Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Motherlode of Twigs and Cruising the Countryside for Webbed Feet

Remember my bout of twig envy? It has continued unabated. Today, I'd loaded all the equipment into the car, gotten directions to several possible water fowl areas I'd not been to previously, and was heading down the road when---THERE! THERE! A bijillion twigs just sitting there in the spot where the city would come along and put them into their chopper but I WANTED those twigs.

I've decided that instead of just making a portion of nest that the true test would be to make more of a complete one. Other lessons to be learned no doubt in doing the full deal. And as luck would have it the "owners" of the twigs were busily putting more out. I asked if they were going to be doing anything with them. They said, "No." And I said, I was making a human sized hawk nest as a project and could I have them. The smiled broadly and said, "No problem, but you'll have to beat the city truck to them."

So I turned around in a flash and headed back to the house to switch the car for my Dad's 1977 Ford pick-up.

Then I started throwing the branches with their bijillion twigs into the truck. Too much space being taken by not enough twigs. I started putting the big chunks on top to squeeze it down to make more room. Finally I got them all in, and headed back home suddenly wondering just how I was going to get them all into the backyard.

What had I gotten myself into?

Decided to think about it later, and headed off for those water filled Wisconsin depressions so popular with web-footed migrates.

I went through my list of spots, but kept hitting big zeros worth of water fowl. Finally along Highway 26 with one semi truck after another barreling by and the wind practically knocking the tripod over...

This Canada Goose gander, alert, guards his selected section of turf and his mate.

His mate preens herself without needing to be particularly vigilant just below him, though she did give me a look every now and again.

Swimming against the wind and waves, the larger ducks break the way. (I took a video of all these guys diving but unfortunately the video was too large to put on the blog.)

Buffleheads in the rear, and Ring-necked in the front. The way to tell a male Ring-necked duck from a Scaup is the white patch at the front of the wing.

Note the Buffleheads.

Male Ring-necked Duck

A pair of Canada Geese come in for a landing.


Some Canada Geese have arrived at their destination and are paired up, but others nap getting ready for further flight.

Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus, one of the scrappers of the bird kingdom.

The wind was gusting up to 40 MPH and temperatures were plummeting. While yesterday was in the 60's, tonight will be in the teens.

No M red-tails in sight and the nest has lost some twigs due to the weather. ???

I looked down the way and this horse was really chewing away on this wooden fence post.

Oops! Caught in the act. He seemed to give me a horse laugh and went right on back to chewing. I'd always heard about horse laughs-- I wonder if he knows about all those twigs I stuffed into the truck?

Donegal Browne

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