Jack’s Walk

It’s a hot day here so Jack and I went for a slow walk around the shaded pond at the park. We haven’t been here for a while because I’ve been avoiding the swans. They were incubating 3 eggs on the pond’s little island, but the last few times I was here both adults were off the nest and swimming together with no babies in sight. I was feeling sad that none of the babies made it, but I was wrong! There is one cygnet and I found him today with his proud and protective mama.

Proud mama and her cygnet

Feeding together

We also checked on the goslings who are now big, goofy teenagers. The area where they nest also has some younger babies, including one who looked freshly hatched.

Babies of all ages, even a newborn (bottom right)

The goslings are teenagers

Teenagers getting ready to shed their fluff
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Camouflage

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I’m so excited. This morning there was a tiny mourning dove in my yard. At first I thought he had fallen in and couldn’t fly because he’s really small, but when I approached him those tiny little wings flapped as fast as they could and up he flew to the top of the fence. Once I was back in the house down he came again to feast on all the seed that the grackles spill. He’s adorable and has perfect camouflage for a ground feeder…he’s the colour of dirt.

Jack’s Walk

It’s been 10 days since I checked in on the goslings and they’ve gotten so big. Their beaks have developed into the adult shape, their necks are much longer and their colour has turned from yellow to light brown. You can also see the beginnings of adult feathers and the development of real wings. I wonder at what age they will take to the air?

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On the other side of the park, though, one poor mama is still incubating her eggs and she has nested right against the concrete barrier to the pond. It’s a busy spot near a parking lot with lots of people coming and going. I’ve been pondering this choice and have concluded that the concrete barrier protects her on one side so no one can sneak up on her and that the parade of people probably keep other geese from bothering her. Even so, she is wary and was giving Jack the evil eye. I have no doubt that she would have launched an attack had I let Jack any closer. Not a silly goose after all.

Jack’s Walk

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We went to the park again today and I can’t get over how much the goslings have grown in just a few days. They’re at a sort of “homely cute” stage with beaks that look too big for their heads, fuzzy hairdo’s that stick out in all directions and the beginnings of eye marks that make them look sleepy. I think they’re adorable. The parents keep a careful watch, but don’t seem to mind us being around. These are park geese who live here all year and are very used to people and dogs. Of course, Jack is also pretty laid back and usually lays quietly on the grass while I take  photos.

The grackles are courting

 

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She lands first. Then he, about a foot away.

He looks at her sideways and puffs himself up. She looks at him sideways and hops away.

He hops to her again and raises his beak to the sky while glancing at her sideways. She raises her beak too and also glances at him sideways.

They repeat the throat display with lots of sideways glances. Once. Twice. Then she hops away again.

He hop follows her and puffs himself up again. One more throat display and then suddenly they fly away, she first and he hot on her tail.

Enter the next pair (or the same pair…it’s hard to tell) and repeat.

This has been going on all day and I can hardly tear myself away from the window. My back fence is definitely a hot pick-up place for grackles this year. I can hardly wait to see all the babies. (photos taken by spy cam through the bedroom window)

Feathering Nests

The blue tits seem not to mind that I fell the cherry tree and hung the nesting box on the plum. I see them daily there and they sing in the tree, so I think they are nesting there even though I have not seen them entering the box. What was my surprise then when I looked at this picture and I saw one blue tit and one field sparrow with a bunch of feathers in his beak. A few moments later I heard some squabbling and the fluff floated down from the tree. Maybe the sparrow was stealing bedding from the tits?  These tiny birds are pretty mean to each other so that would not be surprising.

Birds on a tree

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And a first daisies came out.

Daisy

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