansers at Sweet Marsh - Image 310217

Red-breasted Mergansers at Sweet Marsh – Image 310217

 

Red-breasted Merganser - Image 310179

Red-breasted Merganser – Image 310179

 

Red-breasted Merganser Taking Flight - Image 310186

Red-breasted Merganser Taking Flight – Image 310186

 

Red-breasted Merganser Taking Flight - Image 310189

Red-breasted Merganser Taking Flight – Image 310189

 

Red-breasted Merganser Taking Flight - Image 310190

Red-breasted Merganser Taking Flight – Image 310190

 

A nice number of American white pelicans are staging at the marsh right now. I thought I would have to paddle to see them. Instead, the pelicans flew almost directly overhead. The easy access resulted in many images being recorded.

American White Pelican:

American White Pelicans in Flight - Image 310106

American White Pelicans in Flight – Image 310106

 

American White Pelican at Close Range - Image 310126

American White Pelican at Close Range – Image 310126

 

American White Pelican Up Close - Image 310128

American White Pelican Up Close – Image 310128

 

Amerian coots offer plenty of shooting practice. Even though they don’t appear to be real pretty, shooting pictures of them is good practice for other species.

American Coot:

American Coot at Sweet Marsh - Image 310094

American Coot at Sweet Marsh – Image 310094

 

Canada geese are common at Sweet Marsh, but it is still interesting to see them as they go through the nesting process. Many try to hide, thinking I don’t see them. But, I do and sometimes I shoot pictures of them. The last Canada goose picture was of the goose that swims near me when I am paddling.

Canada Goose:

Canada Goose on Nest - Image 310160

Canada Goose on Nest – Image 310160

 

Canada Goose on Nest - Image 310167

Canada Goose on Nest – Image 310167

 

Canada Goose Swimming Toward Me - Image 310146

Canada Goose Swimming Toward Me – Image 310146

 

I did see a few painted turtles basking in the sun. As I am paddling I watch for Blanding’s turtles, but I haven’t seen any yet this year.

Painted Turtle:

Painted Turtle on Cattails - Image 310222

Painted Turtle on Cattails – Image 310222

 

This afternoon Kristy and I went for a walk in the woods in search of a great horned owl nest. It took us a little time to find it, but eventually we did. There were two nestlings enjoying the sun. In fact, as time went on, one of the young owls began panting from being warm.

Great Horned Owl Nestlings in Nest:

Great Horned Owl Nestlings in Nest - Image 310276

Great Horned Owl Nestlings in Nest – Image 310276

 

Great Horned Owl Nestling in Nest - Image 310362

Great Horned Owl Nestling in Nest – Image 310362

 

Great Horned Owl Nestling in Nest - Image 310462

Great Horned Owl Nestling in Nest – Image 310462

 

Great Horned Owl Nestling in Nest - Image 310560

Great Horned Owl Nestling in Nest – Image 310560

 

Great Horned Owl Nestling Panting in Nest - Image 310716

Great Horned Owl Nestling Panting in Nest – Image 310716

 

Great Horned Owl Nestling Panting in Nest - Image 310763

Great Horned Owl Nestling Panting in Nest – Image 310763

 

Great Horned Owl Nestling Panting in Nest - Image 310770

Great Horned Owl Nestling Panting in Nest – Image 310770

 

As we were walking back to the truck Kristy let out a yell when she saw her first snake of the year. I cannot explain her fear of snakes, but will tell you it is real.

Eastern Garter Snake:

Eastern Garter Snake in Dry Grass - Image 310806

Eastern Garter Snake in Dry Grass – Image 310806

 

While I was messing around in the forest litter looking for snakes, I spooked a skink! I haven’t seen a skink in years, so just seeing this one was special. My photos of the skink are disappointing, but this was all I could see of the reptile after looking away to change lenses.

Skink:

Skink in Forest Litter - Image 310816

Skink in Forest Litter – Image 310816

 

Finally, as we walked the edge of a pond we noticed countless tadpoles gathered in the shallow water near shore. My best guess is the water was warmest where it was shallow and that was where the tadpoles congregated.

Tadpoles:

Tadpoles in Shallow Water - Image 310826

Tadpoles in Shallow Water – Image 310826

 

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