Friday, June 20, 2014

Something for Everyone!

     After a muggy and rainy afternoon, the sun came out, temperatures were comfy, and I couldn't resist a walk in Prospect Park yesterday evening! Got to see a little bit of everything!
The swan family was sitting on the tarps that are out on the lake- I believe this is done for phragmites control (?)- if someone knows, please fill me in...
The adult was very protective of its cygnets. Again, I kept my distance, I know swans can be aggressive and there is no need to stress the little guys. A dog approached and mama/papa swan hissed loudly to show their displeasure, please make sure when with your domestic animals you mind your distance and use a leash for the safety of wildlife and your companions.
An adult mourning dove. These doves were everywhere today with freshly fledged youngsters in tow.
This male cardinal stopped to sing and advertise that this area is his. He looked good while doing it too!
The rodents were very charismatic today too. I think this female squirrel has had human handouts before because she approached me, very closely and showed little fear. She also knew how to look good for the camera.

This green heron was very active on the Lullwater - I caught him a few times flying up and down it as I walked along.
Another lovely rodent, an Eastern Chipmunk. Usually these little guys never ever sit still for more than a blurry picture. This guy must be in need of a good photo for his site. He sat still, groomed himself, and stared at me before running off.

A lovely little pollinator. The bumblebees were active among a small clearing near the Lullwater where many wildflowers were growing.
I have told many people, including my students that of course there are rabbits (Eastern Cottontails) in the park. Here's the proof! Looks like he may be having a rough time, judging from the notched ear. The rabbits are preyed upon by hawks - but I'm sure they also have to be weary of off leash dogs and feral cats, especially when young.
Never get tired of a lovely swan reflection...
I had walked down a less traveled path toward the lake, it put me among reeds, where even a few cattails still grew among the invasive phragmites. I was hoping to see some frogs, but all I heard was a slurping/gulping sound. This snapping turtle was foraging on duckweed!
The entire Lullwater out towards where it meets the lake is COVERED in duckweed. Each little "flake" is actually an individual plant, it is not algae. It provides food for many animals, including ducks, for which it is named. Many don't realize snapping turtles are omnivorous, they will forage on plants as well as munching on insects, fish, frogs, ducklings, and any other animal that can be caught and eaten. 
A juvenile night heron is washed out by the low sun in the sky, but those red eyes stand out well. Right behind where he was sitting a wedding photo shoot was happening. I love that all this is still a hidden secret, unless you're looking for it, I could bet that most park goers don't know what is hiding in the trees, lake, and reeds right next to where they are, it always astonishes me, the things I can find here.

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