Ducks in Trees and Other Delights

I slipped quietly onto the boardwalk after watching the sunrise over Lake Erie at Maumee Bay State Park. As they were the day before, the Red-wing Blackbirds were again the most numerous and clamorous of the birds, but suddenly I heard a louder rustling than one of them could have made. I looked up and saw…a pair of Wood Ducks perched in top of a tall tree! The photo on the left shows the tree, a ways away from me and quite tall, with the duck perched near the top. I knew Wood Ducks nested in holes in trees a fair distance from the ground, but I had never seen them perched so high. During this morning walk, I observed many of them flying to and from tree tops. 
Wood Duck perched in center tree
Zooming in on perching Wood Duck
Next I spotted a bright-eyed raccoon watching me through a screen of reeds…

You can’t see me…

A couple of Hermit Thrushes hopped and perched in the underbrush, bobbing their tails as they  watched me passing by.

Hermit Thrush

 After almost three hours rambling along the boardwalk, I headed back to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. When there, I found only five Trumpeter Swans where there had been thirty-four the evening before. Were they on their way farther north?

Several Blue-winged Teals were feeding– the first I’d seen in many years. The blue on their wings was beautiful when they flew.

Blue-winged Teal (male)

There were two families of Canada Geese on one pond; one pair both had bright white chin straps…

whereas the other pair both had chin straps that were more of a tan color. I am trying to determine if they are a different subspecies. Does anyone reading this know? I know there are seven subspecies of Canada Goose (and four of the related Cackling Goose), but I can’t find descriptions with photos.

Everywhere I went I heard the Red-winged Blackbirds proclaiming their ownership of reeds, trees, and shrubs. It was a privilege to visit this land that belongs to them and all these other denizens of the wild, and I look forward to visiting again someday. In the meantime, may they be fruitful and multiply and live in safety in their beautiful world.

Red-winged Blackbird

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