Thursday, April 14, 2011

Turtle Pond Rocks!

Today was another nice day - one gorgeous day of warm sunny weather in this dreary (so far) spring.  To the park!  I walked up the west side park road and around the upper lobe, where I saw the familiar phoebes and one yellow rumped warbler.  And several northern flickers dashing about, it's really wonderful to see them this year.  I'm amazed that I have been missing so much of their beauty, now the yellow underside etc. is obvious to me.

Heading to turtle pond I went through maintenance meadow, where I saw a few gorgeous palm warblers in the grass, hopping around and chowing down.

Through the castle where I saw a wedding and not much else.  Once I got to turtle pond I went out on the dock, looking for the green heron.  Instead I found these northern flickers having a tussle, apparently over a female that was quite nearby. They flashed their tails and sometimes wings at each other.
They displayed their awesome beak raising abilities, but apparently that was not enough to settle the question.
They flew at each other and had a brief bird brawl!  Then one of them flew off, and the other one went back to eating.  The female I guess was watching, like I was.

Then I turned and the green heron was sitting almost right in front of me!  I love this shot, with the turtles looking up at the rock star green heron in adoration.  The blur at the bottom is from the dock which was acting as a hide.  I think it adds to the whole rock-star vibe of the picture.  :-)
Here he is, today's turtle pond headliner!
After the green heron flew off to the other side, the flickers had another tussle.  This time the female is definitely watching.  The one on the left is flashing his tail, apparently telling the one on the right to buzz off.
Which, eventually, he does!

Mallards are quite a bit bigger than green herons.
Here's a cutie tufted titmouse at the gill.
At the oven, we (a few other birders and a park ranger were there also, so I sort of glommed onto that conversation) saw this large snapping turtle being chased by an exceptionally optimistic little turtle.
The one with the yellow stripes on its head (near the bottom right) is a painted turtle, which is the native one.  Most of the others are red-eared sliders.  Or so I gathered from the park ranger, who I hope to be able to hang out with more, he is extremely knowledgeable!
Then, still at the oven, a birder guy spotted this brown thrasher flying in.  It was the first time he had ever seen a brown thrasher in a tree!
It didn't stay in the tree long, I was happy to have seen it.  :-)
Going over to azalea pond I saw this little house wren being secretive.
Back at the upper lobe, this cormorant got quite a meal!  There were two of them fishing right up by the point.
There were a couple of kinglets there too, and this one was nice enough to let me take a (non-great) picture of his ruby crown.  :-)  What a great day!

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