Wood Ducks, Squirrels and Western Bluebirds

Mother Wood Duck and duckling. Copyright © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.
Mother Wood Duck and duckling. Copyright © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.

After work today,  I stopped at William Land Park since the weather wasn’t too bad, and walked around the big pond there with the dog for about an hour.  There were no spectacular sights today, but we did see a lot of the usual suspects: ducks, geese, squirrels… I also came across a pair of Wood Ducks sleeping on the edge of the pond with two of their babies.  Even though I had the dog with me, they didn’t startle when I stepped up a little closer to snap photos of them.  At one point, papa Wood Duck goosed one of the babies out of his way so he could get closer to the mom, and then he spent several minutes just grooming mama.  This is common behavior between nesting pair, but I’d never actually seen (or videoed) it before, so that was neat.

Here’s the video:  CLICK HERE

As the dog were walking along, I hear a woman from across the lawn call out, “Sergeant Margie – !”  Hah!  My dog is famous.  I’d seen this lady several times before, with her little dog Colby, but hadn’t seen her in quite a while.  She carries her camera with her everywhere she goes just like I do.   We chatted for a bit, and while we were talking I noticed a female Western Bluebird sitting on a nearby bench, so the two of us creeped up slowly on the bench to get some photos of the bird.  Then the male Western Bluebird showed up – and the female flitted away for a while – and sat on the armrest of the bench turning this way and that way.  “Look! He’s posing for you!” the lady said.  Actually, I think he was showing off to the female, making his feathers gleam in the sun, but I still got the benefit of him sitting there so I could take his picture.  The lady said that when she first saw him, she though he was a baby Robin because of the reddish blush on his chest, but once he was in the sun she could see how blue he really was.

She remarked to me, “You know, all of these people around here, they just walk right by and don’t even see what’s here all around them.” I totally agreed with her.  The joggers and bicyclists racing by, people chasing after their kids or snogging or glued to their cellphones… none of them really SAW the bluebirds or the Wood Ducks or the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly flying overhead or  the m’jillion squirrels running around acting goofy… and that’s really kind of sad.  And I guess that’s why people like this lady and I take all the photos we do: to capture for all of the rushed and distracted people the beauty and sweetness that was there on that particular day…

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Anyway, after our walk, the dog and I went back home and crashed for the day.