I love mallards. They're beautiful birds, and funny, too. Even when there are hundreds of them, all quacking at once. Even when they mob me for a few seeds, and I have to push them aside with my feet to walk. Even when I have to inch my car through the parking lot, and they don't see the need to move until the front fender almost touches them. (They remind me of range cattle in the Chilcotin, that way.)
But after you've taken a couple dozen photos of mallards, the cameras get clogged with green head feathers; they crave variety. And on this last visit to Reifel Island, that's what they got. We saw so many different birds that I haven't been able to even sort through all the photos until tonight. And there are too many for one blog post.
May as well get going:
The fun started even before we got to the bird sanctuary. At the bridge to Westham Island, we parked and walked over (and back). The fog limited our vision to the near at hand:
On the Ladner side, Laurie checked out the eagles' nest we saw last year; one eagle was standing guard. At the river's edge there is a marshy area, enclosed by a log breakwater. A white goose dabbled in the mud there.
It always amazes me how they stay so bright and shiny, digging through all that goop.
We drove on. Passing the last farm before the entrance to Reifel, we stopped again, to watch a heron in the ditch, and startled a hawk. I managed to get a photo, very tiny, very misty:
We had interrupted its dinner.
Another hawk was in the trees nearby. I don't know what this is. The more I search through my books, the more confused I get. They don't even look the same from one book to the next, let alone from one time of year, age, or sex to the next. Help!
On to the heron:
He wasn't in the mood for photos. Laurie got a bit too close, and the heron took off with the loudest, angriest, harshest, longest "Graaaaaaak!" I had ever heard. Sorry this next photo is blurred; I was laughing too hard to hold steady. If you look closely, you can see his open beak.
Next: we finally get to the starting point.