One thing about living along a river—no two days are ever alike; every day you see something new, often unexpected. The past seven days has been no exception. This is just a small segment—waterfowl—of what the passing parade served up.
If there's ever a contest for America's prettiest waterfowl, the smart money might be on the wood duck. Just look at this pair I photographed a few days ago on the Cottage Pool. Especially the spectacularly handsome male—with his red eyes, green head, orange bill, turquoise wingbar, white chin and face pattern, and that ruddy-plum lower neck and chest. Talk about a feathered dandy! And those are just the highlights you can more-or-less see in this admittedly mediocre image. The female looks almost dowdy by comparison.
Although…the trio of blue-wing teal that stopped by briefly last week were also extremely attractive. And a few days before they dropped in, I looked out and saw two pairs of common mergansers feeding and diving about the pool. Maybe not pretty on the order of teal and woodies, but still nicely marked and quite attractive.
Of course there's always a mallard or two hanging about the pool and the stretches of slower water above and below the Big Riffle, which feeds the Cottage Pool and is almost high and steep enough to be called a falls—though I can never bring myself to tout it so pompously. Mallards are the common duck here along the river, as they are in most areas—wild or suburban.
The final member of this waterfowl report of the recently spotted is another common resident, the Canada goose. The river is home to countless geese. Honking all the way, they sail up and downstream all day—sometimes above the treetops, often barely a flapping wingtip from water's surface. A couple of months back the geese began pairing up, or at least loudly reaffirming their mate choices to all the interlopers who tried to offer themselves as preferable alternatives. The discussion were loud, angry, and not lack in regular goose-style fisticuffs.
Such procreative shenanigans have their eventual consequences in the form of eggs which, duly and faithfully sat and incubated, hatch into fuzzy goslings. The same morning the teal stopped to visit, the pair of Canadas who've been nesting on the upstream tip of the island, paddled down to proudly show off their quartet of wide-eyed youngsters.
I made a family portrait.
And that's the week in waterfowl.