Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, Finis

Transitioning from the Cypress Trail to Observation Building

I do apologize in advance for the number of photos in this post. I got carried away. They're not the best photos in the world but I had such fun taking them! Leaving the Atkeson Cypress Swamp I slogged through a boggy spot (thanks to recent rains) to check out the reed beds and grain fields before hiking the short trail to the Visitor Center's Observation Building. By the way, this is Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.

Two Northern Shovelers are lazily negotiating a path through some cool looking reeds.

You must know how captivating these reeds are. Almost hypnotic in their appeal.

I confess such patterns in nature grab my attention. I forgot all about the Shovelers for a spell.

How pretty they look with the grain field in the background.

I just like this shot. Time to move on towards the Observation Building.

The Visitor's Center has a buffet all laid out for area songbirds and squirrels, who both flew and scurried off as I approached ... except this one lone, brave, cocky Tufted Titmouse.

American Coots, Northern Shovelers and Ring-Necked Ducks

One travels down a gravel pathway a short distance toward a building that's completely hidden by forest and planned growth. The last few yards I'm surrounded by a tall fence and bamboo, no doubt to keep noises down so as to not scare off the birds. Entering the building there are glassed walls that give you the perfect vantage point for bird watching. Off in the distance I see a gaggle of some small waterfowl. Upon later inspection (thanks to Photoshop) I see some Northern Shovelers, American Coots and ... Ring-necked Ducks. I thought they were Scaups until I got a close look at my images at home. Clearly, these are Ring-necked Ducks.

Male Wood Duck

Walking to the other side of the building I spy a pair of Wood Ducks. As many times as I've been here, all along the Refuge, I've never seen Wood Ducks up close and personal. These were paddling away from me, grazing among the reeds, but the light was so beautiful as were their colors.

Ring-Neck Ducks and the cool-o reeds

Juvenile male Mallard and a female Mallard - NOT!
I've learned these are Gadwalls! E-GADS! GAD-Zooks!
(Thanks birding buddy, Eve!)

A pair of Canada Geese

A lone female Red-Breasted Merganser paddle by while Mr. Northern Shoveler ducked down for a treat. I saw two female Red-Breasted Mergansers this morning - no males, and no other mergansers. I sorta felt sorry for them. Where were their little merganser buddies?

Back to the other side of the building where the light directionality made the water glow a rose color. There were my Wood Ducks again.

A pretty shot of more reed beds.

As I was leaving Mr. Wood Duck floated by to bid me adieu. As primitive as the Cypress Trail was, my visit with the waterfowl was peaceful and serene.


Di said...

Debi, lots of great photos of the refuge. Love the Wood ducks and their glorious colour and your 'pretty shot of more reed beds' is quite lovely! Thanks for taking us along. Have a great weekend. Diana

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

What a wonderful series this has been, and what a wonderful gift this refuge is to wildlife and humans alike, Debi! Your photos are fabulous, as always, and so tranquil. Do the Canadas stay down year-round? We've just begun noticing skeins and skeins of them coming back through our area and hanging out in the tidal river in Canning, so my heart tells me that spring really is returning to us. I'm just waiting for the redwing blackbirds to show up in our pond, where we leave the cattails for their convenience in building nests.

Eve said...

You can never post too many pictures Debi!! I love the reflections. I really want to get out there soon. The ducks are just great!
Hey just recheck your "juvenile male and a female mallard". I'm going to put you on a mission to see if YOU can find a problem here.
This is the best way to learn your ducks.
You'll thank me later!!!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I'm catching up on your recent posts. I've enjoyed all of your nature shots. I could feel myself relax as if I was in the woods on the nature walks with you.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Thanks, Eve. All my bird books are packed away so I resorted to e-nature and online sources. Just tell me what they are. Thanks!

Eve said...

Oh I had a feeling that was the case Debi! If you look at the one on the left you see that black underbottom! These are a male and female Gadwall. I'll never forget the first time I saw them. I had to run right home and figure it out!

The Garden Ms. S said...

I really enjoyed this series. The birds are so adorable and the sense of serenity these natural spaces provide is wonderful. That feeding station is so cute with the varieties of feeders - a smorgasbord for birds! This has been lovely. :-)

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

E-GADS! GAD-zooks! LOL! I've never ever seen one before...either that or I always thought they were Mallards! I'll make a quick adjustment...thanks, Evie gal!

Jenny said...

Lovely reflections again Debi, as you said, a great sense of serenity. That Evie is a sharp birder isn't she! (-:

CE Webster said...

What a great set of shots. Thanks for the post.

Jules said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and please visit anytime. I have enjoyed looking at your photos. They were beautiful and so peaceful.
Jules @ Dump the Rump

Bo Mackison said...

What a lovely holiday you provide. Still can;t get out to explore much - now that the snow is nearly gone, the mud is ankle deep. But soon...

I so love your explores in the natural bird world. Though, I'll be honest, I am in love with your wiggly patterns in the water photos.

joey said...

A delightful post. I grew up surrounded by wetlands/wildlife (Saginaw Bay - Lake Huron) so I feel right at home. Thank you.

Julie Magers Soulen said...

This is a stunning group of photos. I too appreciate abstractions in nature and your captures are magical. I especially love the last wood duck. He's gorgeous!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography

kendalee said...

They're all lovely pictures and then that final shot just sums it all up so perfectly - reedy reflections, beautiful waterbirds, magical light - gorgeous!


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