Kip’s Comments 5-8-17

Injured Cooper's Hawk - Image 438965 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Almost Like My Belly Button!

Kristy and I had a most interesting day today… a day filled with interesting activities from sunrise to the end of the day. Allow me to explain.  

I woke early this morning and was paddling by 6:30 or so. I am still hoping to see and photograph an American bittern, but once again struck out. However, I was able to quietly paddle near 150 or more American white pelicans that appeared to have been sleeping. We sort of startled each other as I round a corner with my camo-covered kayak and there they were. Needless to say, I was very close to the birds as they suddenly woke and moved away to safer areas. Some even appeared to have sprung leaks when they left so fast!  (Notice how one of the pelicans is wearing jewelry!) 

American White Pelicans:

American White Pelicans at Sweet Marsh - Image 438717 (© Kip Ladage)

American White Pelicans at Sweet Marsh – Image 438717 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American White Pelicans at Sweet Marsh - Image 438740 (© Kip Ladage)

American White Pelicans at Sweet Marsh – Image 438740 (© Kip Ladage)

 

American White Pelican at Sweet Marsh - Image 438763 (© Kip Ladage)

American White Pelican at Sweet Marsh – Image 438763 (© Kip Ladage)

         

In the same general area I noticed a Forster’s tern on the exposed portion of a log. This bird posed nicely for several Forster’s tern portraits.    

Forster’s Tern on Log:        

Forster's Tern on Log at Sweet Marsh - Image 438938 (© Kip Ladage)

Forster’s Tern on Log at Sweet Marsh – Image 438938 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Flying overhead was a Black tern. I don’t see many Black terns, but do see a few of them almost yearly.  

Black Tern:                  

Black Tern at Sweet Marsh - Image 438798 (© Kip Ladage)

Black Tern at Sweet Marsh – Image 438798 (© Kip Ladage)

 

As I moved slowly along the cattails I came across this plump muskrat feeding on fresh cattail shoots.  

Muskrat on Cattails Feeding on Cattails:            

Muskrat on Cattails - Image 438942 (© Kip Ladage)

Muskrat on Cattails – Image 438942 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Since we are in the early spring season, I was able to watch female and male red-winged blackbirds just about everywhere on the marsh.  

Female Red-winged Blackbird:                

Female Red-winged Blackbrid on Cattail at Sweet Marsh - Image 438828 (© Kip Ladage)

Female Red-winged Blackbrid on Cattail at Sweet Marsh – Image 438828 (© Kip Ladage)

 

After paddling I went home, showered, and Kristy and I attended the funeral of her uncle Eldean. Eldean was an interesting character, “if you know what I am getting at…”  Eldean touched many lives and it was apparent by the number of people at his visitation and service.       

Before the end of the funeral service my phone went off several times. Finally I received a text message asking if I was available and interested in picking up an injured hawk. Of course I was, along with Kristy, after the funeral. She and I then went to Waverly where we rescued an injured Cooper’s hawk that appeared to have hit a sign or a window. The future does not look good for this impressive bird since its legs will not move. The hawk is very capable of moving its wings.

Injured Cooper’s Hawk:                  

Injured Cooper's Hawk - Image 438965 (© Kip Ladage)

Injured Cooper’s Hawk – Image 438965 (© Kip Ladage)

 

During our drive to Terese and Jim’s, the wildlife rehabbers extraordinaire, I shot some photos of spring wildflowers that I don’t see often.    

Spring Cress:                    

Spring Cress - Image 439081 (© Kip Ladage)

Spring Cress – Image 439081 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Skunk Cabbage:          

Skunk Cabbage - Image 439048 (© Kip Ladage)

Skunk Cabbage – Image 439048 (© Kip Ladage)

 

After transferring the injured Cooper’s hawk to Terese, we looked briefly for a wayward tortoise that seemed to have moved quite a distance in a short amount of time. I have searched for missing pets, missing wildlife, missing birds, and even missing persons, but this was the first time I searched for a missing tortoise.  After finding the pet tortoise and as we were talking to Terese and Jim, a fellow drove up with an opossum in a live trap. This was not an ordinary ‘possum in need of relocating. No, this ‘possum had a pouch full of little ‘possums with parts protruding.      

It is one thing to read about and hear about ‘possums and pouches, but it is quite different to explore the “private” area firsthand during the animal’s initial health check. I’ll be honest, I was amazed by what I saw. As we looked it over, I wondered how the tiny little babies without vision can find a path into the pouch quite a distance away. Then I wondered about the time the mother ‘possum carried and fed them. How easy is that, especially when the little ones become big little ones. One other detail that amazed me was how similar the Momma ‘possum’s fuzzy pouch with stuff coming out it reminded me of my own belly button after a long day of crawling around on the ground. Hopefully I never have baby ‘possum parts popping out of my abdominal opening, but you never know! Come on… who hasn’t had something in their belly button, even if it is just fuzz!  

Opossum with Babies:

Opossum with Babies - Image 439034 (© Kip Ladage)

Opossum with Babies – Image 439034 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Opossum with Babies - Image 438974 (© Kip Ladage)

Opossum with Babies – Image 438974 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Opossum with Babies - Image 438973 (© Kip Ladage)

Opossum with Babies – Image 438973 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Opossum with Babies - Image 438980 (© Kip Ladage)

Opossum with Babies – Image 438980 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Opossum with Babies - Image 439008 (© Kip Ladage)

Opossum with Babies – Image 439008 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Opossum with Babies - Image 439040 (© Kip Ladage)

Opossum with Babies – Image 439040 (© Kip Ladage)

 

Opossum with Babies - Image 439039 (© Kip Ladage)

Opossum with Babies – Image 439039 (© Kip Ladage)

 

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