Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring at Magee Marsh

Rodolfo Palma and I took a drive down to Magee Marsh yesterday morning to take advantage of our sudden burst of spring and to see what might be present on such a fine weekend.

Above and below:  it seemed that the area has bald eagle nests everywhere.  There are two very close to the boardwalk.  The one above it the same that has been present near the boardwalk entrance for the past several years.  A new nest is nearer the other end of the boardwalk. We also drove the Ottawa NWR trail (third weekend of the month) and there were at least three in view along that drive.

Rodolfo posing in front of the newish (present last year as well; but first time Rodolfo had seen) boardwalk sign.  As luck would have it, I wasn't paying attention and cut off the new sign.  At least Rodolfo is showing well.

Above and below:  a very cooperative winter wren.  This is a bird very hard for me to photograph with my camera.  I was pleased with these; my best, so far, of a winter wren.

I was super pleased with this ruby-crowned kinglet photo - another difficult bird for me to photograph but they were dripping off the trees on Sunday, so I had many chances and just got lucky.

I thought this was a unique bee but apparently nothing other than a yellow jacket.  No wait!  Cody's comment below offers this: hoverfly (Order Diptera: Helophilus pendulus), a hymenopteran mimic.  

Above and below:  female Eastern towhee.  We kept hearing that one was around, but did not see until on our way out.  Posed for just a brief time for these photos.

I cannot recall ever having taken a decent photo of a dark-eyed junco. Until Sunday that it.  I was pleased with this.  Plumage is a little dull, but that's okay.

There was a nest cavity here and I believe the black-capped chickadees were feeding nestlings although I couldn't quite see far enough into the cavity.  This bird posed beautifully, something chickadees rarely do, and I flubbed three very close shots.

Above and below:  An injured snake on the Ottawa NWR road. Undoubtedly run over earlier in the day as it sunned itself on the road. It couldn't move off the road of its own will because the injury had spilled some of its guts and the guts got stuck to the rocks.  I lifted it off the road, still alive, and moved it to the grass.  I don't believe this is a garter snake.  Blunt tail and different head pattern.  Previewing a couple of websites - possibly and Eastern ribbon snake vs. Butler's garter snake. Cody - see comment below - does confirm this to be a garter snake and comments on the features of ribbon snake and Butler's garter snake.

Later there was an uninjured garter snake sunning itself that I shooed of the road so it could avoid a similar fate.  It was moving so quickly and giving me attitude as it did that I was unable to get a photo.

Above and below:  We got to hear the trumpeters trumpet.  Many pairs were around.

Northern shoveler and blue-winged teal were the ducks of the day.


Jerry said...

Great pics, Cathy! Did you ever decide on a new camera?

Cody said...

Hi Cathy,

Great post! Makes me miss spring in the east.

The snake in question is an eastern garter. The blunt tail is likely the result of a previous injury. Butler's have a smaller, bullet-shaped head that is more or less flush with the rest of the body. Ribbon snakes are very thin, lack bright yellow coloration, and have a small white spot in front of the eye.

Also, the insect is actually a hoverfly, a hymenopteran mimic!