As I was working around the dry lot yesterday mid-morning, I heard bleating from the front pasture. Faith was near the dry lot fence voicing her sheeply disapproval.
I stopped by our very busy pond yesterday. It has become like an airport... ducks coming and going and a melting pot of different breeds. The usuals were there...
(from front to back: common black duck, our rare leucistic mallard, two female mallards, two male mallards)
A second black duck was sitting near the shore.
What most surprised me was the presence of this little gal. She was much smaller than any of the other ducks - half the size of our two domestic pond ducks, and she had a light blue bill with a black tip.
After a little research, I found that she is a female American Widgeon and native to the western half of the US (spending summers in Canada and winters as far south as Mexico), but can be found migrating through the eastern half of the US. What surprised me was the fact that she was all alone. Typically, they migrate in groups. I am wondering if this little gal got blown off course.
Of course she is welcome to overwinter here on the pond where there's safety and plenty of food!
I make a concerted effort to always carry a camera with me. It never fails that when I don't have a camera, I see something amazing that I wish I could document. Like... last night, while taking the dogs for a pre-bed walk down our long driveway, I noticed the shadowy movement of a silent flier out of the corner of my eye. Because I was wearing a head lamp, I was able to shine a light in that direction. There, perched on a low branch of a tree several feet off the driveway, looking back at me, was a little screech owl, no bigger than 6 inches tall. He was so adorable! We just stood there looking at each other for a couple minutes - a truly magical moment. Sadly - no photo. I am now going to make it my goal to find an owl to photograph at night. Wish me luck!