hooded merganser

Male Hooded Merganser at Quarry Lake, Pikesville, MD © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Male Hooded Merganser at Quarry Lake, Pikesville, MD © 2016 S. D. Stewart

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks!

I received an early phone call this morning alerting me to the presence of rare ducks at a local city park. I hopped on the bike not long after and pedaled on down there to get my lifer Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, not just one but five! I even heard them whistle, which was pretty damn cool. Crappy documentation photos digiscoped with the point-and-shoot through my bins can be found here. I ended up hanging around there for a few hours due to the rolling roster of birders that came through, some of whom I knew and others whom I was putting faces to names for the first time. Unfortunately I also ended up with the worst sunburn I’ve had in a while. But it was worth it!

corroded contact points

Sometimes we disappoint ourselves, in either the short or the long term. Sometimes both. Not much has left my head lately and traveled to the page. Other life things have taken precedence. Which is fine, but I’m getting anxious for them to be resolved. As refuge, I’ve taken to the woods when spare time presents itself. Many of the birds have finished breeding already, and fledglings are out and about: rambunctious teenage woodpeckers, even tinier than usual chickadees, not-as-wary young catbirds. A couple of weeks ago I saw a female Wood Duck with 12 fuzzy little ducklings following her en masse. At the same time and place, I saw two adult Bald Eagles. These birds are truly majestic, so much so that perhaps our country doesn’t always live up to the pure ideals that they have come to represent.

Meanwhile, change looms ahead and I suppose when the transition completes, I will remain the same. But perhaps not. Certainly the opportunity to learn new things will follow. Certainly the chance to reorder and rearrange my life will dangle in front of me once again. And armed with a little steel wool, I can clean the corrosion off of these contact points in my head. Perhaps then the clarity I seek will reach its target.

reward for a cold trek

Yesterday morning I took a walk with ML up to the park. It was cold and blustery. I had my binocs with me to monitor any bird activity. The birds were quiet as we walked along the road into the park. As we approached the lake, though, I spotted a pair of ducks in the water, right above the dam. We got up closer and ID’d them as a male and female Hooded Merganser. Such striking birds! They swam steadily against the current, away from the dam, and then suddenly the female took wing, the male immediately following. Later as we walked back along the road, we looked down into the river and saw a solitary male merganser. Bonus duck! Below is a shot of a male Hooded Merganser from the Flickr page of TT_MAC, a Canadian couple who also have some other cool nature photos on their page.

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