Waiting for new life

April 3, 2010

Mating toads and turtles, and a newly established goose nest were just a few surprises that I found Friday in a trek through Huntley Meadows.

Things are gearing up for the spring and it won’t be long before we have a lot of new life in this environment.

As I approached the area with a significant number of toads, I noticed a snapping turtle lying in wait. When the moment is right, he’ll have quite the feast.

It’s definitely a different sight to watch the mounds of mating amphibians roll around in the shallow water. Those that aren’t actively involved sit and sing. Seconds later, a pair seems to form.

As a sort of experiment, I made recordings of some of the sounds and played it back to an idle toad. Sure enough, within a few seconds it leapt for my recorder. I may make an audio slideshow from them.

Further down the path, a Canada Goose has made a decision it might regret later. Instead of creating an isolated nest away from people, it has formed a nest directly below the path. Hopefully it will gain some cover once the vegetation comes back.

I sat for some time and watched it perform housekeeping duties around the nest. It would pull in debris and shift items from one side to another. Nearby, its mate eventually felt comfortable enough with me that it closed its eyes and got a little rest.

In time, the goose on the nest began to shift and uncovered an egg, which it delicately rotated before rebuilding the coverings.

I made a few attempts to record the action, but with limited success. I may preset a video camera in the future at some point when they take a break from the nest.

Elsewhere in the wetland, I noticed this creature hanging out near a male Red-winged Blackbird. I need to research female red-wings. This looks like a large sparrow to me, but its size and proximity to the male make me wonder if I’m seeing a couple.

There are also a large number of insects beginning to emerge throughout the park and I’m not the only one to notice.

Dozens of bats took to the sky Friday as I was leaving and would weave through the air, honing in on their dinner.

I’ve never seen bats swarm like that and it was fascinating to watch. They are tricky to photograph because of the vanishing light, but hopefully I’ll eventually have more success.

4 Responses to “Waiting for new life”

  1. Renee Says:

    Wow, great outing!

    I think you’re right about the blackbird:

    Great shots!

  2. […] Although I saw no signs of activity near the goose nest, I did find plenty of tadpoles near where I had seen toads mating. […]

  3. […] be able to find some more soon. Come to think of it, It’s about time to check again on the goose nest I wrote about earlier this month. Posted by Evan Dyson Filed in Birding, Wildlife Leave a Comment […]

  4. […] toads from a few days ago have largely disappeared but I was able to find a few hiding in new patches of […]

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