Bugs, Flowers and Ducks on Saturday, 07-30-16

Even though it’s the weekend, I got up around 5:00 am so I could get out for a walk before it got too hot.

I went over to the WPA Rock Garden in the hopes of finding some summer caterpillars and praying mantises.  I didn’t see either of those but I did see a young Great Blue Heron and an adult female Belted Kingfisher fishing in one of the ponds.  I watched the heron grab at fish four times, and he never caught anything. The Kingfisher was more successful.  On the two face-first dives I saw her do, she caught fish on both attempts.

The regular crew of geese and ducks were also around the pond: Canada geese, Grayleg geese, Chinese geese, Muscovy ducks, Mallards, Swedish Blues, a Peking duck, and some Wood Ducks… And a sad thing.  When a flock of Canada geese came swooping in to land on the water and along the bank of the pond, one of them collided with a small Mallard duckling… and hit it with enough force to break its neck.  I felt so bad for the little thing.  I scooped it up and put it in the grass under a tree so it could die in some comfort and peace.

As a sort of counter-balance for that, I also came across a mama Mallard with two fuzzy hatchlings.  One was the normal brown and yellow color; the other one was all black with a yellow chin and bib.  So cute!

On other parts of my walk, I found a couple of Cicada exoskeletons – including one in which the Cicada died before it could make it all the way out – and I also found raccoon tracks on the dirt paths throughout the garden.  There was one big oak tree that had all sorts of different wasp galls on it: White and Red Cone galls, a fuzzy Club gall, Spiny Turban galls, Yellow Wig galls, and a gall of the Round Gall wasp (Besbicus conspicuous) – a species I hadn’t found before, so it was my “first” of the day..

I walked around for about 3 ½  hours and headed back home.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.