Friday, May 22, 2009

The Young Ms are Sat Upon and So Are the Muskrat Houses

Redtail Nest Photos by Donegal Browne
When I pulled up the adult looked like she was feeding from the rim of the nest. By the time I got out of the car with the camera, she was attempting to hide two rather large eyasses underneath herself.

The eldest slips out but the younger stays nicely squashed down.
(I still have not seen the third eyass since I returned after a week's absence.)

Mom gives it up trying to cover the two bruisers and tries for a distraction tactic. Instead of coming off the nest, gaining a bit of altitude and then disappearing behind the tree where she flies back to the treeline out of my sightline, this time she flies back and forth several times in plain view.

On take off, the birds left behind will either duck out of harm's way as one of the eyasses has done here or at the very least turn their heads away as the second has done. No matter how careful the takeoff, there are always the vagaries to consider and wind tossed talons are extremely dangerous.

No longer having to be squashed the eyasses take in their own particular area of interest. I'm the focal point for one but the other is checking something out in the bowl. Part of dinner perhaps?

Oh my, identical expressions, both giving me a look.

Still staring but shifting as well.
The usual long attention span of an adult hawk is not yet theirs.

Soon they are off to other pursuits, physical and mental.

But they do have the hawk habit of checking back in on whatever it is that has changed in the landscape lately.

Soon though, they sink back into the bowl for more napping and growing. Though not without a few head pop ups before they completely give in to sleep.

Photograph by James W. Blank
Wisconsin is a state of many permanent bodies of water and this year many more vernal ponds have stayed longer than usual. Plus it is one those "hundred year" years in which new places filled with water that no one had seen fill for a "hundred years". The marches are plush. Electrician and nature photographer James Blank does many hours of driving around the state for his work and he's been keeping tabs on all sorts of wildlife.

The turtles are doing very well. And the turtle above appears to be hoping for an even higher turtle population.

Photograph by James W. Blank
Unfortunately his chosen helpmate in the endeavor is slipping out from under him. She rather rudely smacks him under the chin with her shell.

Photograph by James W. Blank
Not only that, she's totally uncooperative and takes to the water.

Photograph by James W. Blank
Stunned and surprised, he just sits and stares.

Photograph by James W. Blank
Though there are many other possible choices over there on the duplex muskrat house.

Photograph by James W. Blank
And also at the marsh, a pair of Wood Ducks peer warily through the wetland grass. Peterson's Field Guide mentions that they very much like to perch in trees. I haven't seen that here, but I have seen them perched on any number of muskrat houses. Thank goodness for muskrats, otherwise where would everyone sit in all these marshes?

Donegal Browne

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