Walking through the Earth Sanctuary today in search for Wood ducks turned out to be a big fat 0! Not a one could be seen by the three of us with our binocular helpers. But, we did see lots of other waterbird activity mostly on the two ponds (Middle and Fin) which are the largest of the three ponds in the E.S.
First, just as I was going to make a turn into the entrance of the E.S, I came upon a Red Tail Hawk devouring a prey on the road. About ten feet in front of me it considered “too close for comfort” so it flew off to a higher elevation for protection still carrying the prey.
Quietly and slowly walking the trail around Fin Pond, I spotted the Gadwall pair sailing so tranquil along the surface of the water heading toward the tall grass in the 15,000 year old bog island.
Then while observing from the same spot along the shoreline and under tall trees, a female hooded Merganser landed with a splash on the surface of the calm water creating a small circle of ripples; it was easy to spot her. She immediately started making short raspy calls that would only be recognizable by a male Merganzer also looking for a mate. Three male Gadwalls then flew off from the pond headed in the opposite direction. She stayed a few minutes more calling for a male Merganzer to be attracted to her call but without any results so after five minutes she took off heading to another area of the large pond.
Then, over on Middle pound, we spotted a female Mallard with her eight baby chicks cruising the surface of the pond staying close to the shoreline where they were somewhat hidden. We decided after two hours with our eyes practically glued to our binoculars, we had had enough for the day. Just as I was making a turn to leave, I spotted an Osprey perched on an old dry log sticking at an angle out of the pond. It had a prey under its long sharp talons while pulling the meat off the prey he had found that day. It was enjoying the first bites of the fresh meat before taking off to bring to its newly hatched chick.
A great day for observing the birds and wildlife for this week at the Earth Sanctuary, a peaceful and tranquil spot for one’s soul.