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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

May 16, 2013

Hawks, ducks and shorebirds

Swainson's Hawk
This past week I visited my favorite ponds on the south side. I chose to visit them for several reasons, one of which was that I was hoping to catch sight of some White pelicans I saw there last year.

The Female Swainson's
Right above me

Instead I captured some gorgeous images of a pair of Swainson's Hawks. They have returned for the fifth or sixth year running.  It was fascinating to watch them interact, and at one point even chase off another of their kind, that was intruding on their territory. 

After spending some time listening for songbirds and wandering around the forested edge of the first pond, I meandered over to the larger and second pond.

Killdeer posing
Doing the head-bob
 Here I discovered, that the high pippin sounds I had been hearing, that were driving me wild with curiosity, had been made by this very cooperative Killdeer. The fact that it didn't immediately fly off really made me happy. As you can see I even managed to get several decent images of it.

Pair of Gadwall ducks
Handsome male Gadwall
 But that was not all, there was a pair of Gadwall ducks resting on the edge of the pond not too far from where the Killdeer had been strutting and posing. I was startled by their presence because they did not quack or hiss in alarm like Mallard ducks are wont to do. In fact, if they hadn't moved, I likly wouldn't have seen them. I haven't seen any Gadwall ducks for many years now, so  naturally I was absolutely delighted.

There were some Canada Geese with a spotted sandpiper among them, a common Grackle and Yellow rumped warblers, as well as several Northern Flickers. However, the Hawks, Gadwall Ducks and Killdeer were definitely the highlight of this bird watch trip.



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