Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tis the season...

...for mating displays among ducks. Ducks are always so interesting at this time of year-- in their gorgeous nuptial plumage, in their behavior, even in their apparent inflation in body size. Yesterday when we were out doing the rounds of the Union Bay Fill, the Southwest Pond offered us the most interesting scene, where turtles were basking in the sun, some of them piled atop one another, two great blue herons were perching on different dead tree limbs positioned on the diagonal, one of them staring intently down into the water below, the other preening itself, and most ostentatiously, several male mallards continually reared up out of the water flapping their wings (sometimes it seemed more at one another than for the delectation of the females), occasionally taking flight in order to make showy landings in the water a few yards away. Meanwhile, the blue herons ignored them totally, and the lone pied-billed grebe quietly swam into a far corner of the pond where it spent more time under water than on the surface.

The mallards' performances was the most striking thing we saw. (No, the ducks at the right aren't mallards. I think they're probably American Wigeons.) But probably the most peculiar was seeing two crows fishing on the lake. They fished the way eagles and osprey do--flying over, then circling and swooping in and ascending with fish in their bills. After they'd caught some prey, the crows flew up to the upper branches of a tree on the bank, presumably to dine in style.

In my backyard, in the meantime, the robins have been singing their heads off and the northern flicker and stellar's jay have been making a racket. I feel quite sure they all think winter's a thing of the past.

In short, it feels as though spring is almost here in Seattle, even if my hellebore plants are at their peak. Daffodils and crocus are in evidence, & going onto Daylight Savings Time, while difficult for those routinely short of sleep, confirms that sense.

1 comment:

Tara Tyler said...

Cool ! I like it.