Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On A Recent Morning

I looked up and just happened to see this female Wood Duck slipping through the spatterdock. I think she may have seen me first. It is so easy for them to slip under the leaves and disappear from sight like ghosts.

Using another animal as a size comparison doesn't always work. Case in point. You might think that is a fairly small Green Heron, but you would be wrong. That is a very large turtle. The turtle is a Red-eared Slider and, surprisingly, it not native to Maryland. They were introduced by mothers releasing their children's turtles into the wild after they have grown tired of them.

Smaller song birds care not a whit whether an Osprey or Eagle is in the middle of a hunt. They just want them out of their territory. So, even though this Osprey had no interest in the King Bird's nest and, in reality, was simply trying to catch breakfast, it was chased mercilessly.

I have read that Mute Swans are very aggressive toward other birds, but I no longer believe it. Yes, I have seen this swan go after Canada Geese a number of times and she absolutely will not tolerate one on 'her' pond, but that is the only species of bird I have seen her act aggressively towards. First, I was very surprised to see her and a Black-crowned Night Heron chatting pleasantly a week earlier in this same spot and then I saw this scene on a recent morning. She was surrounded by three male Mallards (which are not all visible in this picture), dozing and preening while baby Wood Ducks swam past her unconcerned for their safety. She may have been wrongly accused of having a short temper.

I was fishing Little Seneca Creek in Montgomery Co. years ago when I received an astounding lesson about fish. The lateral line is a sense organ found in fish, used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water. I came to a fairly large pool and very stealthily slipped my foot into the water. Despite not making a ripple, I saw fish scatter in every direction. That is how sensitive they are to pressure/sound.

Since I don't move around much when I am photographing birds, I often see fish like this carp. I think it was grazing on the duck weed. Just before this — and this was right at my feet, so it was too close to photograph — a fish pushed itself up out of the water and came to rest with it's chin right at the very edge of the water. I thought it was about five or six inches long and the upper half of it's body was above the water's surface. After a moment, it lunged forward onto the shore using it's tail to go after a fly and I realized it was closer to a foot long. I don't know what species of fish it was, but who would have thought they behave like this? If I had been moving around, I would never have seen it do this.

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