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.