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Posts tagged ‘Waterbirds’

Canada Geese Take Wing on the Lake

I live just up a small hill from a little private community lake.  The small flock of Canada Geese that lives in the neighborhood often goes back and forth from the pond here to the lake.  The geese also fly around that little lake at various times of the day.  Yesterday and on Sunday, I was out on my driveway taking pictures of the geese flying on the lake down the hill.  I am also including a shot of the lake as viewed from my driveway.  I likely only will have a Winter view of the lake from my house due to the many trees.  The view is quite pretty in all types of weather.  One of the neat things about this little lake is that there is a tiny, well-treed island that is visible from my driveway.   The geese and I both like the lake a lot!  I don’t have access to use the lake but do enjoy the nice view.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

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Everything’s Just Ducky Here at Home on the Lake

Mallard Ducks have been about the only waterfowl I have seen on the lake here in the three days I have been back at home after my recent trip.  The Mallard flock seems to be right at about twenty but the birds are spread out along the lake in smaller groupings.  This bunch of ducks is much more chatty and seem to quack a lot more than other flocks of ducks I have seen here.  The groups I have photographed seem to cruise by my yard at about 5:00 PM with regularity.  The one group was paddling slowly and circled around as they preened and bathed and drank.  It was great to see and hear the gregarious ducks!  I took these pictures from my deck but did not use my long lens.  Soon I will be getting my bird feeders back up and will be seeing more birds and other wildlife.  We have been having dock work so the animals are not around as much as in previous times.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

A Western Grebe Sitting on the Dock

I took these pictures of the Western Grebes a few weeks ago before the lake froze over.  I have not seen them  in the last week.   These larger water birds are migrant visitors.  The Western Grebe, like the much smaller Pied-Billed Grebe, eat small aquatic animals and fish.  They dive for their meals.  The Grebes tend to paddle in pairs but sometimes will join with the Ducks and Coots.  Since the American Coots already were up  on my dock and in my yard, the Grebe just decided to hop up onto the dock and sit with the Coots.  Boy was I ever surprised to see the Grebe out of the water and on the wooden dock!  I have not seen this happen before or since.  The Grebe was on the dock on 1/2/11.  The smaller black-colored bird sitting next to the Grebe is an American Coot.  I took the pictures from my basement window.  I have also included a photo of the Western Grebe paddling in the water that I took on 1/3/11.  I was quite pleased to be able to see the Western Grebe up close on that cold winter day.  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger photo.  Enjoy!

Coots Grazing, Taking Wing to the Water and Paddling in a Flock

The American Coots have been here on the lake now for several weeks.  They are visiting our lake as the seemingly do on an annual basis in Fall.  Here on this blog I have already shown photographs of the Coots paddling on the lake, and even flying across the surface of the lake.  Yesterday I noticed that a small division of the big flock of Coots was grazing on a neighbor’s backyard lawn!  I did not know that Coots would graze.  I don’t know if the Coots were trying to catch earthworms or if they were eating grass.  I caught pictures of the Coots taking a short flight into the lake and then the division of Coots joining the larger flock on the water.  Notice the huge clawed toed feet that these waterbirds have.  The Coot is not a duck but is a bird in the Rail family.  It has a beak instead of a duck bill.  The Coots are good divers and often cruise the shallows of the lake looking for food.  They seem to eat water plants and small aquatic animals and insects.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

Coots on the Fly

A Small Part of the Flock

The American Coots have been visiting here on our 101 acre community lake for about a month or so now.  I just recently saw them flying and caught the action with my trusty camera.  The American Coot, though looking a lot like a duck, is a member of the Rail bird family.   Coots have huge webbed feet but also have claws.  Coots also have a beak rather than a duck-like bill.  The Coots are black with a white beak.  The Coots also do not quack but rather whistle a thin reedy bird-like softer whistle.  The Coots are great divers.  They primarily eat lake, pond, or river water plants.  This particular group of Coots flew up a ways to avoid an on-coming pontoon boat.  I have enjoyed seeing the Coots here and believe that they will be around a few more weeks before migrating to sunnier and warmer places.  I took these pictures just a few days ago.  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

Cruisin’ Coot and Grebe

American Coots are not ducks but are water birds that are members of the Rail family of birds.  They do closely resemble diving ducks.  They have dark grey to light black bodies with the same shade of black heads and a white chicken-like beak or bill.  They also have really enormous feet that are somewhere between a chicken’s and a duck’s in look.  Coots have a slightly white slender tip of the tail feathers.   This white coloring is really quite slight.  The American Coots are Fall and Winter visitors here on the lake.  I have been eagerly awaiting their arrival for several weeks now.   So far as of yesterday (10-15-10 when I took the pictures),  I have just seen the one Coot, who may be a scout bird.  If this one Coot is not a scout, it means that the main flock is indeed here but I just  have not seen it because it is on the other arm of our lake.  The Coots have a slight whistling call and don’t quack.  They are pretty shy.  They eat lake weeds primarily.  They do not come up on the shore very much but prefer to paddle around in shallow areas.  I  saw a huge number of the Coots out on the partially frozen lake last January.  The Coots usually stay around until mid to late March and then are on the way elsewhere, usually up North.  I was slightly amused to see that paddling right around the Coot was a single Pied-Billed Grebe (part of that big flock visiting here in recent days).  In fact, that Grebe seemed to be fairly aggressive toward the Coot!  Please click on the thumbnail version to see the larger picture.

On a very personal and one time only note, today’s post is in memory of my friend and professional mentor from the City of Sacramento, CA, Madeline Craveiro, who passed away on Aug. 29, 2010 at age 87.  She was my boss, friend,  and inspired my own interest in birds. (I just learned of her passing yesterday).  R.I.P. Maddie.

 

Grebe (left) Coot (right)

 

 

Pied-Billed Grebe

 

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