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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.