In the centre of the duck pond, the redwings are nesting, and making quite a racket about it, almost drowning out the chattering ducks (mallards, wigeons and assorted hybrids) and the gulls, who were arguing, as they do, over a few handfuls of bread crumbs.
|Juvenile redwing on spotty reeds.|
Off-shore were more ducks and gulls, and far out in the bay, flocks of small, dark birds, flying back and forth in long lines or bobbing up and down on distant waves. These came close enough to be identified, just barely:
|Surf scoters. The white spots are the backs of their heads; the pink triangles are those ridiculous beaks. The two in drab are females.|
And this made us very sad:
|Gull with torn foot|
He came right up to my feet, begging for food. He even tried to eat the cracked corn I was carrying; most gulls just look at it scornfully. Happily, a woman came along with bread and crackers. I hope he gets a good share of tomorrow's barbecues. (I'm hoping it's still sunny.)
The poor gull could barely put his foot on the ground; mostly he hopped or flew. The foot was not only broken, but badly mangled and torn. Here's another view:
What could have done this? It looks to me as if he had been grabbed and shaken by a dog. Both the leg and the foot are ripped in several spots, and the bone is broken.
I love dogs, but I wish people would keep them on a leash if they have the slightest tendency to chase birds. It's not as if they were having to hunt down their food; they're not wolves or coyotes any more.
On a happier note, I found this spider running along the sand. I've never seen one like it before. I've submitted a couple of photos to BugGuide.
|Orange and black sand spider.|
|But it's serious business.|
And on the way home, we saw this small merlin, the first I have seen close up. I had to lighten the photo quite a bit, because it was silhouetted against a bright sky.
|As interested in us as we were in him.|
And Laurie got his feet soaking wet inside the boots, collecting water and seaweeds for our critters in the tank. They appreciated it: he's so good to them!