So, given the weather outside trying to be frightful, I thought I would throw a few photos from yesterday's gorgeous afternoon at Juanita Bay park on the barbie...
For the most part, it was a very quiet afternoon. The swans were not in sight, with numerous people asking where they had disappeared to; perhaps to the same place as the wood ducks, the coots, and the mallards, none of which were seen. How unusual is it to not see or hear a single mallard?
Given this, the photo deities provided me with two unusual opportunities in three hours: a common merganser male, in close to the middle boardwalk dock (highly unusual), and my first photo capture of a ruby-crown kinglet male with his red crest on fire.
First, the RCKI: he (and two or three compatriots) were embedded in a flock of bushtits, doing their avian best to leave the trees with no edible parasites. At first, I thought I was watching small warblers, but then I spotted a crest I hadn't seen in years, managed to catch it twice. Ahh, patience and luck :)
The merganser was unusual in several ways: firstly, he was in close, and it's very rare to get the male to come within twenty metres of land. Secondly, while actively fishing the cove, he went crazy, swimming on the surface full-tilt with head below the surface for about 10 seconds, most all other body parts out of the water. I've occasionally seen something similar with other birds that are either courting or attempting to steal food, but there was nothing else in sight.
If you should have any theories why, please let me know. It was quite entertaining...
Other sightings: a hooded merganser pair swimming from the cove toward the osprey pole; two or three pied-billed grebes, first of year for me on the bay's waters; and a fair number of bufflehead (mostly female).