Friday, April 27, 2007

My lucky day

I realized that I haven't done a "Word of the Day" for a while, so this one is for The Swami:

Word of the Day
quagmire \KWAG-myr; KWOG-\, noun:
1. Soft, wet, miry land that shakes or yields under the feet.
2. A difficult or precarious position or situation; a predicament.
(It's also the name of Swami and Swamette's cat)

Today was a good day. Isn't it nice when you can say that?
Aside from some patchy rain showers, I managed to get out and see a few birds.

Downy on Pop Out
At home, our female downy had discovered the "Pop-Out", a plastic thingy that can hold sunflower seeds, peanuts, or suet nuggets. It's easy to clean, and it's cheap. That's my kind of feeder.
Feeding the wrenlets
I refilled the meal worm feeder three times today. The wrens have been sallying back and forth all day. Yes, the feeder looks messy...but I didn't have any fresh fruit to feed the meal worms, so I used mango applesauce. It's not like they were there long enough to eat, anyway.
On to Armleder Park with the girls and Nellie:
Four leaf clover
Isabelle found two four-leaf clovers within 30 seconds of entering the dog park!
And that seemed to help out the birding quite a bit. It was pretty quiet there, with a mix of tree swallows, martins and red-winged blackbirds.
We left the dog park and stopped over at the retention pond, and I saw some swallows hawking over the water.
Swallows are some of the more friendly, brazen birds, and these four swallows were swooping right over my head.
Martins? Tree swallows? Nope, they were brown.
I got rather excited...rough-winged swallows?
That would be a life bird.
Bank swallow
Nope...they were too dark, and when I looked closer, I saw a dark breast band.
Bank swallows! Whoot!
Swallows are notorious for eluding a camera while in flight, but I caught a few...
(Kathi, I wanted to call you and tell you about it, but I thought that since your life list is so much longer than mine, you may not think it was a big deal. Was I wrong?)
Bank swallow 2
See it? Above the soccer goal?
While I was watching the swallows and trying desperately to get a good picture, I noticed something swimming just under the surface of the water. It was HUGE.
A beaver? Nope.
I got out the binoculars...a snake? Nope. Thank goodness.
An alligator? Seriously, I thought about the people who get gators when they are small and manageable and then dump them in a river or pond when they get too big to handle.
Nope. Not a gator.
A fish.
Floating fish
A fish that looked like it was in a pond that was too shallow for it to be there. It meandered from the middle of the pond over to where I was standing and looked at me for a full minute, and then meandered off back to the middle.
I'm not a fish expert, but I have to wonder if during the latest flooding, he was deposited there and when the water receded, he was left behind? Or he is sick? Or just waking up and feeling a bit disoriented?
Female mallard on nest Armleder park
A nice surprise as we were leaving the park...a female mallard nesting right beside the road.
A prayer to the god of birds: Please watch over this one. Please keep stupid kids and construction workers from squashing her eggs.


Trixie said...

Right on! Isabelle bringing her momma luck. Excellent.

mon@rch said...

An Alligator?? LOL - had to give you a hard time! Sweet call on the swallows! We don't get to see banks too often! 4 leaf clovers are very lucky!

LauraHinNJ said...

Could that be some sort of eel?

Lucky you!

Liza Lee Miller said...

I'm very glad your weird fish wasn't an alligator! Whew!

Your birds are gorgeous. Congrats on the 4-leaf clovers. Very cool.

Thinking good thoughts for the Mallard.

katdoc said...

Hey, Susan - A Bank Swallow is a good find! I have seen them before, but not so far this year. In fact, I don't remember seeing one last year, either. I got my Life Bank Swallows one year rafting along the Little Miami. They were flying in and out of their nest holes in the bank, of all things, LOL.

FYI, in Great Britain, they call our Bank Swallow a Sand Martin. Same bird, Riparia riparia but with a different name. I had a major fight with someone over the Internet once who insisted he had Sand Martins nesting in his Purple Martin housing in the USA. He had found a bird ID site that was based in the UK and had the right species, just the wrong local common name. Could not convince him, despite the fact that the URL of his reference site ended in ""

Any more action in the Purple Martin dept? I have 3 males, one of which has claimed a gourd already. He had a major skirmish with the male Tree Swallow last night, and the martin won.


Jayne said...

Bank swallow vs. tree swallow vs. barn swallow... oh to be able to see them long enough to tell the difference! I'm impressed for sure!

Hope the mallard babies do well. :c)

NatureWoman said...

Cool, a four leaf clover! Ohhh, I sure hope the Mallard nest doesn't get disturbed. There is a goose sitting on her nest right next to the road here. Makes me hold my breath every time I see her.

Mary said...

Alligator? You are a hoot, Susan. Isabelle brought luck! What a great day. I've been seeing tree swallows a little south of here. You had a great day.

We had a day of rain and on the following morning, I cringed to see loads of roadkill and two dead hawks on the side of the road...very sad.