Monday, May 28, 2012

Early early morning at Great Meadows

Female Red-winged blackbird
While normal folks use the Memorial Day holiday as a chance to sleep in, I got up at 4:30 so I could reach Great Meadows at sunrise. I was the second one there.

For me its about getting there when the exotic-sounding aquatic birds are still vocalizing. Least bitterns, for example, "co-co-co"ing from two different spots.

I came early hoping to catch a glimpse of a rail (a bird that's eluded me at Great Meadows in the four years I've been visiting). And I did catch a glimpse.
Virginia Rail
I first heard it calling,

caught a hint of feet through the reeds and I had my binoculars on it in no time. A special bonus: it was with a fluffy black chick.

This is prime time for youngsters generally. From the dozens and dozens of Canada geese goslings blocking the paths in the morning.

to families of mallard and black ducks

and, of course, wood ducks.
I saw two wood duck families in my walk around the lower pool. Soon there will be more.
Wood duck drake on top of nesting box.
Very few great blue herons. I was there too early. They like to sleep in.
They started flying in around 7, harassed by red-winged blackbirds.

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